Big Head Carp Status - "River Rabbits"
Good news the electronic barrier weir at Romeoville appears to be working to deter the big heads from entering into Lake Michigan.
A prime fishery for these could be just downstream of the Romeoville weir. Hey Mark (MJYP) and Charles (Smolt) we may want to think about some 12 weight spey rods and weighted plankton/algae flys and give these brutes a go. Could be a great a fitness workout for arms and shoulders in preparation for the chrome warriors ?
A winter scouting trip to Romeoville may be in order. I could bring the new dog for a run with my son also.
On The Outdoors
Hopeful news in carp battle
December 18, 2002
Seeking out saved pennies and moving unspent funds from a variety of accounts will allow the Illinois Department of Natural Resources to contribute $2 million toward the installation of a $7 million permanent electric barrier to prevent Asian carp from invading the Great Lakes.
Fear that the voracious species will destroy a $4 billion fishery and permanently alter the ecosystem has led to remarkable interagency cooperation. There is a scramble to fight the infestation of Lake Michigan and other Great Lakes by a predator that could transform the lakes Chicagoans and other upper Midwest fishermen love, appreciate and rely upon.
"This will protect Lake Michigan in the near term from being inundated with Asian carp," department director Brent Manning said in an interview.
Manning said his department found money needed to let outgoing Gov. George Ryan sign off on Illinois paying for part of the new barrier in the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal. The new structure will supersede a temporary electrical barrier put in last April.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will supply the bulk of the funding for the erection of the barrier near Romeoville.
The Asian carp is a frightening fish because of its potential to devastate plankton and alter the composition of Lake Michigan and other Great Lakes. They can grow to 100 pounds and 50 inches long, and they pretty much take over a body of water upon their arrival. The carp essentially could vacuum clean the lake bottom.
Manning said Asian carp could be wipe out the yellow perch fishery and Lake Michigan salmon fishing could be "crippled."
Although lumped together under a single heading, there is more than one kind of Asian carp involved. Types include bighead, silver and black. None are the common carp anglers often seek.
One thing this trio of carp has in common, and which also increases concern, is a phenomenal reproductive rate. For this reason, they are called river rabbits in Australia.
Silver and bighead carp escaped into the Mississippi River from fish facilities in the South in the 1980s. Asian carp were virtually unknown in Illinois in 1990, yet by 2000 they not only were spotted in state waters, they appeared to be steadily moving north toward Lake Michigan.
In April, the experimental electric barrier was constructed near Romeoville. The electric current generated has proven effective. A current is sent from 13 steel cables across the 16-foot deep, 160-foot wide canal and the fish turn back.
The use of the barrier has been a critical tool in stopping the advance of the fish. The problem is considered so serious that just last month three federal agencies kicked in $300,000 to purchase a backup generator.
Although the barriers do not guarantee that all carp will be turned back, the early results are very encouraging.
"We have learned a lot," Manning said. "It is working. There was a question in the beginning."
Depending on weather, the work on constructing the permanent barrier could begin in March or April and be completed sometime in the fall, Manning said.
"I am very, very pleased," Manning said.