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By Steve McCadams

Fishermen, recreational boaters, campers and all lake dwellers have been concerned this week as to an ongoing die-off of Asian carp along Kentucky Lake. Big numbers have been seen floating and washing up on shorelines.

While most have voiced concern as to the encroachment of this non-native species and view the die-off as somewhat of a mixed blessing, there is also concern as to just what’s causing it.

So far no gamefish or other species have experienced problems. Fisheries biologists with Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency and Kentucky Fish and Wildlife are aware of the scenario and have been taking tissue samples this week to better address the situation.

Samples have been sent to regional laboratories to help determine the specific cause of the die-off. Right now, state fisheries biologists do not have specific answers to the saga but once evaluations of tissues samples are completed it will better address what’s going on.

The advancement of Asian carp has been a concern for several years both here and elsewhere throughout the Mississippi River drainage.

Asian carp feed on zooplankton within the water column and biologists across the country have been sounding the alarm of concern for many years. They compete with other fish species, especially paddlefish and other young of the year species, for microscopic morsels and often invade an area and displace other gamefish. They have to real enemies.

The Asian carp----there are two main species comprised of big head (black) and silver---are already abundant within the Barkley and Kentucky Lake area. The silver is the one that jumps and spooks quite easily.

Bass and crappie fishermen do not like the advancement of Asian carp within reservoirs. Small tributaries and oxbow lakes that have witnessed the Asian carp invasion have seen sport fishing diminish dramatically.

Not too many tears are being shed by the sport fishing community but it is somewhat of a mystery why this one species is experiencing a massive die-off and other species have not.

Stay tuned as there’s a lot more information forthcoming addressing the Asian carp saga.



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