Five bighead carp were captured in the St. Croix River in the past week, just south of Stillwater near the Xcel Energy Allen S. King power plant, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

This is the furthest upstream invasive carp have been detected in the St. Croix, and is about 7 miles north of the previous point. Prior to these captures, four bighead carp have been taken in the St. Croix River, dating back to 1996.

The DNR and anglers caught the fish.

“The DNR thanks the anglers who have reported the capture of bighead carp and have sent photos so they could be immediately verified,” said Nick Frohnauer, DNR invasive fish coordinator. “Knowing these details allowed our invasive carp crew to do follow up sampling in a timely manner.”

The DNR responded with intensive sampling in an effort to determine if more invasive carp are in the area. DNR staff set additional gill nets and conducted electrofishing. Additionally, they are working with a contracted commercial fishing operator to seine a large bay.

Silver and bighead carp are two of four species of invasive carp threatening the Mississippi River and other native ecosystems. They can grow to 60 pounds, impacting the base of the food chain by consuming large amounts of plankton relied on by native fish.

Populations of bighead and silver carp are established in the Mississippi River and its tributaries from southern Iowa northward. While bighead and silver carp have been found as far north as Hastings, there is no evidence bighead or silver carp are reproducing in the Minnesota waters of the Mississippi or St. Croix rivers.

Protection of the St. Croix River is important to the DNR and its local and regional partners. The DNR takes a multi-pronged approach based on the recently revised Minnesota Invasive Carp Action Plan:

Monitoring for invasive carp by using targeted surveying and contracted commercial fishing.
Partnering with the University of Minnesota’s Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center, federal agencies, and other universities researching ways to prevent the spread and manage populations of invasive carp.
Actively participating in the Upper Mississippi River workgroup in implementing actions to combat invasive carp.

The DNR reminds anyone who catches a bighead, silver, black, or grass carp to immediately contact the DNR at 888-646-6367 or . Do not release the fish. Take a photo, and store the fish until it can be delivered to the DNR.

For more information on invasive carp in Minnesota, visit http://tinyurl.com/ neg3q57.