Tuesday, February 16, 2010

19th-Century Carp Invasion

Dusty D loves poking around online in Google Books through all of the obscure reports by 19th-century game commissioners and things like that. In doing so, I discovered that the familiar Huron River carp that we all know and, er, love, is in fact not native to Michigan waters. Like the Asian carp threatening to invade Lake Michigan, the common carp slurping the undersides of Huron River lily pads were introduced. They were distributed by the official state environmental org over a hundred years ago as, IIRC, a food fish that was cheap to keep on little artificial ponds dug on farmers' farms. Of course, they escaped, and now can be found everywhere.

Dusty D does not know the environmental impact that the common carp has had--nowhere near that which the Asian carp would likely present. Nor do I know much about carp at all; how they winter over, how many actually live in the Ypsi stretch of the Huron, what their range and diet is. And I haven't tasted one, nor am eager to. I am fond of them, though. Trying to decide if this is a good subject for an upcoming story and if, presented with the option, the people would rise up and demand a story about the long-ago invasion of our quiet and venerable Huron River brother, the common carp. Photo by Ingrid Taylar.


Fritz said...

Carp please! :D

Eric said...

I fondly remember going fishing as a kid at the concrete drain near the train tracks and the Forest Avenue bridge. We caught "suckers", catfish, and blue gill, but every once in a while, somebody would fight an awesome battle with a huge carp and land a real prize fish. Please tell us what you know about this misunderstood creature!

Dusty D said...

Eric, you doubtless know that after decades of being dismissed as a "lunker," or "trash fish," carp is actually getting a following in the States (as it long has had in England) as a feisty sport fish! They now have carp events &c.

Thank you for your nice comment. Also, would you ever be open to a story about "fishing back in the day"? I'm currently interviewing someone who grew up in 1960s Ypsi for a story. He has wonderful memories. A story about that epic carp day with your friends would be fun to do. if you're interested. I'd be proud to do it. Anyways, no pressure but if you're interested, ypsidixit@gmail.com. :)