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Wisconsin DNR: Fisherman catches grass carp, prohibited fish species, in Wind Lake

Grass carp caught in Wind Lake (Credit: Wisconsin DNR)

WIND LAKE — The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) announced on Tuesday, Aug. 20 that a single grass carp, a prohibited fish species, was caught on Aug. 4 by a bow angler in Racine County’s Wind Lake. A news release says the angler, suspecting the fish was a grass carp, sent photos to the DNR to confirm the catch.

Grass carp are illegal to possess, transport, and sell in Wisconsin. DNR officials say the species has been moving toward Wisconsin waters from the Illinois River and the Mississippi River. They are also intentionally and illegally stocked in private ponds for aquatic plant control.

Grass carp have elongated, torpedo-shaped bodies. Body color is dark olive, shading to brownish-yellow on the sides, with a white belly and large, slightly outlined scales. Grass carp can grow to be 80 pounds and eat large amounts of aquatic plants which can disrupt the food webs of Wisconsin’s lakes and rivers.

Upon confirmation of the catch, the fish was transferred to the DNR and the Fish and Wildlife Service for genetic testing. Results show that the fish is a sterile triploid fish, indicating that it was likely an intentionally released fish or a purchased fish that escaped from a pond.

To prevent the release of grass carp, Wisconsin residents and water users are reminded to:

  • Check the prohibited species list before purchasing fish or releasing them into private ponds.
  • Avoid releasing live bait, which could be contaminated, into Wisconsin waters.
  • Contact DNR lakes and rivers staff with questions about how to responsibly manage aquatic plants.

If you think you may have caught a prohibited species, report your finding to the DNR by visiting this webpage.

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