A species of fish that’s never been seen in Iowa before has been confirmed in the Ottumwa area — and one expert says it’s -not- good news. D-N-R fisheries biologist Mark Flamming says the silver carp, a non-native species, look rather like bullhead carp, another recent arrival in Iowa. Both eat plankton, which he says is where the problem lies, as they eat it all up and there’s nothing for the young of other fish to eat. Flamming says other young fish from desirable species, like smallmouth bass or walleyes, depend on plankton as a food source. He says the silver carp have migrated up the Mississippi from fisheries in southern states. Flamming was on a small tributary of the Des Moines River when he was inundated by hundreds of the jumping fish. Flamming says the ten-pound, two-foot-long fish suddenly started erupting from the water, hurling themselves five feet out of the water, some falling into his boat. He jokes the state might consider issuing hunting licenses for the problem fish so when they jump they could be shot like skeet. Barring that, they may be in Iowa to stay. On July 30, a Prairie City man caught a 54-pound, 48-inch bighead carp in the Des Moines River below the spillway at Lake Red Rock. It is a new state record for the new category of bighead carp.
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