Invasive carp found in Miss. River near Cottage Grove

Silver carp
Silver carp in a tank Thursday, Apr. 4, 2013 at the Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center.
Jennifer Simonson/MPR News

Updated July 21

The Minnesota DNR has found invasive carp farther upstream in the Mississippi than the fish has previously been encountered.

Fishermen employed by the agency caught a female bighead carp and a female silver carp on Thursday near Cottage Grove. Both fish were full of eggs.

Regional Fisheries Manager Brad Parsons said the agency didn't encounter any more invasive carp during a search today, but that they'd continue looking for juvenile fish or eggs.

"Really the next thing that we're really concerned about is a reproducing population," Parsons said. "We still have no signs of that."

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Parsons said the invasive carp spawn during high water.

"We would hope to find by looking through some of their bones, whether they've been here a while or whether they migrated up either this summer" or last, Parsons said.

Bighead carp can grow up to 60 pounds. Silver carp are well known for jumping out of the water when disturbed by motorboats. Parsons said both fish represent a threat to native fish populations.

The invasive carp are already present in the Missisippi River in Iowa. Bighead carp have been found in Lake Pepin and as far north in the St. Croix as Prescott, Wisconsin. Congress recently passed legislation to close the Upper St. Anthony Falls Lock by June of next year, which officials hope will slow or even prevent the spread of invasive carp to the heart of Minnesota's popular fishing destinations.