Silver Carp Confirmed In Chickamauga Lake

These fish are also known as "flying carp" because of how they jump from the water when disturbed.

GON Staff | January 15, 2020

A species of Asian carp known for jumping high out of the water when a boat passes or anytime they are disturbed has been confirmed just north of the Georgia state line in Tennessee.

The Tennessee Wildlife Resources received a report on Jan. 10 that a silver carp was captured on Chickamauga Lake in October. The angler, Dustin Hinkle, said the invasive fish “jumped into the boat as I deployed my trolling motor.”

Hinkle encountered the fish near the Sequoyah Nuclear Plant, and he stated he “saw 15 to 20 more fish near the surface” exhibiting a feeding behavior.

Chickamauga is one of the nation’s hottest bass lakes and a popular destination for Georgia anglers and bass clubs.

“No additional reports have been made since this occurrence,” said Cole Harty, TWRA’s Aquatic Nuisance Species Coordinator.

This silver carp jumped into a boat on Chickamauga Lake, which is located upstream from Guntersville on the Tennessee River just north of Chattanooga.

“This is an excellent reminder to report carp sightings from East Tennessee, where carp are not already known to be established. We encourage anyone reporting to include photos, location information, and if possible keep a fish frozen to share with TWRA,” Harty said.

Reports can be made by calling the nearest TWRA regional office, or by emailing [email protected].

It is likely that these fish traveled up the Tennessee River through navigation locks, ultimately finding their way to Chickamauga Lake.

“TWRA has been working with multiple partners to limit the spread and impact of invasive Asian carp in Tennessee,” said Frank Fiss, TWRA Fisheries Chief. “This new observation demonstrates the urgency of the issue.”

The following video was taken near the Mississippi River.

RISKS/IMPACTS OF SILVER CARP: According to AIS (Aquatic Invasive Species), “When the silver carp’s population numbers become large enough, they have the ability to cause damage to native species due to the fact that they feed on phytoplankton. This results in competition with larval fish, mussels and some adult fish that rely on phytoplankton for food. Native species such as paddlefish, gizzard shad and bigmouth buffalo will be affected if silver carp become established in their waters. Silver carp will jump from the water when disturbed which causes a hazard to water recreational users. There have been reports of boaters being injured, some seriously due to the jumping silver carp. Also, this new species could bring with it diseases that our native fish cannot survive.”

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