“We had thought the [Williams] dam would be big enough to stop them from getting into the East Fork,” said Doug Keller, aquatic habitat coordinator with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources.
Now silver and bighead carp, both invasive species of Asian carp, can be found all the way up to the dam at Lake Monroe.
If silver and bighead carp are introduced into Lake Monroe, most biologists believe the species will not be able to reproduce in great numbers because their native habitat is a river or stream. Even if that is true, the fish that do get into the lake will consume the microscopic plants and larva that desirable fish species, including crappie, bass and bluegill, eat. So, the best-case scenario would be that the carp would hinder the fish that have been stocked in Lake Monroe.
The worst-case scenario would be if the fish were to migrate upstream from the lake, where they’d be able to reproduce, allowing their eggs to hatch and populate the lake and other streams in greater numbers. If that happened, the carp would eat the food that sustains many desirable fish species.
“They could disrupt the lake in ways we don’t even think about,” King said. “They act differently when they’re not in their native habitat.”
The invasion would be expensive to try to contain and would be “impossible to control once they are in bodies of water that can’t be drained, like Monroe,” King said. “That’s why we want people to be vigilant” in keeping fish from other waters out of Lake Monroe, she explained.
Her recommendations included not dumping bait bucket water into Lake Monroe or any other body of water and disposing of leftover bait in a proper manner by placing them in the trash. Another request is to drain bait buckets before moving them to another body of water.