Wild Things: Renaming Carp ‘Asian’

If people take the bait, more will hit the plate

Just over a year after the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) quietly changed its classification of four Asian carp species to “invasive carp,” the Illinois Department of Natural Resources will unveil a brand new name next week.

After making the soft name change last spring, Charlie Woolley, USFWS regional director for the Midwest, said the agency wanted to move away from any terminology for destructive species that cast Asian culture and people in a negative light.

In the 50 years since the first Asian carp was brought to the United States by fish farms in Arkansas, I’ve never heard any vilification toward anything but the four species of carp themselves: bighead, silvery, grasshopper and black.

However, a press release from marketing firm M. Harris & Co indicated that the unveiling of a new national name and trademark will take place on June 22.

The statement stated that Asian carp is “a light-flavored, crusty freshwater fish caught in the waterways of the Midwest,” and notes that it is “more salty than tilapia, cleaner-tasting than catfish, and firmer than cod.”

Because I prefer fresh salmon, trout, panfish, eyefish and whitefish, this sounds like some great writing to disguise the fact that the aboriginal (and ugly!) people of China used it primarily for fertilizer and pet food until now.

However, invasive carp that populates the Illinois and Mississippi Rivers, after properly stripped and cooked, may be a good table food. They are plankton feeders and their meat is said to be mild in taste and well seasoned. As with any fish, where it is caught, how it is handled and prepared, are big flavor factors.

According to the statement, “What we need now is a name as catchy as it tastes [that] More people will eat it, and in the process, restore our waterways and protect the Great Lakes.”

Any guesses on the new name? suggestions? Email me your ideas at [email protected]

Meanwhile, find out all about Asian carp—while it’s still called—at usgs.gov/faqs/what-are-asian-carp and invasivecarp.us.

cash on salmon

1st place in the Kewaunee/Door County Salmon Championship will be worth an additional $5,000 to the 40th annual event, scheduled for July 15-24. In addition to the Daily Ports prize package, the first place winner will receive $15,000, a free mountain of Chinook from Twin Rivers Taxidermy and a custom-made salmon ring by artist Paul Spanbauer from Wisconsin Charm.

Tickets—$30 for the full tournament, or $20 a photo for a day—available at B&K Bait and Tackle at Kap’s Marina on Washington Island; Baileys 57 in Baileys Harbor; JP Express North Carlsville; Howie’s Tackle & Archery and Graystone Castle in Sturgeon Bay; Algoma BB and GB Express in Algoma; The Marine Minute Warehouse, Warehousing and BP Center in Kewaunee.

All tickets include a chance to randomly draw a 9.9hp Yamaha engine from Shipyard Island Marina.

The angler who wins the second heaviest salmon will win the $8000 and Howie’s Tackle prize; Third place will receive $5,000 and the Accurate Marine award package. Usually more than 100 places are paid in a tournament.

There will also be 50 harbor prize packages for Biggest Fish each day at weight sites in Kewaunee, Algoma, Sturgeon Bay, Baileys Harbor and Washington Island.

The event was started in 1983 by the late Will Kreuger of Kap’s Marina on Washington Island, Jerry and Tom McMillen of Mac’s Sport Shop in Sturgeon Bay, and Tom Kleiman Sr of the former Tom’s Sport Shop in Kewaunee.

The 30-plus-pound winning salmon has landed 24 times, including 11 consecutive years from 1989 to 1999, and seven in a row since 2015. A 40.07-pound giant captured in 1993 holds the championship record.

The average win size has been increasing over recent years. In fact, the 36.70-pounder caught in 2019 was the third heaviest on record, and last year’s 35.65-pounder was the sixth-largest winner.

Just July 23, 2021 – a day before the tournament begins – a 38.58-pound beast was lifted near Algoma and weighed on the championship scales at Kewaunee. It was a young fisherman on an 18-foot boat owned by 1st year captain Connor Bowen who landed the fish, which was believed to be the heaviest on the Wisconsin side of the lake since the 1999 tournament winner.

Follow the latest salmon tournament news at facebook.com/kdsalmon2022.

Turkey spring tales

Poachers recorded more than 39,000 wild turkeys during the spring season, up about 5% from last year. The numbers included nearly 9,200 in our region, Region 2, which follows only Region 3 (9,918) and Region 1 (10,504). Less than one in five marks were filled in statewide, although the non-participation percentages were not corrected.

Bass North District

Smallmouth bass will be legal to harvest in the northern region, which includes tributaries of Lake Michigan north of Interstate 29, starting June 18.

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