|An overabundance of carp in a relatively small body of water such as the typical
farm pond may eliminate managing for other more popular sport fishes. Most remedies may be costly, may involve legalities
and may be short-lived depending on the likelihood of carp becoming re-established. Some treatment methods obviously
may be better than others but even then may not rid the pond of the carp. Carp are very prolific spawners so it would
take only one pair to start things again. These suggestions are based on the assumption that carp are so abundant
that the pond is worthless for other fishes and that once eliminated, the carp will not come back naturally.
Probably the most reliable and least expensive way to eliminate carp would be to drain the
pond. I believe if the pond is less than one acre, a drawdown permit from PFBC and DEP (free) is not required. Caution
needs to be used so it doesn't drain too fast not only to minimize erosion of the stream below but also to avoid sloughing
off of water soaked steep banks around the pond. Downstream neighbors may not be too happy with stranded, dead and
dying fish including carp.
The Commission doesn't get involved in salvage operations but a local angling club might for stocking a community
pond (yes, even with carp). You might want to drain it say late Fall once air temperatures decrease to minimize the
odor problem which often accompanies not only dead fish but also the much and decaying aquatic vegetation common to
a drained pond. Allowing it to stay drained for awhile will assure a complete kill including those "hidden" in
the mud. If the pond is going to be down for an extended period of time, I also suggest sowing some inexpensive grass
seed around to establish a ground cover to minimize erosion and to reduce the eye sore. Another benefit of draining
the pond lies in re-stocking it with the fish appropriate with the type of angling your friend desires. Suggestion:
keep the new community simple. The smaller the pond the simpler the mix of species.
One might also use chemical reclamation if dewatering is not possible. Regardless of the fact your friend owns the
pond and even the outlet stream, use of chemicals (aquatic herbicides, algacides, and compounds intended to kill fish,
etc) requires a permit (free). Remember, said water will flow elsewhere and the permitting process protects downstream
users and environments. Chemicals can be quite expensive and are usually not species selective. In other words, to
eliminate carp usually means killing off everything.
Seining/electro-fishing operations, while likely to take a goodly number of carp, are also likely to miss some fish
unless the pond is very small, very shallow, void of stumps-weeds, etc. I suggest if these techniques are desired,
your friend should hire the services of an aquatic consultant. Then, the matter of permits and related issued can
be handled by people who do this sort of thing for a living. While electro-fishing gear might be available on a rental
basis, I do NOT recommend amateurs do it, as such has the potential for killing people in addition to being an illegal
device unless covered by a permit. The fact that a highly proficient crew is likely to miss some carp, I might think
twice before investing money in netting or electro-fishing.
One might consider making the best of a bad situation and fishing out the carp. This may rub the pond owner the
wrong way, but at least he could enjoy this resource. It is very doubtful angling would result in elimination.
One might even stock predators such as the tiger muskellunge (hybrid cross between a northern pike and muskellunge)
or muskellunge to prey on the carp. Even then it would take some time before any impact might be noted and existing
large carp too large to be eaten might still outlive the toothy predators.
Wish I had a surefire and inexpensive suggestion for your friend. We have abundant carp in some of our lakes but
then the larger the system the less impact one species has.
Whatever your friend does, should he be successful in eliminating carp he might want to think about restricting
the use of live fish as bait to prevent someone from introducing young carp back into the pond.