Nature Bulletin No. 122 September 13, 1947
Forest Preserve District of Cook County
William N. Erickson, President
Roberts Mann, Supt. of Conservation
There is an unreasoning prejudice against the "German" carp.
Originating in China, during the Crusades it was brought to Europe
where for centuries it has been a choice fish for food and sport. Several
varieties were bred and developed in carp "farms", including the
fast-growing Galician strain we have in this country. Introduced here
in 1877, a pair of carp was worth up to $80 for breeding purposes in
those days. Planted in streams, lakes and ponds in many states, carp
rapidly spread into most of our inland waters.
The Skokie Lagoons in the forest preserves west of Winnetka and
Glencoe are overcrowded with carp and bullheads. Enough of these
fish survived the severe winter-kill of 1944-45 so that their numerous
spawn, lacking competition, have thrived in such numbers that they
now hinder the growth of the largemouth black bass and bluegills with
which the lagoons were restocked.
The carp is exceedingly prolific, adaptable and omnivorous. Moreover,
it feeds by touch rather than by sight, as do bass and bluegills. Carp,
feeding on aquatic plants and small animal life on the bottom, tend to
muddy the water. That doesn't bother them as it does the game fish
and pan fish.
The carp is as hard and persistent a fighter as a bass when taken on
light tackle but it has a tender mouth from which the hook tears easily
unless played properly. Taken from such clean water they are excellent
eating. Fried, baked, broiled, pickled or smoked, they have their own
excellent flavor. The "mud vein", or streak of dark flesh down the side,
is just as edible as the dark meat of a chicken.
Among the favorite baits for carp are worms, kernels of green corn,
and doughballs. Doughballs are made by pouring a cooked mush of
cornmeal and flour, flavored with a strong cheese, over a thin layer of
cotton batting. After cooling, this is cut into small pieces and molded
over the fish hook.
Wanted: more carp fishermen !
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Update: June 2012