BLOOMINGTON, Indiana — State wildlife officials are worried that fishermen using juvenile Asian carp as bait could spread the invasive species into Indiana's largest reservoir.
Those fish have spread throughout much of the Wabash River watershed and juvenile silver carp were confirmed last week in Salt Creek just downstream of Lake Monroe's dam near Bloomington, The Herald-Times reported (http://bit.ly/1iKRh2S ).
It is illegal to use baitfish from other waterways in Lake Monroe, but signs have been found of juvenile Asian carp being caught with nets in Salt Creek, said Dave Kittaka, a fisheries biologist with the state Division of Fish and Wildlife.
"That means anglers are coming into contact with them and they're possibly moving them," Kittaka said.
Asian carp have not yet been found in southern Indiana's Lake Monroe, which covers nearly 11,000 acres. Biologists have long been concerned about Asian carp reaching the Great Lakes and overwhelming native fish species, with the same thing possible in Lake Monroe.
Kittaka sent out a bulletin Monday to officials throughout the Department of Natural Resources telling them about the recent findings at Lake Monroe. Kittaka said he believes raised stream levels from this summer's heavy rains and the high flow of water discharged from Lake Monroe's dam probably helped the Asian carp move so far upstream in Salt Creek.
Elsewhere in Indiana, work started early this month on an earthen berm through a marsh just outside Fort Wayne that's a possible pathway for Asian carp from the Wabash River watershed to reach the Great Lakes.
That $3.5 million project calls for construction of a nearly 2 mile-long berm through Eagle Marsh that will be 80 feet wide and range in height from 6 to 12 feet. The berm project is designed to prevent the fish from crossing from the Wabash River watershed into the Maumee River, which empties into Lake Erie at Toledo, Ohio.
Information from: The Herald Times, http://www.heraldtimesonline.com