Ctenopharyngodon idella, in its Latin name, grass carp is one of the species of fish with the biggest reported production globally in aquaculture, meaning over five million tons every year. Grass carp belongs to the Cyprinidae family which is native to eastern Asia, and it is a herbivorous freshwater fish.
Finding grass carp
The fish is cultivated in China for food, and in Europe and the United States was introduced in order to take care of aquatic plants control. In the United States, the fish is also known as white amur, from the Amur River.
Grass carp can be found in large, turbid rivers and floodplain lakes and it has a large degree of temperature tolerance. The fish will come into the reproductive state and spawn at a range of 68 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit.
The fish can be found in backwaters of large rivers, large, slow-flowing or standing bodies of vegetation, pools, ponds, and lakes.
The eggs are a bit heavier than the water and develop to be white, and they end up drifting downstream, being kept in suspension by turbulence. That is why, in the wild, the fish spawns in fast-moving waters. A very interesting fact is that the eggs are thought to die in case they sink to the bottom.
Adult grass carp fish feed mostly on higher aquatic plants and submerged terrestrial vegetation. Even if we are talking about a herbivorous fish, the grass carp can also feed on insects, detritus, and other invertebrates.
Although one might think that a fish’s most common usage would be food or at least ornamental, the grass carp is also used for weed control.
For example, it was introduced in New Zealand to control the growth of aquatic plants. In 1973, it was introduced in the Netherlands in order to take care of over-abundant aquatic weeds.
One important fact to know is that each instance requires specific authorization for this process. Grass carp is unlikely to reproduce naturally because of their special breeding requirements, but in other instances, the control is done by using sterile, triploid fish and that is why introducing a species for weed control must be done with proper authorization.
Fishing for grass carp
We cannot talk about fish, without mentioning fishing. Since we know that this is a herbivorous species, it can prove quite hard to catch. However, there are solutions — the grass carp can be lured with canned corn or cherry tomatoes, or bread, although they sometimes eat other insects. You’ll also require the service of the right carp rod and reel combo for this purpose.
In short, grass carp is one of the most widely spread species of fish in the world, and it is used not only for feeding humans but also as an aquatic plant controller. It mostly feeds on plants, but also some types of insects.
Fishing can prove to be a bit tricky. However, there are solutions to catch it. In case you are fishing in areas where this species is used as biocontrol for damaging aquatic plants, please return them unharmed.