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Silver Carp Jumping On South Dakota Rivers

June 28, 2012, 9:52 PM by Shawn Neisteadt

Silver Carp Jumping On South Dakota Rivers

They've been the focus of biologists across the nation for years now. Silver carp that have spread up the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers are now calling South Dakota home.

In nature, things are always changing and that includes the surroundings for those taking a trip up the James River. Silver Carp are making their presence known there.

"My crew has been on the river for seven years.  In the first two years we saw a few fish; it would be a big deal if one jumped in your boat.  You'd call your friends and you'd typically see them three or four times a summer," South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Biologist Sam Stukel said.

Stukel is one member of the Game, Fish and Parks Department that is taking note of the new inhabitants.  He says, in past years, the fish were larger, but less numerous. Now, an area just south of Yankton is exploding with flying fish.

"These fish appear to be increasing exponentially, especially in the calmer, still water area of the James River, the Vermillion River, backwaters out on the main channel.  Now it is an everyday thing to see tens or hundreds of these fish," Stukel said.

The question is what can be done about these fish and that answer is not known at this time because plenty more research is needed.

That is why this Game, Fish and Parks crew that typically studies the endangered sturgeon is now spending time tracking a fish that appears to have no problem populating.  And what they know is just a drop in the bucket compared to what the entire scope of their impact will be.

"We may not see a major effect to our game fish and other species or it could be a complete disaster as these Asian Carp increase," Stukel said.

For the industries that rely on fishing and water recreation, that is the multi-million dollar question.

The Silver Carp have made it up the James River all the way to North Dakota.  They're on the Missouri River up to the Gavins Point Dam in Yankton and, on the Big Sioux, they've been found as far north as Falls Park in Sioux Falls.

To see some extra footage of the silver carp, watch the video below.


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