South Dakota finds its self in yet another fight against an invasive species, only this time it’s in the water.
Last year we were talking about the emerald ash borer and all the damage they would be causing to thousands of ash trees in our area.
The fish were first spotted in Vermillion along the Missouri River back in 2005.
Since that time, they’ve also infested the James River at Yankton and migrated all the way into North Dakota.
The jumping carp, as a lot of people like to call them, have also been spotted in the Vermillion and Big Sioux River and even Split Rock Creek.
They may be entertaining to watch, but wildlife officials say they’re hazardous to boaters and kayakers and have a negative ecological effect on other fish.
Since 2005, the Asian Carp have been on the move.
“They’ve been slowly making their way up our tributaries and now they’ve made their way up into the Big Sioux River in Sioux Falls,” invasive species biologists BJ Schall said.
BJ Schall is one of two invasive species biologists in South Dakota. He says the Asian Carp have made it up the river as far as Falls Park and that’s probably where they’ll stay.
“With the volume of water that was moving, it was going to be very unlikely that the fish would be able to swim through that current and up the falls, the only real possible way to get around the falls is if we saw bigger floods this spring, which is very, very unlikely,” Schall said.
Penny Bennett of Brandon and her friend have been out kayaking the Big Sioux today. She never saw any, but her son did a few days ago.
“They were flying at him everywhere when he was trying to get in and out of his canoe,” Bennett said.
The Asian Carp have also made it up the Vermillion River just below the spillway at Lake Vermillion and that’s probably where they’ll stay too, because of the dam.
Schall says the only way for the fish to possibly migrate any farther north is if an angler physically removes them and transports them somewhere else.
“The biggest advice we have for our anglers is not to move any live fish between bodies of water,” Schall said.
But because they’re here, Bennett may soon see them as she navigates down the Big Sioux.
“It would be nice not to have to live with them, it was beautiful today, nothing jumping in our kayak so,” Bennett said.
The younger ones could be also be mixed in with minnows, so if you’re fishing with minnows and are done for the day, they’re asking you to dump your minnows on dry land, not into bodies of water.