Yesterday at Riverlands, Congress’s gift to anglers and birders at Lock and Dam 26, the dam was wide open, the river bank-full, and the anglers out in force.
One guy had a huge catfish on a spear; a second had a string of big-mouth carp hitched to a large piece of driftwood. Disturb a big-mouth with the sound of the motor on your bass boat and it well launch itself from the water. If it hits you it can knock you senseless.
Arkansas fish farmers imported big mouth carp in the early 1970s to control algae blooms in their ponds. When the Mississippi flooded a decade later, the carp escaped into the river and worked their way upstream and downstream in into the Ohio River. When the Mississippi floods, they wash into the oxbows in the batture lands between the river and the levee.
Moredock Lake, the remnant of an ancient channel of the Mississippi, is beloved of anglers and duck hunters. The Flood of 1993 washed rough fish into the lake. Big mouth carp, gar, drum, buffalo, and sucker fish replaced the bass, crappie, and bluegill that anglers prize.
The village of Valmeyer hired professional anglers to cull rough fish from the lake. They put in large-mesh nets that capture the big fish and let the smaller valuable fish pass through.
The work is done in the winter. Once the rough fish were culled from the lake, the village restocked the lake with valuable fish.