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MajorGeek

Washington State Regulations on Grass Carp

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Can anyone explain to me the reason why it's illegal to fish for grass carp in Washington State? For sure, there are a few places where expensive triploid grass carp are planted for macrophyte control, but everywhere else it's clear they are escapees and possibly not sterile. Most areas of the country are finding breeding grass carp a problem (see The Public Sector Role in the Establishment of Grass Carp int the United States, Fisheries, March 2006), and it seems to be becoming a problem in Washington. Yet it's in the regulation packet three times as if to emphasize that it's in all waters of the state. Is is like the old joke "If we let you bring your alligator into this bar, we will have to let everyone bring his alligator in here!", a regulation on a non-existing problem?

I can't imagine any enforcement officer would try to enforce this regulation. They would have a problem with proving intent since I would be fishing in waters with mostly common carp and no one knows much about flies particularly targeting grass carp. Even if they witnessed me pulling a grassy out of a shoal of common carp and quickly releasing it, I can't image any reasonable officer would pull out the ticket book. Also, I haven't noticed any enforcement attention devoted to the carp flats.

Maybe I should cross post this over on washingtonflyfishing.com.

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Guest phonebush

No doubt this is a throwback regulation to a time when the triploid carp were being introduced. Since that time the population has indeed established itself even with just a few diploid specimen. The Washington state DNR has not yet had cause to go the the expense of changing the grass carp regs.

I suspect if, while you were fishing for lizzard bait, you accidently caught and immediately released a grass carp (after weighing and species identification photos) you would be within the allowances of the state regulations.

I know the California guys cannot put particles in the water to attract fish. They can however feed the ducks.

Phone

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MajorGeek,

I'm a member of the Evergreen Fly Club. At our monthly meetings we always have a program of one sort or another. Several months ago we had a presentation regarding Lone Lake on Whidbey Island. Lone Lake is managed as a "selective fishery". For people outside of WA this means lures and flies, single barbless hooks, and a restricted limit, usually one fish. Lone Lake is a trout lake. The past several years there has been a somewhat bad to very bad problem with weed growth in Lone Lake. The fisherman don't like it, the homeowners don't like it, the boaters don't like it, in fact it would seem no one likes it. Several interest groups have come together to try to reduce the weed problem in Lone Lake. Without a long discussion of what has been done and what is being considered, let me say that sterile Grass Carp were suggested as one means of dealing with weed growth. The presenter explained that it is very difficult to manage the correct number of GC for the given amount of water. Apparently the GC will only eat the most undesireable (to fisherman) weeds as a near last resort and because of this they virtually eliminate all vegetation by the time they get around to eating what the anglers want to see disappear.

I mention all of this because the presenter had a slide that showed every lake in WA that has Grass Carp. It was darn few. We were told that ALL the GC in WA were sterile. The Grass Carp have been planted here with the intent of controling weeds. Because they have been planted "to work" the WDFW regulations specifically prohibit fishing for them. The perception is that the GC have advantages and disadvantages in doing their work. We were told that there are no reproducing populations of GC in WA State.

Would a WDFW officer site you? Not likely. Not because they don't care but because they are spread so darn thin they would probably never see you. If one did see you, would you be sited? I think you would.

Are you seeing GC escapees MG? I wouldn't be surprised by that. Are you seeing reproducing populations of GC in WA lakes? I would be surprised by that. Jurassic Park---Chaos Theory---Good grief...

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Guest majicwrench

Thanks Mr P for the insight and the facts. I agree with what you have said, that there are no reproducing GC around. However, that seems to be a common wife's tale, I have had several people over the years tell me where they have seen huge "grass carp". Me thinks the first grass carp around Washington went into Silver lake, I fished the lake once and saw one. that was 16?yrs ago, and have not seen one since.

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Guest AnthonyR

It ain't illegal if you dont get caught :D Seriously, I wouldn't pass up the oppurtunity to catch grass carp if it broke some obsolete regulation. First of all, they could almost never prove you even intended to catch a grass carp. Second of all, if you caught and released one, I'm sure no one would loose any sleep over it. It seems like a law that is meant just to protect people from taking stocked grass carp(although the law isnt actually limited to that), and it probably wont be enforced in any other situation

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It ain't illegal if you dont get caught :D  Seriously, I wouldn't pass up the oppurtunity to catch grass carp if it broke some obsolete regulation. First of all, they could almost never prove you even intended to catch a grass carp. Second of all, if you caught and released one, I'm sure no one would loose any sleep over it. It seems like a law that is meant just to protect people from taking stocked grass carp(although the law isnt actually limited to that), and it probably wont be enforced in any other situation

Ethics Anthony, Ethics. As a member you should adhere to all rules and regulations, reguardless of how your personal feelings are on the subject. JMHO!

Ray

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i've wondered this myself paul. i am dying to catch a grass carp on the fly, but how can i meet that goal when it is illegal to fish for them in OR and WA. you can easily split hairs, but the reality is that we sight fish with flyrods, so when i'm casting to commons and choose to cast to a massive grass carp that looks NOTHING like a common, i just broke the law. i have cast at grass carp, and i'm sure most carp fisherman in OR/WA that come across one have done the same, but it is clearly against that particular regulation. in the end, i'm not sure where i stand on this. i really don't want to do something i'm not supposed to, but it is tough to put that in the proper perspective when a 40 inch grass carp is moving along the edge of the flats.

personally, i hope they change that regulation. as long as the fish is immediately released and not taken from the water i think it should be okay.

tough question paul.

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MrP- It sounds like your presenter didn't have all the latest info, but that's understandable since the the picture is rapidly changing and generated in part by myself. I'm a fish biologist and I reported my observations to Region 9, WDFW, last year and received this response:

July 21, 2005 "Thank you for the information on the grass carp you saw. It is hard to say whether they are sterile or not. It seems there were some illegal plants of diploid grass carp into some waters of eastern Washington or Oregon that were prosecuted a few years ago. Maybe we can get a hold of these fish you saw and get them tested to see if they are sterile. If they are diploid we would certainly have to look at regulation changes. Thanks you for contacting us. Sincerely, John Weinheimer, District 9 Fish Biologist, (360)906-6746."

I'm taking this as a directive to catch a few to get scales and DNA samples, and that's what I'm going to tell them in court. :D

Biologists from my local region 3 office speculated that the grass carp I've seen in the Mid Columbia could have came from Silver Lake, where extensive flooding allowed escape to the lower Columbia in 1996. This same event is mentioned in this AFS report :

Last year, I reviewed a proposal to use grass carp right up the road from Yakima: DNS I told the Sepa Coordinator that the legal description was wrong on this. She told me it really should be Sec 4 - Twn 13 - Range 18, and would be amended but the PDF on this link still shows the wrong legal. But just about any pond along the old Naches highway is subject to flooding and the subsequent escape of grass carp.

When I lived out at Ocean Shores, WA, the City of Ocean Shores introduced some very expensive grass carp to Duck Lake to control vegetation and the results were disappointing. Most of the grass carp seemed to disappear. So the City of Ocean Shores decided to plant more in 2002. It didn't make much sense to me.

If you read the March 2006 article in Fisheries, you see that the authors are real hard on our governmental agencies, implicating them in the spread of problem breeding populations of grass carp throughout the US, first through promoting them as a biological control of macrophytes when they didn't really work very well in most places, then not assuring that all releases were sterile, and even allowing escapes of diploid specimens from their own facilities.

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Guest phonebush

MajorGeek,

Why did you ask your question on this forum? Seems to me you are way ahead of our speculation about this species. I know it was discovered here in the Midwest that 10 inch grass carp were heavily subject to predators. Today when they are introduced specimen of about 14 to 18 inches are used.

Phone

Did you read the URL I posted?

Was it any help?

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Guest majicwrench

Phone,

Thanks for the informative link. Good information. Unless someone can prove otherwise, I will continue to believe that there are not a lot of escaped grass carp breeding in Washington. If someone has seen an infestation of them somewhere, please let me know where, would be fun to go see for myself.

Keith

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