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Flying Carp Found In Winona

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- There's evidence flying carp are in Minnesota after a commercial fisherman says he caught one in the Mississippi River.

If tests confirm the fish is actually the flying silver carp, it would be the first documented case in the river this far north. The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) now has that fish.

Tim Adams said he caught the fish Friday in Winona.

"I walked through and said, 'Whoa! We got another Big Head,' and I said, 'No! It's a silver,'" Adams recalled. "We were quite surprised."

Adams is a well-known commercial fisherman who fishes the Illinois River, which Asian carp have overtaken. o if anyone knows what these things look like and what they can do to an ecosystem, he's the one.

He says the silver carp, or flying carp as it's commonly called, got caught in his net. It certainly wasn't the catch he expected. The state hired him to find these fish, and he finally did on Friday after past attempts proved unsuccessful.

This discovery is significant. The state has already found the flying-carp DNA in the river, but this is the first time someone's actually caught one of these flying fish.

They're destructive forces that have overtaken rivers and stripped the pleasure out of boating. The carp catch comes the same day the Gov. Mark Dayton wrote an editorial about Asian carp.

"It is critical that we act as quickly as possible, in whatever ways feasible, to stop the spread of Asian carp," Dayton wrote. "If established here, they would forever change the ecology and human uses of many of our water resources."

The governor says that barriers to stop the carp's migration are key. Crews will build the Coon Rapids Dam higher this summer, so carp can't leap over it.

"They're coming," said Adams, who believes more flying-fish are in the water. "It will only take one good spawn. If there's enough to spawn, I'll be all over."

Adams also caught a Big Head Carp in the Mississippi on Thursday. It doesn't fly like the silver carp, but it does devour all the food in the water.

He's has seen how quickly these Asian carp spread in other rivers. He fears what could happen in Minnesota if more isn't done to protect our precious waters.

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