Invasive Carp

DNR employee spraying a boat at a courtesy decontamination site

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has been working to slow the spread of invasive carp since the early 2000s.

A renewed effort began in 2011 and a collaboration of state and federal agencies, conservation groups and university researchers developed the Minnesota Invasive Carp Action Plan.

This plan aims to prevent or limit the impact these species may have on Minnesota waters.


Invasive Carp Captures

Invasive carp captures must be reported to the DNR immediately. Take a photo and make arrangements with the DNR to transport the carp to the nearest fisheries office.

To keep invasive carp for personal use, download the Special Permit to Possess Prohibited Invasive Species of Carp.

Invasive Carp in the United States

Grass, Bighead, Silver and Black carp were brought to the United States in the 1970's as a biological control for plants, algae and snails in aquaculture, wastewater and retention ponds.

During high water events, a few fish escaped from contained systems and became established in the lower and middle Mississippi River. Populations have expanded further to include the Ohio, Missouri and Illinois rivers.

Carp in Minnesota

The first invasive carp captured in Minnesota was a grass carp in 1991 (Okamanpeedan Lake) followed by a bighead carp in 1996 (Lake St. Croix) and the first silver carp in 2008 (Mississippi River Pool 8).

No black carp have been captured in Minnesota to date. Most captures have been individual catches and there has been no evidence of reproduction occurring in Minnesota waters.

In 2019, high water conditions may contribute to more individual invasive carp captures than in a typical year. The DNR confirmed from two to seven individual invasive carp captures each spring from 2013 to 2018. 

Persistent high water in southern Minnesota, Iowa and Illinois has created “open river” conditions in which fish can move upriver unimpeded by locks and dams. Open river conditions can be beneficial to native species like lake sturgeon and paddlefish, which can swim hundreds of miles in search of preferable habitat. These conditions also allow other, non-native species to move upriver more easily. 

Early Detection and Monitoring of Susceptible Waters

Carp Sampling Reports

Carp Resources

Funded by: Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Services and the National Park Service.


Prevention and Deterrence


Funded by: Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund, University of Minnesota, Minnesota State University Mankato, University of Minnesota Duluth, USGS, Clean Water Land & Legacy Amendment, US Army Corps of Engineers and the National Park Service.