|Scientific Name: Cyprinus carpio |
Other Common Names: silver bass, stripes
The common carp usually has an olive- to-green back, fading to a yellow-brown side, with a yellow belly. The fins are yellow to yellow-red. Two pairs of barbels are present on the upper jaw, which help to distinguish carp from suckers. The mouth is small and is supported by tough cartilage. The carp has small teeth on the back of the last gill arch near the throat. These teeth, similar to human molars, are used for crushing shells, seeds and plants.
Habitats and Habits
Carp are native to Eurasia but were introduced into North America during the 1800s. They can now be found in lakes and rivers throughout the United States. Carp are routinely found along the shoreline of lakes and rivers, where they feed on aquatic plants, algae, invertebrates and, on occasion, small fish.
Their ability to taste and smell is very acute. They usually suck food off the bottom, along with silt and debris. Food items are strained out and chewed up, while non-food items are spit out. These feeding habits often cause muddy water and, in extreme cases, can impair aquatic plant growth and cover fish eggs with silt. Carp are very strong swimmers, and large individuals are common. As a result, they are popular among some anglers. Carp are a popular food fish in many countries, although they are bony.
While carp occasionally will take slow-moving lures, most anglers prefer using natural baits. Dough balls, oatmeal, cheese, worms, corn and even soap fished on the bottom are popular choices. Some anglers broadcast or “chum” corn or cheese over an area prior to fishing them with the hopes of attracting carp.