Discover The Largest Carp

Man holding beautiful big carp
© malgosia janicka/

Written by Cindy Rasmussen

Updated: May 4, 2022

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Carps are a freshwater species that have managed to spread their presence far and wide. Most species are from Asia, but carp can be found in Europe, North America, Australia, and Africa. A variety of carp species exists, coming in all sizes. A species size will vary, with some growing to be giants. Some carps are kept as pets, some are farmed, and others are fished for sport. All carp belong to the family of Cyprinidae, which also includes goldfish. They inhabit freshwater and are tolerant species. This tolerance has made them one of the most widespread families of fish.

Grass carps, silver carps, and common carp are the most commercially farmed fish because of their size and abundance. Other carp species that may not be as common exist but can reach much greater lengths. In this article, we will discuss the largest carps to ever be recorded. If water temperature and oxygen levels are suitable, how large carps can grow may surprise you. When released into the wild, even a tiny goldfish can reach ten times its size than when it was kept in a small bowl. Let’s go over the largest carp ever to get caught and some of the giants you may come across. 

Largest Carp Ever Caught

The largest carp ever caught was 232 pounds in Thailand

©Martin Pelanek/

Since fishing for carp is such a common hobby, many large specimens are reeled in wherever this species lives. Fisherman tales of people reeling in large carp are common, and every country documents these reports differently. Some large carp that are caught only have photo evidence of them being captured, while others are able to get the officially verified.

One of the largest carps ever captured was by a British man fishing in Thailand. John Harvey was able to reel in a giant 232 lbs (105kg) Siamese carp, which took him about 80 minutes to reel in. In the same water in 2016, it was reported that a Siamese carp weighing 222 lbs was released after being caught. It is thought that these two could be the same fish. Siamese carp are endangered and a rare species to come across.  John Harvey’s catch was an example of how large Siamese carp can be, weighing double what other large carp species can weigh.

Other Large Carp Caught

Surprisingly, one of the largest carp ever found in the U.S was not caught with a rod but a bow and arrow. In Lake Perry, Missouri, a giant 125lb(56.6kg) was successfully hunted by Matt Neuling and his friend, using only bow and arrows. It took around 2 arrows to take down this monster and 2 grown men to pull it out of the water. After bringing it out of the water and getting the fish weighed, the carp was officially documented at around 125lbs 5 ounces. The fish was a bighead carp, which originally is from Asia. It is estimated to be around 10 years of age. Even though they are invasive, this shows the adaptability carps have to survive in a foreign environment.

What Makes Carp Bigger

Carp can grow to enormous sizes compared to other fish


Healthy carp have a long lifespan and are able to grow to giant sizes. Water quality, diet, and the stress the fish is under all have effects on the size of a fish. Most carp will be fully grown at around 2 years and have a lifespan of 20 years. Some species will grow much larger and can live up to 50 years. Size is dependent on the species and habitat they live in. Carps that live in colder waters will generally be smaller.

In hotter waters and warm environments, carp will feed more and will be able to reach giant sizes. In areas with regularly warm climates like Thailand, France, and the U.S southern states, carps found in these regions will be much larger. Studies have also shown carps that sunbath will grow larger due to their warmer internal temperatures, compared to carp that don’t sunbathe. Heat can be used to make commercial carp bigger and show us that global warming will positively affect carp species.

Biggest Carp Species

Cyprinidae is the most common and largest family of freshwater fish. Each has different traits, but some will grow larger than others and can reach over 100 lbs. The Giant barb or Siamese carp is the largest carp species in the world. It lives in canals, floodplains, and swamps. To find this species is rare, as they are critically endangered and only found in Mae Klong, Mekong, Indochina, and Chao Phraya waterways. Giant Barbs are rare, but they are one of the largest freshwater fish, and it is thought they can grow up to 660lbs (300kg).  

Here are some other carp species that can also be giants. 

  • Bighead Carp: Bighead carp can grow up to 100 lbs(45.3 kg) and reach 57 inches (147cm). They feed on zooplankton and are known for their giant heads. Some of the larger carp have mouths large enough to fit a bucket into.
  • Silver Carp: Large Silver carp reach around 110 lbs (49 kg) and grow a length of 41 inches (105 cm). They can jump as much as 10 feet out of water when disturbed.
  • Grass Carp: The largest grass carp on record have been listed at around 87 lbs (39k). Some may be able to reach larger sizes. They are herbivores and prefer highly vegetated waters.
  • Asian Carp: Asian carp have a max weight of 100 lbs (45 kg) and a long lifespan of up to 20 years. They only eat plankton and mussels, so they have a low mercury count. 
  • Koi: Koi are generally around 24 to 36 inches (60.9 to 91.4 cm), and the most giant koi ever recorded was named Big Girl, weighing in at 90lbs(40.8 kg). Koi are a popular decorative fish with some able to live more than 20 years. Koi hobbyists do their best to take care of them to reach maximum size and age.

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About the Author

I'm a Wildlife Conservation Author and Journalist, raising awareness about conservation by teaching others about the amazing animals we share the planet with. I graduated from the University of Minnesota-Morris with a degree in Elementary Education and I am a former teacher. When I am not writing I love going to my kids' soccer games, watching movies, taking on DIY projects and running with our giant Labradoodle "Tango".

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