The common carp is a species of freshwater fish that is native to the temperate regions of Europe and Asia. However, the species have been introduced to other continents worldwide. Known by its scientific name, Cyprinus carpio, the common carp is a member of the Cyprinidae family, one of the largest and most diversified families of fish, as well as the largest family of vertebrate animals overall.
The common carp is also known as the European carp, German carp, mirror carp, or leather carp. When most people catch a common carp, they usually catch a fish that weighs between 1–8 pounds, with an average length of about 2 feet. But the largest common carp ever caught in Maine is significantly bigger than this. Read on to discover the current record for the largest common carp ever caught in Maine.
How Big Does The Common Carp Grow?
The expected size range of the common carp is 1-8 pounds in the wild. However, it isn’t uncommon to find carp as big as 30 or 40 pounds if the conditions are right. With sufficient space and enough food, common carp can potentially reach enormous size.
The fish grows best in larger water bodies with slow currents and a soft sedimentary bed. However, the common carp is very resilient and can thrive in many aquatic habitats. Generally, common carp in the wild do not achieve the lengths and weights of cultivated carp, which may grow to a length of up to 4 feet and can be over 88 pounds in weight.
Carps grow quickly, attain maturity in about three years, and can live for 40 years or more in captivity. How big carp will grow depends on the species and the habitat where they’re found. Mainly, carp that live in colder waters tend to be smaller than those in warm waters. Warm water carp varieties get to feed more and can reach giant sizes. In the US, carp in northern states like Maine don’t grow as big as those in the southern states.
The Largest Common Carp Caught In Maine
The largest common carp ever caught in Maine was caught by Samuel Foster on September 14, 2022. The fish weighed 16.3 pounds. It was caught in the Kennebec River. Carps were introduced into the waterways of Maine for the first time in 1879. Several individual and government-owned ponds were stocked with the fish between 1879 and 1896.
Despite the species’ reputation for hardiness and adaptability, the common carp isn’t so common in Maine, which is reasonable considering the fish is an invasive species that displaces other natural dwellers.
The middle of March to the end of October is the window of opportunity for fishing for common carp. In the early part of the season, common carp may frequently go into shallow mud flats to keep warm. The simplicity of catching some of these fish is that they tend to sit or cruise around. Anglers check out for moving traces like tails, swirls, bubbles, and wakes. An increasing number of common carp move into the shallows to feed as the weather warms.
The Largest Common Carp Caught In The World
The current world record for the largest common carp is held by a common carp caught in a fishery in Hungary in 2018. A Dutchman identified as Michel Schoenmakers caught the 112-pound-and-14-ounce fish.
The fish, caught in Euro-Aqua, a Hungarian lake, is about 5 pounds bigger than the previous record holder — a massive 108 pounds carp caught in the same lake two years earlier. In the United States, the largest common carp ever caught was a 61.50 pounds fish caught on Wolf Lake in Michigan by Dale E. France. This was back in May 1905.
In 1987, a fisherman named Colin Smith in France reeled in a behemoth common carp that weighed 100 pounds and 8 ounces. The fish was captured in the Lac de St. Cassien region of France. It was weighed and released back into the water. Interestingly, another angler, John Thorpe, reeled in the same fish shortly afterward. By this time, the fish had lost one pound, measuring about 99 pounds and 12 ounces.
In May 2022, an 11-year-old British boy made “carp-world” history. During a fishing trip that he took with his father in Reims, France, Callum Pettit caught a common carp that weighed 96 pounds and 10 ounces. This catch makes him the youngest person to catch a fish that big. The 96 pounds monster was bigger than anything his father had ever caught in more than 30 years of angling.
When And Where To Catch A Common Carp In Maine
If you’re hoping for a massive common carp catch in Maine, knowing where and when to look for one will make it easier to fulfill your dream. Generally, the preferred habitat of the common carp is shallow warm waters with abundant weeds and bottom sediments where the fish can easily scavenge. The common carp will retreat to shallower parts of water during the cold winter months. This is because the sun’s rays heat the water temperature more rapidly in these areas.
In the summer, you can find the fish close to the edge of the deeper water for safety purposes. You can go fishing for common carp at any time of the day. However, the best times of the day to do so are traditionally early in the morning, early in the evening, or at night. The fish are more active at night when the cover of darkness allows them to feed more aggressively. As a result, the hours around dawn and dusk are typically the most fruitful for hunting.
Carps are undoubtedly one of the most sought-after sport fish in Europe. They’re not quite as popular in the United States, where the fish is considered an invasive species. The popularity of the common carp has been growing gradually in the southern United States over the past few years. The common carp is still considered detrimental to Maine’s aquatic ecosystem. The fish and other non-native fish species, like bass, degrade water quality through their feeding activities. They feed by uprooting vegetation which increases water turbidity, making the water unconducive for other species.
Where To Catch Carp In Maine
In Maine, the carp population is generally restricted to the flowing waters within the Kennebec River drainage system. The most popular fishing area within this drainage system is the tidal “flats” of Merrymeeting Bay.
Because carp are considered an invasive species in Maine, there are no fishing regulations to protect them. However, the Maine Department of Marine Resources has special rules to regulate the type of tackles used for fishing on the Kennebec River. These laws are meant to protect other sport fish species, but also apply to carp fishing on the river.
Where Is Maine Located On A Map?
Maine is located on the northeastern tip of the United States and is bordered by New Hampshire to the west, the Gulf of Maine to the southeast and the Canadian Provinces of New Brunswick to the northeast, and Quebec to the northwest. The Kennebec River is a 170-mile-long river located in west-central Maine that flows from Phippsburg to Augusta.
The photo featured at the top of this post is © Rostislav Stefanek/Shutterstock.com
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