Carp are freshwater fish found all over the world. In Washington State, they are found in many lakes and ponds. Anglers love catching carp. While they aren’t the most difficult fish to reel in, they scare easily and swim at the smallest movement. In Washington, the largest ever caught is a true lake monster! Follow along to discover the largest carp ever caught in Washington including the world-record.
The Largest Carp Ever Caught in Washington
On Jun 17, 2006, Duane Fisher caught a 49.5-pound common carp in Moses Lake in Grant County. It’s the only carp record in the state. Moses Lake is a popular fishing destination for anglers. There are up to 500,000 carp in the lake. Typically, common carp caught in this lake are about 25 to 26 pounds, however, they can also be as small as 10 pounds.
The largest carp caught in Washington is a common carp, but there are multiple species! Carp are freshwater fish with many uses. They have been domesticated and farmed for food for centuries. Carp are also ornamental fish. Did you know that koi fish were selectively bred from common carp and Amur carp varieties? Follow along to learn more about these fish.
Size and Appearance
Carp vary in size and appearance depending on the species. For example, the common carp, which is found throughout the United States is a brown and silver fish with a gold sheen, mostly on its head. Common carp are also called Eurasian carp. Domesticated common carp are thick and wide compared to wild carp. With the right space and nutrients, common carp reach impressive sizes. They can weigh as much as 100.5 pounds, but most only reach about 4.4 to 30.9 pounds.
Bighead carp are also large, but they rarely weigh over 100 pounds. However, bighead carp can reach 4 feet and 9 inches long. The average bighead carp though is only 2 feet long. Bighead carp are silverish-grey and brown fish with smooth heads.
The white carp looks very different from the other species on this list. They are silver and white, and very long! They can reach a maximum length of 3.3 feet.
Distribution and Habitat
Although carp are farmed and distributed throughout the world, they are native to Europe and Asia. Many of the species are threatened or vulnerable in the wild. For instance, the common carp’s wild population is labeled as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List. Common carp have been introduced to about 59 countries. This species has been in the United States since the 1850s.
The grass carp is native to the Pacific Far East. They live in slow or standing bodies of water like calm rivers, lakes, and ponds with a lot of vegetation. Like the other carp species, they’ve been introduced to other parts of the world including India, Venezuela, Romania, and Denmark. Silver carp, another species of carp, are native to China and eastern Siberia.
The diet of a carp varies depending on the species. Some carp species don’t consume meat, while others do. The common carp is omnivorous. They eat seeds, zooplankton, insects, small fish, and eggs. Common carp mainly scavenge at the bottom of lakes, ponds, or rivers.
Grass carp on the other hand are mainly herbivores. The bulk of their diet consists of aquatic plants, however, they’ve been recorded eating insects. These large fish need a lot of food and may eat as much as three times their weight in one day. Catla carp, also known as Indian carp, usually eats zooplankton.
The bigger a carp grows, the fewer predators they have. Young common carp are vulnerable. In North America, they are consumed by largemouth bass, walleye, and pike. Another common predator is birds like great blue herons. Asian carp are also hunted by largemouth bass and sometimes alligator gar.
Other Incredible Large Carp
While a 49.5-pound fish is massive, this record is nowhere near some of the largest ones. For example, John Harvey, a British angler caught a 232-pound Siamese carp in Thailand in 2019. It took him 80 minutes to reel in this massive carp!
Another incredible catch was from Callum Pettit, an 11-year-old, that managed to reel in a 96-pound and 10-ounce carp. He caught this massive fish while in France. The large fish was nicknamed Big Girl. There is even footage of this amazing catch where you can see the excitement on the young angler’s face.
The photo featured at the top of this post is © Fabien Monteil/Shutterstock.com
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