Chicago Sun-Times
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Asian carp: Waiting on Illinois record

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The fish kill and Asian carp story at Garfield Park just keeps getting weirder, now treading into record territory.


Apparently, Spencer Miller caught the Illinois record bighead carp last evening.

However, until it was weighed on a big enough certified scale, it was short by ounces of the Illinois record.

But that record may yet come from Garfield Park.


First, Miller's tale.

He was fishing with Sonny's stink bait for catfish during the kill Thursday because you could see the big fish moving. He was using 30-pound line and a fiberglass rod.

He took it to be weighed at Henry's. Originally, the 49-inch fish was weighed at 84 pounds, but Tom Palmisano later rechecked it as closer to 70 pounds.

Then Palmisano called and asked what the Illinois record was. Told it was 69 pounds, he hustled the fish to a bigger certified scale at Abacus Scales this afternoon, where it weighed 68.3 pounds.

That's just short of the Illinois record of 69 pounds Jack Bailey caught from the Carlyle Lake tailwaters on May 4.

Fish routinely lose as much as 10 percent of their weight in handling, so Miller probably had the record by a couple pounds.

``Oh, man,'' Miller joked. ``Oh, boy. I should have filled him with water.''


Now, the second part of this tale.

There may yet be a record bighead caught/snagged from Garfield Park.

Chicago fisherman Roy Gilcrease said the remaining live fish are stacked near a freshwater supply on the north side of the lagoon in a pecking order: carp of 30 pounds and heavier on one side with catfish and Koi on the other side with bluegill and bass mixed between.

He said there was at least 15 of what he thought were large bighead carp.

Apparently, he was right on that.

Palmisano just called and said at least five bigheads of around 47 inches were caught or snagged in the past hour or so.

This story just keeps getting weirder.

I have called the Asian carp saga the biggest boondoggle in Chicago outdoors. This story just adds another chapter to it.

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Why do you insist that this is a boondoggle? Ob viously someone is planting these fish in cpd lagoons.

It is assumed by biologists, and I think it is a safe assumption, that the Asian carp found in multiple Chicago lagoons came with catfish stockings from the IDNR. I have outlined many times why this is a boondoggle, but I give highlights again: 1) Asian carp have advanced by multiple means, some of which may be unstoppable, yet officials continue to focus millions upon millions of dollars into stopping the spread in the waterways; 2) those millions of dollars have been squandered in an ongoing way, such as a misplacement of the electric barrier, which required millions more to build a fence to prevent bypassing during flooding on the Des Plaines. This story has been building for more than a decade and suddenly there is s rush to judgement.

Hey Dale---

You have been on top of the carp stuff, no doubt. I am interested to hear what you think should happen since you are clearly down on separating the Lakes from the river system. If that investment is not worthwhile, what should we be doing, if anything?

Common sense tells you that you will NEVER stop the Asia Carp from being in the Great Lakes. Also the smart people know their already there.

Hi Dale, I remember the Chicago river (main branch) being stocked 10-15 years ago with various fish species including, I believe, channel catfish. If my memory is correct, is there any reason to assume that those plantings weren't similarly tainted?

Boy, that is a good question. I don't think it was that long ago. I want to say it was more like five years ago. I will try to dig around. Very good question.

That's a big fish! This Asian carp problem is really going to get out of hand. I think we need to resort to some of these solutions:

I am glad to see ChicagoNow bloggers know where to go for some outdoor pub.

Dale, enjoy your column in the sun-times. Had a terrific day on the Kankakee river today. Caught and released 14 smallmouth , in the 11/2 lb range to 3Lbs. Caught three, 3lb smallies, one at about 33/4 lbs. Used lg. and med. roaches on a slip bobber in the state park around Bonfield rd. Ran out of minnow's , brought 21/2 doz.. The feed is on!!

Dan Grabon

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This page contains a single entry by Dale Bowman published on July 9, 2010 5:47 PM.

WWW Chicago outdoors: Rivers to ranges was the previous entry in this blog.

Asian carp: More Chicago bigheads is the next entry in this blog.

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