Lake Jacksonville’s grass carp are going down, said Natural Resources Specialist VI Richard Ott of Inland Fisheries District 3C. A grass carp bow and arrow fishing tournament has been set to reduce the number of the carp in the lake.
“The tournament starts at 8 p.m. on May 22 and weigh in is at 2 a.m. on May 23,” Ott said. “We don’t know for sure how many fishermen will be there. We will have two of our guys out there to record the number of fish caught and law enforcement authorities will be there to observe and make sure everyone is playing by the rules.”
Ott said this grass carp fishing tournament will shut down at 2 a.m. in order to reduce the noise and light levels on the water throughout the night.
He also said the tournament is limited to fan and prop boats and all fishing must be done with a bow and arrow.
Texas Bow Fishing Association President Walter Blackburn said in an earlier interview he expects between 40 and 60 people on the lake.
“Entry fee will be paid back with money for the most fish shot and the biggest fish shot,” he added.
This one-night event will be the public’s only shot at catching some of the grass carp on the lake, Ott said.
The triploid grass carp, introduced to the lake in summer 2006, were added to reduce the amount of hydrilla in the lake. Hydrilla is an aquatic plant not native to the U.S. which can spread at a fast pace and take over lake ecosystems.
Jacksonville City Manager Mo Raissi said earlier the city purchased 3,890 of the fish over several years at $7.10 each, for a total of $27,619. Currently there are estimated to be just over 1,200 carp remaining.
Ott said even with a 32 percent annual mortality rate, the carp have become a threat to other lake vegetation. He also said the hydrilla was nearly gone as of summer 2008, thanks to a combination of the city’s herbicide treatment, the introduction of the grass carp and a July 2007, flood which wiped the lake clean of most of the hydrilla and other vegetation.