SOCIAL CIRCLE, Ga. – A few fish floating in a lake as large as Jackson may not raise interest. However, when that turns into a few hundred dead fish, offices at the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division – Fisheries Section start to get some calls. Fortunately, the recent die-off of common carp seen currently at Jackson appears to be a natural occurrence.
“Common carp have been aggressively spawning at Lake Jackson over the last few weeks, resulting in additional energy consumption and stress, and weakening a fish’s immune system allowing bacterial or viral infections to more readily occur, often causing fish death,” Keith Weaver, fisheries biologist at Lake Jackson, said. “Additionally, these spawning activities ensure that many carp are in constant contact with each other, allowing diseases to spread even more rapidly. Given that this die-off appears to affect this one species and water quality appears normal, we believe that this is a naturally occurring fish kill and of no alarm to anglers or lake visitors.”
Biologists observing the kill located dead fish primarily in the South River Arm of Lake Jackson. However, it is still possible that it could continue to spread to other parts of the reservoir.
Common carp are not native to the United States, but were introduced in the late 1800s as a food fish. They are commonly found throughout the southeast. They are slate to gold in color, with a dark spot at the base of the tail and have a sucker-like mouth with a barbel on each corner. They can weigh more than 50 pounds, but 5-25 pounds is more typical.
For more information on fishing in Georgia, visit www.georgiawildlife.com.