TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – The results of a common carp survey sent out to Kansas anglers are in.

Kansas anglers were asked by the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks to answer several questions related to common carp in a recent survey. The results were released in a KDWP newsletter by Fisheries Biologist Nick Kramer, which shows that opinions on the carp may be changing in the sunflower state.

Common carp were first introduced to Kansas in June 1878, according to the KDWP. At the time, carp were favorites for Kansas anglers, but opinion shifted when then-State Fish Commissioner J.W. Shults said carp were “the most worthless of all fish for table use” and that “it was a great mistake that they were ever planted on this continent.”

The survey launched by the KDWP sought to answer several questions related to common carp. These included finding out what size of fish was considered a trophy carp, determining the level of support for managing waterbodies for trophy common carp and asking what management actions should be taken to achieve trophy carp.

The KDWP’s Fisheries Division was surveyed first to gather internal opinions before postcards were sent out to a random selection of 2,000 Kansas residents who had purchased a fishing license in the past year. A link was also posted on the KDWP’s social media channels that anglers could respond to.

The first question asked, “Have you ever specifically targeted common carp using any method?” Postcard responses showed that 68% had never intentionally fished for common carp, while 32% had. The KDWP reports that the exact opposite occurred in the online responses they received.

The next question asked which method the angler used most often. Both in the social and postcard responses, the majority of respondents said they used rod-and-reel, with a strong amount also reporting that they use bowfishing. These two groups are what the survey results focus on.

Responses from bowfishers and rod-and-reel show that both groups have complaints regarding carp in Kansas. Bowfishers said they view carp as detrimental, there are too many carp, and there is a lack of disposal sites. Rod-and-reel anglers said there is a lack of regulations, no management focus and a lack of shoreline access.

The two groups gave similar responses when asked about what they considered to be trophy common carp. The majority said that a trophy carp was 34 inches and weighed around 20-25 pounds. Responses to the management of waterbodies for trophy common carp were largely neutral among those polled in the survey.

The final major questions of the survey, which asked anglers what management actions should be taken to achieve trophy carp, received a strong response from rod-and-reel anglers. A popular response is to implement a maximum length limit. However, when anglers were also asked if they would harvest fish with a length limit in place, 75% of those who wanted limits said they would not harvest legal fish.

The KDWP newsletter ends by saying that there are already common carp swimming in Kansas lakes and streams and anglers may find more if they look for them.

At this time, I would consider it more likely that we simply point those interested anglers towards waters where we find those fish than to implement regulations specifically to develop other trophy waters.”

Newsletter excerpt

To read the full newsletter and others posted by the KDWP, click here.