Recent flooding below Lake Texoma has resulted in increased angling activity in the Denison Dam tailrace and a heightened threat that invasive species such as silver or bighead carp could be introduced into the lake.
Right now fish are stacked up in the tailrace and baitfish are plentiful and easy to catch with cast nets. Some of those fish may be invasive species such as silver carp or bighead carp. “The danger is that young Asian carp resemble gizzard and threadfin shad, which are commonly used for bait,” said Texas Parks and Wildlife Department fisheries biologist Bruce Hysmith. “Anglers need to be aware that these invasive species are present and that it is illegal to move them or other baitfish from the Lake Texoma tailrace to the lake itself.”
It is a violation of Texas law to transport these carp alive; any fish caught must be dispatched immediately.
Silver carp, Hypophthalmichthys molitrix, along with bighead carp, Hypophthalmichthys nobilis, are native to the large river systems of China and have been introduced at many locations around the world, including the United States. Silver carp are known to jump from the water upon hearing the sound of a boat, possibly injuring the occupants.
Silver and bighead carp were unintentionally released into the Mississippi River drainage years ago and are known to be present in the Red River. The Lake Texoma dam has been serving as a barrier to migration upstream into the lake.
More information on invasive carp species in Texas can be found at http://www.texasinvasives.org/animal_database/detail.php?symbol=11.