Common Questions and Answers
How can I tell the difference between common carp and the stocked triploid grass carp? Is it illegal to catch triploid grass carp that have been stocked in public waters?
The grass carp, also known as white amur, is a vegetarian fish native to the Amur River in Asia. The U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service introduced grass carp into the United States in 1963 for experimental purposes. Because this fish feeds on aquatic plants, it can be an effective biological tool for control of nuisance vegetation. It's easy to identify, just look at the information below and you can become proficient in the differences between the triploid and common carp!
The major difference when looking at the carp from above is the length of the dorsal fin. The triploid grass carp has a significantly shorter fin than the common carp. There are other more subtle differences the most easily identified of which is the presence or absence of barbels around the mouth.
Triploid grass carp are used around the world and are one of the approved methods being used by the SCDNR to control invasive and nuisance weeds in some of the public waters of South Carolina. The details of these methods can be found in the
South Carolina Aquatic Plant Management Plan which is compiled yearly.
Please remember, it is illegal to “take” triploid grass carp from public waters according to section 50-13-1630(D) of the SC code of laws.
If you hook a triploid grass carp while fishing in public waters please release them back into the same water body. If you are bowhunting please remember if you shoot a triploid carp you have effectively "taken" the fish and can be subject to penalties prescribed by law.
Facts - triploid grass carp:
- offer a biological alternative for aquatic plant control.
- are sterile and will not reproduce.
- live for at least 10 years and probably longer in South Carolina waters.
- grow rapidly and may exceed 60 pounds.
- feed only on plants, not on fish eggs or young fishes.
- feed from the top of the plant downward
- have definite food preferences. Plants like water lilies, filamentous algae (pond scum or moss), muskgrass and Eurasian milfoil are not preferred. Bushy and American pondweeds and hydrilla are preferred foods.
- are not effective for control of bulrush, filamentous algae (pond scum or moss), water primrose, or cattails.
- go dormant during the winter and resume intensive feeding when water temperatures reach 68 degrees F.
- are difficult to catch with conventional fishing methods.