Carp Identification

Juvenile Asian Carp Identification

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources developed a video to assist anglers and the general public in identifying juvenile Asian Carp. The video was produced in collaboration with Michigan Out of Doors Television. Many people don't realize that juvenile Asian Carp pose a threat to the state's Great Lakes. Juvenile Asian Carp can be confused with common baitfish – such as Gizzard Shad, Emerald Shiner, Spottail Shiner or Golden Shiner. Because bait is often transported across state lines, including from areas with breeding populations of Asian Carp, it would be easy for juvenile Asian Carp to make their way into the bait supply without anyone realizing it. This video showcases five characteristics viewers can use to distinguish between juvenile Asian Carp (Bighead and Silver) and common baitfish. These characteristics include color, scales, eyes, mouths and keels.

Black and Grass Carp Identification

The Black Carp is one of four species of Asian carp that threaten waterways in the central United States. Black Carp ( ) are molluskivores, meaning they consume native freshwater mussels and snails that live in our large rivers. Twenty-six freshwater mussel species native to Illinois are state-threatened or endangered. Twelve of those are federally listed.

Black Carp closely resemble Grass Carp, which are more common in large rivers of the central US. We do not have a reliable methode to tell them apart based on external characteristics, but the photos in the Black and Grass Carp Identification Guide give general characteristics, which can help. When in doubt, report the fish to the appropriate resource management agency as listed below.

blackcarpReporting a Captured Black Carp

To report a Black Carp captured in the Central U.S. from the Mississippi, Illinois, Ohio or Wabash rivers, please call one of the numbers below during regular business hours or report the fish to your local natural resource agency. Fish should be held cold, on ice, not alive, until passed to a natural resource agent.

Illinois DNR: 217-557-0719 OR 618-462-0362

Southern Illinois University: 618-453-6089

US Geological Survey: 573-876-1866

See the Black and Grass Carp Identification Guide here.