• Mississippi National River and Recreation Area

    Mississippi

    National River & Recreation Area Minnesota

Common Carp in the Upper Mississippi

Common Carp

Common carp (Cyprinus carpio)

Looking for Asian Carp? Read our Asian Carp Overview and Action Plan page for more information.

Of all the fish swimming about the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area, few can compete with Cyprinus Carpio, the common carp, for controversy. Since its introduction into North American waters just over a century ago, the anglers and diners who had once celebrated its arrival with parades have come to generally revile it, no longer praising "the queen of rivers" so much as cursing "ol' puckerpuss" and "buglemouth."

Though an exotic species, the carp has so successfully assimilated itself into the nation's waters that it is here for good, a native by sheer endurance. With a shrug of the shoulders and a resigned "like it or not, they're here, might as well make the most of them," many have recently begun to reappraise this "roughfish," as well as the many similar native species with which it is often confused. As European and Asian anglers have for centuries, an increasing number of North Americans are perfecting doughball recipes and relishing the challenge and, they insist, fun, of fishing for carp. Their commercial counterparts, meanwhile, continue to pull hundreds of tons of carp annually from area waters, bound for remarkably diverse uses. And both, to be certain, have some tasty recipes that they would like you try.

Did You Know?

Coon Rapids Dam

Over 600 men worked around the clock using hand tools, horses and coal powered shovels to build the original Coon Rapids Dam in 1913. The dam was rebuilt between 1995 and 1997.