Grass Carp: You've Done Your Job Saving Lake Conroe, Now They're Coming to Kill You

When Lake Conroe began to be overrun with the harmful plant hydrilla, Texas officials had the answer -- they brought in a bunch of grass carp to eat that stuff up.

The carp performed admirably: The lake is now essentially free of hydrilla, Texas Parks and Wildlife says.

But while it's got no more hydrilla, it now has too damn much grass carp.

"Many fewer grass carp are needed to keep re-sprouting hydrilla at bay," TPWD says. "Overabundant grass carp have damaged important native vegetation and become a hindrance to fish habitat improvement efforts."

What to do? Say thanks by going after the buggers with rod and reel and bowhunters.

Yeah, you were great in your time, grass harp, but you put yourself out of business!! Now duck, if you know what's good for ya!!

TPWD is hosting a grass carp tournament on the lake next month; first will be the traditional fisher types, then the Ted Nugent wannabes.

"This event is an attempt to reduce the total number of grass carp in Lake Conroe to a number capable of preventing re-sprouting of hydrilla but which will allow us and our partners to better enhance important native aquatic vegetation for fish habitat and water quality improvement," said TPWD's Craig Bonds.

"We have come to realize that grass carp are an integral tool in hydrilla management, yet too many grass carp can be detrimental to future recruitment of desirable fish species such as largemouth bass," said Ron Gunter of the Texas BASS Federation Nation. "Native plants provide habitat and cover for newly hatched fish fry, and grass carp are programmed to consume aquatic plants."

The carp were unavailable for comment, a condition that is expected to become even more acute soon.

Officials say the tournament will help to determine "the magic number" of grass carp needed in the lake to keep hydrilla down but still allow other species to flourish.

TPWD estimated there are 32,600 grass carp in the lake. For now.

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