Waterfowl hunters, anglers and boaters should anticipate limited access to portions of five bays on Kentucky Lake periodically over the next several weeks as officials evaluate experimental Asian Carp harvest techniques.
The clearing of submerged debris from designated “Asian Carp Harvest Areas” starts Dec. 1 in parts of Smith and Pisgah bays. Similar clearing of harvest areas also will occur in parts of the Sledd Creek, Ledbetter Creek and Vickers embayments.
The Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources will oversee the clearing of debris from the reservoir bottom in a 300-foot by 500-foot section of each bay. A subcontractor working for Murray State University will perform the site preparation work.
“This effort can only be done in the cold weather months,” said Jessica Morris, a Fisheries biologist with the department who specializes in Asian Carp abatement. “In preparation, biologists from the Fisheries and Wildlife divisions worked together to select the areas and dates that would work best for the effort while minimizing inconveniences to waterfowl hunters, anglers and boaters.”
Finalized dates for site preparation and experimental harvest efforts will be posted on the Western Kentucky Fisheries Facebook page (@westerndistrictfisheries). Hunters, anglers, or boaters planning visits to the area are encouraged to monitor the Facebook page for updates.
Maps of the designated harvest areas are available on the Asian Carp information page at fw.ky.gov.
In general, site preparation and Asian Carp harvest in these areas will occur periodically from December to early March. The work will be limited to weekdays during duck season, and boating access at these locations may be affected for up to five days while harvest efforts are underway.
Removing submerged debris is necessary so seines — vertical fishing nets that are weighted on the bottom and suspended by floats on the surface — and other harvest methods, such as the modified unified method, can be deployed in the designated harvest areas.
Harvest areas will be marked with buoys. Anglers should refrain from deploying any fish habitat in the marked areas as it may damage nets and impede efforts to corral and remove Asian Carp.
The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) plans to return to Kentucky Lake in January and February for additional testing and research of the modified unified method in Smith and Pisgah bays. The Asian Carp removal method entails setting a series of large nets and driving the invasive fish into a small area before removing them from the water. The agency tested the method earlier this year in the same bays.
Information about the USGS effort, including dates, will be forthcoming.