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Posted on Tue, May 31, 2011 : 6:09 p.m.

Carp left dying in Ypsilanti's Riverside Park after Huron River flooding recedes

By Tom Perkins


Ypsilanti resident Lakaris Williams hunts for carp still alive in a lagoon formed by recent floods in Ypsilanti's Riverside Park.

Tom Perkins | For

Last week's flooding created plenty of temporary fishing holes in Washtenaw County, but some receding waters are leaving dead and dying fish.

Lakaris Williams was one of several people spotted Tuesday in Ypsilanti's Riverside Park collecting what remained of live carp in two lagoons left by the recent flooding.

Only 35 dead fish remained in one lagoon, while a larger lagoon to the south still had some live fish to offer.

"I'm not messing around with nothing but the live ones," Williams said as he took his net and bucket with an approximately 15-pound carp in it over to the larger lagoon.

Williams said city employees were in the park earlier Tuesday and told him to take all the fish he could out of the lagoon because they would die as the water heated up and evaporated.

He'd caught seven fish Monday, one Tuesday and planned to give them to his family to freeze or cook.

City of Ypsilanti officials didn't return calls for comment about the dead fish, but Huron River Watershed Council ecologist Paul Steen said dead fish littering riverbanks are common after heavy rains.

He explained carp like to feed in the shallow areas on riverbanks during floods and described them as "vacuum cleaners" that will suck up worms, terrestrial bugs or anything else they can find. The fish then filter what they like from the meal and spit the rest out.

"They're in the habitat they love when they get the chance to do this, but it is sad to see them die off," Steen said.

Carp are edible, Steen said, though many people in North America won't eat them. He said carp are popular in many Asian cultures.

Also on Tuesday, some people swam and splashed in the larger Riverside Park lagoon, which Steen cautioned against. He said to avoid contact with the water 48 hours after a flood because pollution runs off the ground, and oil and various chemicals not visible to humans collect in the lagoons.



Thu, Jun 2, 2011 : 4:03 a.m.

Perhaps, this might expalin one of those biblical stories about multiplying fish


Wed, Jun 1, 2011 : 7:06 p.m.

And to think....if the proposed riverfront condos on Water Street had been built, the residents wouldn't have had to leave their homes to get the fish. The fish would have been washed straight into their entryway and, if located on the first floor, their kitchen. Catch of the day: Huron River carp, delivered by Mother Nature.

elbow bender

Wed, Jun 1, 2011 : 3:32 p.m.

Let's just cite the law and regulations over common sense. That makes no sense at all. If there are live fish stuck in a lagoon, and someone wants them, then go for it. Next real problem, please?


Wed, Jun 1, 2011 : 2:32 p.m.

'carpe carp' ....seize the carp

Tony Dearing

Wed, Jun 1, 2011 : 1:11 p.m.

A comment was removed because it was off-topic.


Wed, Jun 1, 2011 : 1:08 p.m.

I remember this happened at Huron HIlls there were carp flopping around on the 5th fairway, was very weird to see that!


Wed, Jun 1, 2011 : 10:51 a.m.

Where's Food Gatherers when you need them?

Peter Jameson

Wed, Jun 1, 2011 : 4:36 a.m.

good eats!


Wed, Jun 1, 2011 : 4 a.m.

Well, you know what they say. Carpe Diem!


Wed, Jun 1, 2011 : 3:04 a.m.

For a moment I thought I was reading the Onion...


Wed, Jun 1, 2011 : 2:55 a.m.

These fish are about to die for lack of water and the man cannot net them and take them home to eat before they die? This sounds like carp to me....


Wed, Jun 1, 2011 : 2:53 a.m.

Tom - Your first sentence in this article is grammatically a mess.

Tom Perkins

Wed, Jun 1, 2011 : 3:47 a.m.

I made a few changes. Thanks for the note.


Wed, Jun 1, 2011 : 2:50 a.m.

To those worrying about violating regulations, remember this is carp we're talking about here. I'm pretty sure that it's legal to use a hand net, dip net, hand spear, or bow spear to catch carp in the huron river. The only regulations typically placed on carp fishing are done in waterways heavily populated with other fish that we actually care about. Once the waters have receded, they are no longer in the waterway anyhow, but rather stuck dying in an isolated pond. You could probably call them "landed" at this point, club them in the head, and not have to worry about getting in any trouble.


Thu, Jun 2, 2011 : 12:52 a.m.

@Epengar Easy enough to make that mistake. I'm usually right. Part of the time!


Wed, Jun 1, 2011 : 12:47 p.m.

@jcj you're right, I missed that. Dip nets are ok in season on the Huron.


Wed, Jun 1, 2011 : 11:51 a.m.

Epengar Have you check the difference between hand nets and dip nets?


Wed, Jun 1, 2011 : 4:16 a.m.

I'm sure you're right, and I didn't check specific restrictions for this section of the Huron (sounds like you know them better than I). Of course restrictions are always somewhat left up to discretion in enforcement, and given the circumstances, if someone decided to net any live carp left in an isolated flood pond like this I doubt they would have any problems


Wed, Jun 1, 2011 : 3:57 a.m.

Technically, you're wrong. The regulations do specifically say where and when you can catch certain types of fish with hand nets, and they say you can only do it during a certain season, and on certain waters. Only the lower half-mile of the Huron is open to hand-netting. It seems crazy to me to limit carp fishing in any way, we'd be better off if they were gone. I guess it's an anti-poaching thing, they don't want people netting bass and claiming they're just after carp.


Wed, Jun 1, 2011 : 2:11 a.m.

Hmm, first spawn until you die, now bottom feed until you die.

Bertha Venation

Wed, Jun 1, 2011 : 5:20 p.m.

Sounds like a good plan to me!

Charlie Brown's Ghost

Wed, Jun 1, 2011 : 1:50 a.m.

They're just carp. Good Night and Good Grief.


Wed, Jun 1, 2011 : 7:29 p.m.

Sorry, that should be *sincerest* form of flattery. Not enough caffeine so far today.


Wed, Jun 1, 2011 : 7:24 p.m.

If imitation is the highest form of flattery, Edward R. Murrow's Ghost must be having an "Aw, Shucks" moment.


Wed, Jun 1, 2011 : 2:23 a.m.

They are a living animal and under the jurisdiction of the Michigan DNR. If people want to harvest these fish they most do so using legal fishing methods.

dading dont delete me bro

Wed, Jun 1, 2011 : 1:42 a.m.

i agree w/ribs1, "...Williams said city employees were in the park earlier Tuesday and told him to take all the fish he could out of the lagoon..." hope these people taking fish had fishing licenses. netting is illegal, just as snagging. hope they had a pole and bait. may sound silly, but it's the law. it's illegal to pick up a deer from a car/deer accident w/o a police issued kill tag.


Wed, Jun 1, 2011 : 2:31 a.m.

There is no way to know based on this article if the guy had a valid fishing license. However the article has a picture and description of a man using unlawful fishing methods.


Wed, Jun 1, 2011 : 1:21 a.m.

"Williams said city employees were in the park earlier Tuesday and told him to take all the fish he could out of the lagoon because they would die as the water heated up and evaporated." City employees do not have the authority to override Michigan Fishing Regulations.


Wed, Jun 1, 2011 : 1:06 a.m.

Does anyone realize that the use of hand nets is not a lawful method of fishing here? In addition, the season for using hand nets for taking fish ends today on all lakes and rivers. Page 12 of the Michigan fishing guide describes the seasons and waters for use of nets in taking fish. <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> Also, this document from the MDNR describes the waters that hand nets can be used. <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> Neither the Huron River, nor these lagoons are listed. This article is describing an illegal activity. Using hand nets to take fish in a river, lake, pond, or lagoon not described in the MDNR document f0-229 is poaching and should be reported to the Michigan DNR report all poaching hotline. 800-292-7800


Wed, Jun 1, 2011 : 12:46 p.m.

@jcj Doh! My mistake. You're right, dip nets would be fine.


Wed, Jun 1, 2011 : 11:49 a.m.

@Epengar Yes I am right. ribs1 is right about hand nets but the way I read it dip nets would have been OK in all non-trout streams. Unless the huron is a designated trout stream I think dip nets would have been OK. <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>


Wed, Jun 1, 2011 : 10:42 a.m.

Fishing in a non body of water such as a park or soccer field surely isn't covered as they aren't bodies of water...


Wed, Jun 1, 2011 : 3:53 a.m.

@jcj Nope, though it seems absurd to me, ribs1 is technically right. You're right about the season, but the season only applies to certain waters, and only the lowest half-mile of the Huron is on the &quot;legal to net&quot; list of streams. @obviouscomment there are amazingly complicated fishing regulations. Most of them are there to basically make it a little harder to catch fish, so fishing people don't wipe out the desirable ones (trout, salmon, bass, etc.). Also a lot of regulations (like the netting ones, I think) are there to make it harder to cheat.


Wed, Jun 1, 2011 : 3:12 a.m.

seriously??? there are illegal ways to fish? i know you gotta have a fishing license but how you catch the fish shouldn't matter as long as it doesn't hurt other people...who cares whether you use a net or a pole...and there's specific seasons? i guess i just prefer to get my fish from the frozen food section, less hassle


Wed, Jun 1, 2011 : 2:03 a.m.

Dip nets would have been legal there through today.


Wed, Jun 1, 2011 : 12:34 a.m.

How about a good, old fashion fish fry with Drake's Crispy Frymix?

Bertha Venation

Wed, Jun 1, 2011 : 5:19 p.m.

Count me in, Duk, and I'll bring along some crawdad pie.


Wed, Jun 1, 2011 : 12:24 a.m.

Here we go again, trashing and criticizing Ypsilanti. What ever happened to all the carp that were in the soccer field in Ann Arbor? Any of the A2 bleeding hearts go out and catch the carp (or any other fish) and put them back in the river? Probably not.


Thu, Jun 2, 2011 : 12:50 a.m.

As I suspected more than one paranoid reader.


Wed, Jun 1, 2011 : 2:31 p.m.

JCJ, apparently fancy schmancy Ann Arbor has fresh water whales washing up on shore, while Ypsitucky has bottom feeding &quot;pollution settles at the bottom&quot; carps stuck in lagoons. Some of us live in a majestic fairy tale land, while others live in reality.


Wed, Jun 1, 2011 : 2:25 a.m.

The fish at the fuller park soccer field never get trapped. There is always in inflow and outflow.


Wed, Jun 1, 2011 : 12:37 a.m.

Did I miss something? Where in the article or the post was anyone trashing or criticizing Ypsilanti? Another paranoid reader I suspect.

Wolf's Bane

Tue, May 31, 2011 : 11:49 p.m.

Yeah, here, in Ann Arbor, we had one heck of time putting the fresh water whales back into the Huron River after the flood. Carp are bottom feeders, pollution settles at the bottom. Got it?


Wed, Jun 1, 2011 : 4:07 a.m.

The state dept. of community health has a &quot;fish advisory&quot; that tells what's safe to eat and what's not. It says that kids and women of child-bearing age should only eat carp from Barton Pond once a week or less, but other people can eat it as often as they want. <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>

Andrew Jason Clock

Tue, May 31, 2011 : 11:39 p.m.

For a little reference... <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>


Tue, May 31, 2011 : 11:37 p.m.

&quot;it is sad to see them die off,&quot; Sad to see them die off? What the heck? They're a bloody invasive species! The common carp is clearly listed and categorized as an aquatic nuisance species. Being sad to see carp die off is like being sad to see zebra mussels of lamprey eels die off. We should be doing everything in our power to make them die off - put a dollar bounty on every carp head, or at least encourage people to kill them for sport and use their bodies for fertilizer. We'll never get rid of them, but our rivers (or what little is left of them between the dams) would still probably be much healthier.

Garden Goddess

Tue, May 31, 2011 : 11:25 p.m.


Andrew Jason Clock

Tue, May 31, 2011 : 11:14 p.m.

Hmm. When this happened a few years ago, folks complained, and the group under contract to run the park brought in people to clean up the fish, as well as pumps to drain the ponds. I seem to remember, when said contract was removed under questionable circumstances, we were promised that the city had plenty of funds to care for the parks on its own. Here we are, just a couple years later, and the city doesn't even return phone calls to explain the situation, let alone fix it. It's best solution: hey citizen, go ahead and get those out before they die. Nobody even went down to turn off the live electricity running to the lights and boxes that were underwater during the flood. More graffiti and trash. Less weed trimming and maintenance. Greatly increased fees on festivals, almost certainly driving major events out after this year. Difficulties in booking events in the park, large and small, because of communications failures from the city and those it contracts to book events. Looks like another &quot;win&quot; for Ypsilanti city council and loss for residents. If only this one park was the only casualty of the &quot;thought process&quot; behind council's votes on our park system. I'll wait now for all of those who want to tell me I'm focusing on the past, and who don't want to admit we are still feeling the ill effects of those past irrational decisions.


Tue, May 31, 2011 : 11:14 p.m.

Where are all the bleeding hearts? Somebody needs to start a fish rescue pond.


Wed, Jun 1, 2011 : 12:28 a.m.

Holy Carp ! Somebody needs to call a carpioligist to resuscitate them. If might even be too late for a sturgeon to operate. Look on the bright side more room for sunfish.


Tue, May 31, 2011 : 11:47 p.m.

Too funny and too true! Great comment.

Mr. Ed

Tue, May 31, 2011 : 11:08 p.m.


Marvin Face

Tue, May 31, 2011 : 10:34 p.m.

Rachel, that's not a lot of dead fish, THAT'S <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> a lot of dead fish. A Carp-acolypse even.


Tue, May 31, 2011 : 11:02 p.m.

Nice article, Marvin. I grew up in that area and have fished many times there.


Tue, May 31, 2011 : 10:21 p.m.

35! that sounds like a lot of dead fish.