What kind of carp are people catching in Michigan and the Great Lakes?

Common carp (Cyprinus carpio) are widespread across the U.S. An increasing number of sport anglers in Michigan enjoy battling these fish, and some charter operators now offer carp excursions.

Common carp were brought to the United States during the late 1800s as a popular food from European and Asian markets. Native to Eurasia, common carp are found today in the Great Lakes, large inland lakes and reservoirs, small and large rivers, swamps, canals and drains across Michigan. Common carp often are found in places where water quality is less than ideal.

Common carp average 15 to 32 inches and 4 to 31 pounds. They can be distinguished from invasive carp because common carp have triangular heads, blunt snouts and small barbels (fleshy, whisker-like filaments) at the corners of their mouths.

Because they are found in waters across the U.S., and they are no longer a popular food, sometimes common carp are considered a nuisance species. However, they are not considered invasive in Michigan.

Learn more about the difference between common carp and invasive carp.
Learn more about identifying and fishing for common carp.