Big Fish Lurk........

It may not be as big as the Loch Ness monster, but there are some awfully big carp swimming about under the surface of Keystone State Park Lake I was told recently, when one angler hooked onto one of them and tried to play it out.

The fisherman, who cared not to be identified, related that he was using a nightcrawler when all of a sudden his line took off, typical of actions of a carp or other large fish. Known as the “carp killer,” the gent did all he could to land what he knew must be a pretty good-sized fish. Using 12 pound test line, he was able to get it right up to shore where it could be seen. It turned quickly, unexpectedly snapping his line. “The thing must have gone somewhere around 40 inches long, and had a huge girth on it,” he explained.

“Would you have kept it?” I asked him. “No,” he said. “I throw everything back. I just enjoy pulling them in. I guess his nickname doesn’t hold true to form.

Having a great deal of success catching trout this year, he stated he is now ready for his favorite fish – carp.

“You know, I used to have a neighbor who ate carp all the time. He knew how to fix it and said it was mighty delicious. Any carp we caught, we gave him he would eat,” the elderly gentleman said. That prompted me to inquire as to what he would have done if he would have landed the “Loch Ness.”

“Would you have taken that big fish and given it to him?” I asked. “Nope,” he replied. “The chap is dead!” I had to follow that statement up. “Did he die from eating all that carp?” “No, I’m sorry to say, he fell victim to cancer.” 

Talking about Keystone Lake, several anglers told me when the water was high; a good number of carp had been washed over the spillway ending up in hole below the lake. Youth had taken upon themselves to go down over the embankment and carry the fish back and put them in the lake. I’m sure the fish were happy about that, but there are some who would rather have let them go on downstream with the eventuality of ending up in Loyalhanna Creek.

I called the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission and asked a law enforcement officer if someone were to pull one of these species from the Commonwealth waters and wanted to dispose of it because there are so many of them polluting the waters, what was the state’s rule concerning carp. He told me one cannot simple throw these fish on the bank and leave them there. They have to take them away from the water basin. I’ve always told people to take them home and then cut them up. Then when planting one’s garden, take a piece of the fish and put it in first. Then put in the seeds. The Indians did it. They knew the knack of growing crops. I’ve tried it with bluegill, and it worked for me. I’m sure carp will work just the same.

Talking about illegal tactics, one of the representatives from the PFBC advised me that using goldfish for bait is NOT allowed. A matter of fact, in his words, “No exotic species are to be introduced into state waters.”

I was told by the “carp killer” and another angler with whom I spoke that they talked to fishermen (could have been the same guy) who was using gold fish, and was caught doing so by a warden, and ending up paying a hefty fee as a fine (allegedly $5.000). The gent from the PFBC could not tell me what the fine is when one commits this offense. All I can say is let it be a word to the wise that if one is caught, the consequences won’t be pretty.

Paul J. Volkmann (6/16/2008)
You can contact me by email