WILLIS, Texas — If you’ve never fished for carp before, take this opportunity to help a fishery and have some fun, July 9 on Lake Conroe. If you have fished for carp before, you know how fun it is and don’t need any convincing to participate!
Texas Parks and Wildlife Division (TPWD) and the Texas B.A.S.S. Federation Nation are co-sponsoring a grass carp tournament on Lake Conroe, July 9, launching from Stow A Way Marina in Willis, Texas. Lake Conroe has been a poster child for invasive species disruption. It is known for decades of problems with grass carp, hydrilla and lack of native vegetation.
In the late 1970s, more than 9,000 acres of invasive hydrilla led to the stocking of 270,000 grass carp as a management tool to reduce the hydrilla. Eventual regrowth of more than 1,200 acres of native plants helped bring back the bass fishery that Conroe was known for. But in 2005, anglers saw a re-emergence of hydrilla and the return of grass carp. Nearly 130,000 carp were stocked between 2006 and 2008 in an attempt to get rid of more than 2,000 acres of hydrilla. The grass carp once again decimated the 1,200 acres of native vegetation down to 150 acres.
TPWD, with assistance from the Texas B.A.S.S. Federation Nation and Seven Coves Bass Club, has been transplanting new stands of native plants for the past three years. However, the remaining numbers of grass carp have kept the starter colonies of plants from expanding outside of their protective cages, resulting in a lack of regrowth into the lake.
TPWD has granted a permit for this controlled grass carp removal tournament with the intent of reducing current carp numbers to a level that will allow the native plants to once again flourish. Some volunteers are willing to replant the lake with more healthy native aquatic plants, but anglers must help reduce carp numbers.
TPWD, Texas BFN and Seven Coves request your participation in next month’s tournament. Instead of fishing for bass that day, try your hand at fishing for carp — and, in turn, benefiting the bass. To learn more or to register, visit www.sevencovesbassclub.com.