The Kentucky Fish & Wildlife Commission will meet Friday morning to consider whether to allow weekend commercial fishing of Asian carp on Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley, and the Lyon County judge executive is making a push for its approval.
Commercial fishing of Asian carp on the two lakes is currently only allowed on weekdays during summer months, April to September, because of past concern that recreational boats might get caught in fishing nets.
“We were trying to minimize the potential of boaters having clashes with nets or get their boats caught in nets,” State Fisheries Director Ron Brooks said. “Recently, with the Asian carp issue becoming more fever-pitch with the public, the commission was asked to open [Asian carp fishing] up to seven days a week.”
Brooks said most of the comments received by the commission on Thursday have been positive, many of the comments gathered by Lyon County Judge Executive Wade White.
White, through his organization“War On Carp,” gathered comments from the public to send to the commission.
White said he’s received more than 200 emails in support of allowing weekend fishing. He said support has come from judge executives in Ballard County and Calloway County, and fishing organizations like Fishing League Worldwide.
He said weekend fishing is needed to control the growing asian carp population that’s hurting local prize fish in the two lakes.
“It’s to the point to where we’re losing tourism, we’re losing tournaments,” White said. “It’s really going to start affecting all of us in negative ways if we don’t get this under control.”
He said more reflective buoys on fishing nets can be used to prevent recreational boats getting caught in the future.
One local fishing guide is worried that despite extra commercial fishing efforts, Asian carp won’t be completely eliminated from the two lakes because profit made off of the invasive species.
“I’m concerned that once they see the money that’s being made, that they’re going to continue to have asian carp and not try to continue to eradicate them out of the lake,” Eric Ashley, owner of Lucky Lady Guide Service, said. “I hope I’m wrong, because I do believe they’ve had a negative effect on the fisheries.”
Some regional businesses, like Two Rivers Fisheries, have specialized in making food products from Asian carp.
The commission meets Friday morning at 8:30 a.m. eastern standard time in Frankfort.