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Fishermen battling carp problem in Utah Lake

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Posted at 9:29 PM, Jun 06, 2013
and last updated 2013-06-06 23:29:13-04

PROVO, Utah - Fishermen say Utah Lake has a bad reputation thanks to millions of carp that have destroyed the lake's ecosystem.

But some fishermen are working to get the carp back out of the lake. They come out almost every day and collect thousands of pounds of fish a day.

"We probably caught two to three tons in this haul, which is an average haul. We will fish for four more hauls like this today and hope for the best," said fisherman Cody Loy.

Lay says the fishermen usually start about half a mile from the shore and lay out nets that are typically between 200 and 600 yards, then pull the carp towards the shore.

Utah Lake is home to the June sucker, but they've become endangered as carp come in, uprooting the lake's vegetation and destroying much of its habitat.

"Utah Lake is carp paradise. It's warm, it's shallow. It's very productive and carp have really taken off here at Utah Lake," said Michael Mills, coordinator for the June sucker recovery implementation.

Mills says the only way to revitalize the June sucker population is to get rid of all the carp.

"If we want to make a meaningful change in water quality and fish population and June sucker recovery, we have to do something about the carp population," he said.

Fishermen say it will take years to rehabilitate Utah Lake. Between 80 and 90 percent of the fish are carp. They pull out five million pounds of carp each year, but it's still not enough to get rid of them.

Bill Loy with Loy Fisheries and his crew started removing the fish back in 2009. Since then, they've removed 11 million pounds, which has improved the water.

"I've talked to a lot of people around the lake who are here all the time, they say they notice the water quality is better and the visibility," Bill Loy said.