Dead Carp at Lake Mohave Make This Memorial Day Memorable for Wrong Reason
Lake Mohave is one of two large reservoirs at Lake Mead National Recreation Area. Memorial Day weekend is traditionally one of the busiest times of the year for the park, so you can't help but feel sympathy for businesses in the area. This year's holiday has an unwelcome wrinkle for visitors to Lake Mohave: dead carp.
The problem does not affect Lake Mead itself, but rather Lake Mohave, which is downstream of Hoover Dam. According to local news reports, thousands of dead carp are washing up on the shore of that lake.
The park website notes tactfully that "Visitors can expect an unpleasant odor in some areas," but advises that marinas are still open, tours will continue as usual and the water is safe for swimming. The situation is reportedly an issue primarily along some sections of shoreline, and the smell isn't having much effect on boaters out on the lake itself.
The cause of the die-off is not yet known, although a disease specific to carp is suspected. Samples of dead fish have been sent for testing. In the meantime, visitors are advised to avoid handling the dead fish as a precautionary measure.
Carp can grow to a hefty size. The current Arizona state record for a specimen caught by hook and line from Colorado River Waters (which includes Lake Mohave) weighed in at 42 pounds, and a carp 48 inches long was taken from Lake Mohave in 2007.
Although carp are reported to be "the number one sport fish in Europe," they've never really caught on as a prime target for most anglers in this country. The current situation is unlikely to do much to enhance their appeal, at least for those visiting Lake Mohave this weekend
If you'd like to visit the park in the immediate future, but prefer to spend your time at Lake Mead instead of Lake Mohave, you'll find information to help you plan a trip on the park website.