Big Bear Lake’s ecosystem is much improved, now that 2,650 pounds of carp have been removed—this, thanks to this weekend’s sixth annual Carp Round-Up, hosted by the Municipal Water District. According to the MWD’s Lake Manager Mike Stephenson, “Carp are our #1 ecosystem destruction tool in Big Bear Lake.” In addition to causing more algae in the lake, the invasive carp also eat trout and bass eggs, among other things. Though the 2,650 pounds of carp taken from the lake is a substantial catch, Stephenson adds, “It is probably 25% of our lowest total ever, because of the weather, so the fish went deep and it’s hard to see the carp in the water.” In years past, the rounded-up carp have been taken to the Moonridge Animal Park to be used as food for the animals—though this is no longer the case, ever since a coyote ingested a carp that had eaten glass. Instead, the carp will be disposed of using Stephenson’s self-crafted “carp-o-matic.” The fishermen who brought in the carp were rewarded for their efforts, as MWD once again offered top cash prizes of $1,000 to both the top boat and shoreline teams; second place teams won $500, and $300 went to the third place duos. Winners in the round-up were shoreline teams Jake Ashbaugh and Darick Roney of Riverside in first, locals James Medlock and Daniel Zaragoza in second, and Long Beach duo Tony Dimicelli and Jim Carey in third; and first place boat team from Fresno, Bryan Foote and Scott Taglione (who took second last year), and two Arizona teams, Dell Owens and Dean Linne and Jimmy Ridge and Scott Darnell. Big fish of the day reeled in $200 apiece for Jim Carey, with an 8.12 pound catch, and Orange County’s Cameron Nizdil with a 9.1 pound carp.
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