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Silver Carp Species Breakdown

Scientific Name: Hypophthalmichthys molitrix

Silver carp being held out of water

Silver carp are members of the minnow family. They are very skittish and are known to jump up to 9ft out of the water if startled. They are herbivores that love eating weeds. Because of this they are often used in aquaculture.

How to Identify a Silver Carp

Silver carp are thick-bodied with a wide head. Their eyes are lower on their body and their lower jaw is toothless. Their body is silver with a gray head and dorsal surface. Their belly is white from their throat to tail.

Silver Carp Size

Silver carp can grow up to 80 lbs but hey are more commonly caught around 20 lbs.

Silver Carp Size Chart – Length to Weight Conversion

15″4 lbs
18″5 lbs
20″6 lbs
22″7 lbs
24″8 lbs
26″10 lbs
28″12 lbs
30″15 lbs
32″18 lbs
34″21 lbs
36″26 lbs
38″30 lbs
40″35 lbs

View World & State Silver Carp Records

Where Silver Carp Are Found

Map showing where silver carp are found within the united states
Map provided by the U.S. Geological Survey

Silver carp are native to China and Siberia. They were introduced to the United States in the 1970s for weed control and aquaculture purposes. They now can be found in many states stretching from Louisiana to North Dakota.

Silver carp prefer the standing water of rivers, canals and lakes. They can tolerate water temperatures from 43 to 82° Fahrenheit.

Lifespan of a Silver Carp

Silver carp can live up to 15-20 years old. They reach full maturity in 2 to 4 years. You can tell the general age of Silver carp by referring to the table below.

Silver Carp Age Chart

1 Year Old7 – 8 inches
2 Years Old8 – 12 inches
3 Years Old12 – 14 inches
4 Years Old14 – 17 inches
5 Years Old17 – 19 inches
6 Years Old19 – 22 inches
7 Years Old22 – 25 inches
8 Years Old25 – 27 inches
9 Years Old27 – 29 inches
10 Years Old29 – 30 inches
11 Years Old29 – 31 inches
12 Years Old31 – 33 inches
13 Years Old33 – 35 inches
14 Years Old35 – 38 inches
15 Years Old38 – 40 inches

Fishing for Silver Carp

Are silver carp hard to catch?

Silver carp aren’t the easiest fish to catch. They are quite skittish and will spit out anything that gives much resistance, like a tight fishing line. It is best to use slight slack until they fully bite your bait.

What size hook do you use for silver carp?

The best hook to use for carp fishing is a 4/0 circle hook.

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What type of bait to use for silver carp?

My favorite bait when fishing for silver carp is canned corn. I put as many kernels that can fit on a 4/0 circle hook and let it sit on bottom until I feel a bite.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are silver carp good to eat?

Silver carp are better tasting than most would expect. Due to their vegetarian diet they have a light flavoring with a white tender texture.

Are silver carp invasive species?

Silver carp are an invasive species. They are native to Asia, and were introduced to the US to control plant growth in aquaculture ponds. After being imported they quickly spread the country and can now be found in most parts of the US.

What do silver carp eat?

Silver carp eat soft submerged vegetation including hydrilla, elodea, bladderwort, coontail, milfoil, pondweeds, and nitella.

They avoid woody or hard stemmed plants such as cattails and lillypads.