The Travels of Tug 44

Common Carp

Around May 21st 2019, we were cruising along a section of old abandoned canal and heard a lot of splashing. A huge amount of thrashing was going on and we knew the Common Carp were spawning.   high-res

The event lasted around a week, and there were literally hundreds of 3-foot long Carp thrashing around in the 6 inch deep swampy waters.   high-res

Hundreds of Common Carp had left the modern Champlain Canal where they live, and made their way up a series of drainage ditches thru the woods to the swamps of the old abandoned canal. They were likely triggered by heavy recent rainfall and they had no problem getting to the swamp, where their eggs and young could stick to swamp reeds and be safe from predators.   high-res

Each female is capable of laying 300,000 eggs each time, and some years they spawn several times, making a total of a million eggs per female each year. As the population remains relatively stable that also means the eggs and fry perish in simmilar numbers and provide food for all the other critters in the swamp.   high-res

As they spawn, they attempt to get up into the shallowest waters with the thickest weeds, and they splash furiously to drive the eggs farther into the weeds.   high-res

The spawning adults were mostly about 3 feet long, but some are half that. And the thrashing continued on for a week as more individuals arrived.   high-res

At this location, it appeared all the Carp managed to return to their Champlain Canal home. We spotted no trapped or dead ones, though there have been cases when Carp went up farm ditches and spawned in flooded hay fields, and all died.   high-res

And after that week, everything returned to normal. Billions of eggs were left stuffed into the reeds which hatched a day or two later, beginning the next generation.   high-res

The huge Common Carp, an unexpected sight in the shallow swampy canal.

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