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in praise of carp

 
Josiah Maughan
Posts: 42
Location: wellsville, utah
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so, i have a group of friends, who go carp hunting with bows.
if you do any research as to carp in utah, you will find millions of pounds of carp are being removed from utah lake. they are generally thought of as a nuisance, and a trash fish.

everybody i've known who has shot carp uses these carp for one thing: to throw on to the side of the river/lake, or to throw back into the water for other fish to eat.
why is this "trash fish" there in the first place?
in the 1800's the government planted fish all over the west, as a food source for settlers! well, how did it come from an abundant food source, of which thomas Jefferson kept a pond of (as food) to a trash fish nobody likes, and is better thrown on the shore?

the simplest answer i've been able to come up with, is the world wars numbered one and two.  Germans eat carp. jews eat carp as a holiday dish too, in fact, all of europe practices catch and release with these animals.(or so i've heard) when we were at war with germany, to spite them, we simply threw the carp on the side of the bank. something that has become somthing of a tradition. the reason changing to "they're trash fish" another reason is because of how many bones are in the fish. it's a big, ugly, boney fish. it even grows bones un-attached to any other bones!

even i carry a stigma against these fish. i made up my mind though. last time we went shooting these things, i decided to find a use for them once and for all, and i saved about ten of them (we carried on our tradition of wasting the rest)  one i straight up cooked. it wasn't bad. half of it i boiled, the other half i fried.  another one i canned. when i opened it up a week later, the bones were edible (and nutritious) and the carp tasted like tuna fish you buy at a store. 

of course the sheer abundance of these animals is amazing. it would be impractical to can them. so i've devised another use.

chicken food.  i throw the fish to the chickens.  great source of protein.  again, an amazing amount of these fish. and they're not small fish either. so what do i do with them once they begin rotting? i throw them into a refrigerator. on a rack. the fridge has some holes punched in it for air, and once it is filled with maggots (or if there are already fish in there with maggots on them) i close the fridge, and let the maggots convert the fish to 1/2 bones, and 1/2 storable dried out dead fly chicken feed for the winter.


now, i haven't researched this. so far my chickens seem fine. i will soon mill the bones into dust, and feed it to the chickens for calcium.


if the fridge is full, i simply bury the rest in an unused part of my garden.
i feel like carp is the dandelion of the water.
soooo many uses, and yet, so disliked.

any thoughts? i realize that shooting these things for sport is kind of against the basic belief of most the people in here.  i wonder if what i use them for is jusitification enough for you? (of course, i don't mean vegetarians, who find even consuming an animal unjustifiable as a reason to kill it...)

keep in mind also this:  these fish are ruining america's waterways now. once they run out of food, they consume other fish species foods, choking off native species of fish (in utah anyway) using these fish, seems to me like a win win for everybody (except the carp)
 
Emil Spoerri
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Man, I envy you, I have never gone shooting for carp, but we always used to go fishing for them using wheaties as bait...

yeahp, tossed em up on shore

not that that is really wasteful haha
 
tel jetson
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Location: woodland, washington
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blot101 wrote:
keep in mind also this:   these fish are ruining america's waterways now. once they run out of food, they consume other fish species foods, choking off native species of fish (in utah anyway) using these fish, seems to me like a win win for everybody (except the carp)


doesn't sound that much like praise to me...

sounds like you're onto some pretty great ideas, though.  a lot of folks will put a fish under tomato plants or under a "three sisters" mound, too.  so you don't have to bury the excess in an unused part of the garden, put it in a used part.

I've also seen dried and powdered fish used in aerated compost tea.  I don't think using carp this way would account for very many fish, but it might be worth trying out.
 
Kirk Hutchison
Posts: 418
Location: Los Angeles, CA
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Seems like an ideal fertilizer! Harvest those ones you used to waste and bury them!
 
Ken Peavey
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I'm a big fan of composting.  What the chickens don't need I'd toss on the shore, then layer with leaves, then some dirt...
 
Emil Spoerri
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If there is a meat or fish merchant near you, they probably throw out a ton of fish, a place near me used to throw out a 55 gallon drum of fish guts and bones every week!

And this is fish from the sea! more minerals, more living vitality in there.
 
Josiah Maughan
Posts: 42
Location: wellsville, utah
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since they're so adaptable, i've thougt about keeping them in a catchment system, where i might throw them compost to munch on, so that the irrigation is that much better. since the state hates those fish, one wouldn't need a permit for this.

i imagine they would be great fertilizer. my biggest problem with burying them in a used part, is that after the plants have grown, is the time that is best for harvesting the fish. so early in the spring, they're harder to shoot.

another obsticle, is convincing my friends that i use them, and to save them. since it's such a big fish, there's no way in the world they'd walk the shores carrying them back to the truck. but on a boat it seems a little selfish not to throw it in a cooler or something.

drying them, then using them in compost tea.... could i throw a whole fish in there? i mean, dry it out, then just toss it in?

is dried fish just as safe as dried beef to eat? or more accurately, to save? it might be better to throw chickens just dried fish, as to shovel flies from a fridge.


the state governments hating carp is a good thing for us. that means there's no limit on catching them, there's no limit on how they can be harvested, and there (most importantly) no limit on how they can be used.

they reproduce very rapidly, and if they didn't, it would be ok anyway, because nobody fishes for them (usually) and nobody likes them in the waterways (except me... of course)  so there is always a ton of them everywhere...

who doesn't like carp?
 
Emerson White
Posts: 1206
Location: Alaska
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If you are going to keep them you might consider getting a few specimens of pure strain Koi (probably from Malaysia because you can't get pure fish in the US, which is unfortunate) that way you have beautiful fish that people will admire, and you might convince someone else to use them in a similar way. Pure strains will reliably produce attractive offspring.

There are a variety of fish that are unsalted and dried in the sun, I do not know how to do it safely though. I could see rotting the fish down in the fridge as being a truly horrible experience.
 
Kay Bee
Posts: 471
Location: Jackson County, OR (Zone 7)
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blot101 wrote:
so i've devised another use.

chicken food.   i throw the fish to the chickens.  great source of protein.  again, an amazing amount of these fish. and they're not small fish either.

I think this is a great way to provide high quality protein to the chickens.  I'm planning on incorporating carp, catfish and tilapia into our ponds and greenhouse tanks.  The ponds provide many benefits and storing protein in the form of fish that can easily handle cold water temps through the winter will be a great replacement for the protein that would come from insects during the warmer months.
 
Fred Morgan
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I used to always carry home carp to use in our garden. Why pay for fertilizer? Do as the native Americans did. Hunting carp with a bow was fun for sure.

Good idea using them for chicken food - wonder if it effects the flavor? I have heard feeding fish to pigs can adversely effect the flavor - but I don't know about that.

 
Josiah Maughan
Posts: 42
Location: wellsville, utah
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chicken meat for sure is effected by whether they eat feed, or bugs. so i'm sure it will affect the flavor to some degree. i wonder if it will be negative though...

or maybe a month or two before i slaughter them i'll have to give them a straight feed diet, just to see if that could solve the problem. though, i don't think it would have any effect on the flavor of the eggs.
 
gary koch
Posts: 8
Location: Bellingham (NW) WA
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Hey all,

I've eaten carp several times in Poland and it was delicious and not all that bony.  I prefer big bones in a fish than the size you have to delicately mush around your mouth to discover a sliver of bone.  At any rate, they are prized around the world as food.  In Poland, they are part of a traditional Chistmas meal, which is a very sumptuous affair.

People buy them ahead of time and keep them in fresh clean water to clean them out.  I had it breaded and fried.  Big meaty steaks and the bones were avoided by using a fork with wide stout tines.  It pulled the meat from the fish leaving the big strong bones attached to the spine.

I was considering tank raising them here in the PNW both for us to eat and for possible holiday sales to the local slavic communities.  I have a big Polish cookbook.  I'll look up the process of butchering and preparing if anyone would like it.
 
Joel Hollingsworth
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Location: Oakland, CA
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I bet you could make some excellent glue from them.

You could convert the fridge into a solar dehydrator, do a little butchering, and have fish jerky for your chickens (or do some pureeing and spread the slurry out to make fish roll-ups...). Converting to adult flies presumably uses up a lot of calories. The same dehydrator can be used to dry nettle or comfrey for the chickens in between times.

If you have too many to use all of them fresh, feed your chickens the heads. Omega-3 fatty acids are the most perishable, and by some accounts the most precious, nutrient in them; they're concentrated in the eyes, brains, and skin. Much of it will end up in the yolks.

Look up the body of water you're taking them from, with special attention to PCBs.
 
                                        
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gary koch wrote:
Hey all,

I've eaten carp several times in Poland and it was delicious and not all that bony.  I prefer big bones in a fish than the size you have to delicately mush around your mouth to discover a sliver of bone.  At any rate, they are prized around the world as food.  In Poland, they are part of a traditional Chistmas meal, which is a very sumptuous affair.

People buy them ahead of time and keep them in fresh clean water to clean them out.  I had it breaded and fried.  Big meaty steaks and the bones were avoided by using a fork with wide stout tines.  It pulled the meat from the fish leaving the big strong bones attached to the spine.

I was considering tank raising them here in the PNW both for us to eat and for possible holiday sales to the local slavic communities.  I have a big Polish cookbook.  I'll look up the process of butchering and preparing if anyone would like it.


Taste has always been the big issue for me. Carp love highly productive water which means lots of algae. They also root around in muddy bottoms so their flesh gets that nasty "old water and algae" flavor in the summer. If you can catch them and then keep them in a clean body of water (a good trick is to feed them corn meal) for a week or so that off taste should go. The other choice is to catch them early or late in the season and avoid them during the heat of summer.

A good buddy of mine says catch them while the water is cold. Fillet them, debone them (take out the big bones ribs, spine and such), put them in a salt water/7-up soak for 24 hours and then soak them in as cold water as you can get for another 24. Smoke them up  and he says they are DELICIOUS!! Poor man's delicacy!!

When I came out to Seattle back in the early 70s the only fish worth eating were trout, salmon, and halibut. I went down to Westport for a day of salmon fishing and came back with an ice chest filled with black rockfish that no on the boat wanted to be bothered cleaning and eating. I ate well that winter.

Carp will become a resource just like rockfish have. I would love any information you can get because carp have been big in Eastern Europe for a long time. Thanks.
 
Leila Rich
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Location: Wellington, New Zealand. Temperate, coastal, sandy, windy,
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We used to feed the chooks fish, but stopped as the eggs had a pronounced fish flavour afterward. Not good.
Don't remember any issues with the meat, but we weren't feeding them fish regularly.
Great in the compost though!
 
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