State wildlife officials don't want that to happen in Oklahoma and are proposing a new fishing regulation that would prevent anglers from taking live bait fish from one lake or river to another.
It's common for anglers and fishing guides to capture live baitfish, such as shad, at one location and transport them to another lake and use them as bait.
State wildlife officials fear juvenile bighead or silver carp also could get caught along with the baitfish, and anglers might unknowingly put them into new lake or river.
“It takes one net full of shad below Denison (Dam) and taking them up to Texoma, and you might have introduced them right there,” Tackett said.
Lakes such as Sooner and Skiatook have small populations of shad, and anglers there often catch their baitfish at another body of water, Tackett said.
The bighead and silver carp invasion in Oklahoma waters seems isolated for now, Tackett said.
“But in some our surveys, we were finding males and females of both species and the females were full of eggs,” Tackett said. “Are they reproducing (in Oklahoma)? We haven't done enough surveys to find that out, but it's definitely a possibility.”
Tackett said it's very difficult to keep the Asian carps out of Oklahoma waters.
“Once you get them, you are stuck with managing them,” he said. “It's really a hard issue to tackle, but this (the proposed regulation) is our best shot at it for now.”
And Tackett has seen firsthand the jumping ability of the silver carp during an electrofishing survey on the Kiamichi River last summer.
“We actually had two silver carp jump in the boat,” he said.