Common carp (Cyprinus carpio), Lake Powell. Photo: Leonard G., Creative Commons License.

Common carp (Cyprinus carpio), Lake Powell. Photo:  Leonard G., Creative Commons License.

Common carp 
Cyprinus carpio
  • Triangular head.
  • Olive green to gold on back, yellow on belly.
  • “Barbels” (look like whiskers) on sides of mouth.
  • Long dorsal (back) fin.
  • Grow to over three feet in length in Pyramid Lake (Rivers 1994).

Record Observations
Species Description:

“Carp are widely distributed, and in suitable places they reach a large size. At present they are of no economic importance and are generally regarded as a nuisance.” -John Otterbein Snyder, 1917

Carp are fast-growing, may live 20 years or more, and were introduced to the United States from Asia for use as a food fish.  In the Great Basin, they were introduced between 1878 and 1905 (Sigler & Sigler 1987).  Carp in many parts of the US take on a muddy flavor, possibly due to a bacteria that they consume, and in most areas never became popular as a food item.  They compete with native fish for food, and also are destructive to habitat because they root around in shallow areas and stir up silt, decreasing sunlight availability for plant growth (Sigler & Sigler 1987; Moyle 2002).  Carp feed mostly on aquatic insects, but also consume algae, young carp, seeds, aquatic plants and other items.  They spawn between May and August, laying approximately 500-600 eggs at a time and racing and splashing around loudly (Sigler & Sigler 1987).   A female carp may lay as many as 2,000,000 eggs in a season.

Photos & Information needed!

Do you have an original photograph of common carp from the Truckee River?  If so, please contribute photos and observations here!



Moyle, P. B. (2002). Inland fishes of California. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Rivers, I. L. (1994). Fishes and fisheries of Nevada. Reno: University of Nevada Press.

Sigler, W. F., & Sigler, J. W. (1987). Fishes of the Great Basin: A natural history. Reno: University of Nevada Press.

Snyder, John O. 1917. The Fishes of the Lahontan System of Nevada and Northeastern California. Bulletin of the Bureau of Fisheries, Volume XXXV, 1915-16. Document No. 843, September 28, 1917.


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