Why Do Carp Die After Spawning? The Myths and The Truth

Carp Spawning can be a complicated biological process. There are many myths about Carp dying after spawning. Therefore, it’s very crucial for anglers to understand the carp reproduction process as it plays a large part in successfully fishing for carp.

So, why do Carp die after spawning? Carp do not die after spawning as a result of the spawning process, but rather because they are more vulnerable to the elements after spawning. This makes them more likely to die after spawning from things like changes in water temperature or oxygen levels. 

Learn more facts about the Carp’s unique behavior during their reproduction season so you use this to your advantage in your next fishing adventure.

What Actually Happens to Carp After Spawning? 

carp swimming to answer why do carp die after spawning

When carp spawn the female will release a large number of eggs for fertilization by the male carp. The average number is around 300 000, although some can release more than a million. The male carp will release sperm called milt which fertilizes the eggs to begin the spawning process. 

Carps have two different spawning methods:

  1. The first method and the most common one is when the female carp would lay the eggs on the bottom or on top of aquatic plants then the Male carp would swim by and fertilize the eggs. Both male and female carp sometimes guard the fertilized eggs, however, that doesn’t happen very often. The eggs are sticky which is a reason why they stay connected to a plant or a rock, especially in rivers.
  1. The second method isn’t as common. The male carp fertilizes the eggs while they are still in the female carp by using his rear fin to push the sperm into the female carp. She then guards the eggs inside and gives live birth.

The Carp may injure themselves during spawning when the female carp are getting closer to the point of releasing their eggs, that is because the male carp tend to become more wild and violent then. That’s why it’s important to let the fish recover for about a week or two once the spawning season is over.

When Do Carps Spawn? 

The Carp spawning season greatly depends on climatic conditions. The development of carp eggs and sperm are directly affected by water temperature, the availability of food, and the amount of dissolved oxygen in the water

Carp can spawn early in the year during April or later in the year during august. The ideal temperature for spawning is usually between 15 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Carp also like to spawn when the level of water is rising.

They may as well spawn outside of the closed season times on some waters which can lead to the close season being extended until the carp have finished spawning.

How Can You Tell if Carp Are Spawning? 

You can easily tell if Carp are in the middle of their spawning season. There will be changes to their physiology as well as significant changes in their behavior.

Signs Carp are spawning include: 

  • Male carp will grow tubercles (white bumps over their heads and gill plates) 
  • Female carp ovipositors become large and distended. 
  • Several males will follow one female or one male and one female will be close together.
  • The male carp become quite aggressive and restless as the female gets nearer and nearer to the day on which she will release her eggs.
  • Spawning carp will also spend time in shallow waters, ranging from 30 to 120 centimeters deep, as well as weedy areas of the lake. This is because these areas are more suitable for laying eggs as they include aquatic vegetation and rock formations that can be used as shelves for fertilized eggs.
  • The most prominent change in their behavior is the fact that Carp will not be interested in feeding at all. They tend to put their energy in the spawning process, which is what makes catching them during the time of spawning a great challenge.

Why Do Carp Eat Their Own Spawn?

Carp sometimes eat their own spawn, which may seem strange but that is because carp populations are generally self-regulating which is a very common practice among many fish species. 

In waters where there’s plenty of adult carp, they self-regulate the future population by consuming the eggs or the newly hatched carp. The decrease in the number of adult carp enhances the chances for young carp to reach adulthood.

In some other cases, smaller fish might follow behind carp while they’re spawning to eat the eggs as they’re laid. That is the main reason why carp population remains relatively the same if there is no external influence.

Can You Still Catch Carp When Spawning?

Catching Carp when it’s their spawning season can be very difficult, maybe even impossible. While spawning, carp will not be interested in feeding or any bait you have to offer

You can try to present baits that might usually attract them but no matter what the carp will not bite. They still sometimes eat while spawning but that is not enough to actually catch them.

It’s definitely better if the anglers respect the natural process and allow the carp to spawn until they’re ready to start feeding again. Once they’ve finished spawning they will tend to go on a post-spawn feeding spree, and it will be relatively easier for anglers to catch them then.

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What Does The Hatching Process Look Like?

Carp eggs typically hatch from 48 to 72 hours after they are laid. In cold weather, the spawn takes a longer time to hatch. The Egg color can vary between orange, yellow, and amber. 

In the first days, the fry digests the yolk. At that point, they are up to 8 millimeters long. After hatching it consumes plankton. Then, they tend to spend some time in the shallow, protected from strong currents and predators that might eat them. Finally, they learn to swim and when they grow a little, they start moving around.

Related Questions 

How long does carp spawning last? 

Spawning can last a few days or it can be on and off for 1-2 weeks. The time in which carp spawns varies depending on the changes in the water temperature.The ideal temperature for spawning is above 18 degrees Celsius. If the water temperature remains consistent,

Is it legal to fish for Carp during their spawn season?

It is legal in some countries, as there are no regulations that would stop anglers from fishing for carp during spawning. While other countries have strictly defined periods during which spawning carp are protected. Every angler is advised to check the local law before going fishing.

Why do carp jump out of the water? 

There are two main reasons Carp jump out of water. The first is an anatomical reason, to force air out of the swim bladder through their esophagus which allows them to change depths when they re-enter the water. The second reason is hygienic, to clean out their gills from debris or parasites.

What temperature do carp stop feeding? 

Carp stop feeding in water temperatures below 39 degrees Fahrenheit, as their metabolism slows down and with that so do their feeding habits. Carps will also stop feeding in water temperatures above 64 degrees Fahrenheit, due to the water being too hot and not being able to hold as much oxygen.

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Helpful Resources 

What happens When Carp Spawn?

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