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Dead Carp at Lake Mohave Make This Memorial Day Memorable for Wrong Reason

Lake Mohave.

Lake Mohave. Photo by tclarkcreations via Flickr.

Lake Mohave is one of two large reservoirs at Lake Mead National Recreation Area. Memorial Day weekend is traditionally one of the busiest times of the year for the park, so you can't help but feel sympathy for businesses in the area. This year's holiday has an unwelcome wrinkle for visitors to Lake Mohave: dead carp.

The problem does not affect Lake Mead itself, but rather Lake Mohave, which is downstream of Hoover Dam. According to local news reports, thousands of dead carp are washing up on the shore of that lake.

The park website notes tactfully that "Visitors can expect an unpleasant odor in some areas," but advises that marinas are still open, tours will continue as usual and the water is safe for swimming. The situation is reportedly an issue primarily along some sections of shoreline, and the smell isn't having much effect on boaters out on the lake itself.

The cause of the die-off is not yet known, although a disease specific to carp is suspected. Samples of dead fish have been sent for testing. In the meantime, visitors are advised to avoid handling the dead fish as a precautionary measure.

Carp can grow to a hefty size. The current Arizona state record for a specimen caught by hook and line from Colorado River Waters (which includes Lake Mohave) weighed in at 42 pounds, and a carp 48 inches long was taken from Lake Mohave in 2007.

Although carp are reported to be "the number one sport fish in Europe," they've never really caught on as a prime target for most anglers in this country. The current situation is unlikely to do much to enhance their appeal, at least for those visiting Lake Mohave this weekend

If you'd like to visit the park in the immediate future, but prefer to spend your time at Lake Mead instead of Lake Mohave, you'll find information to help you plan a trip on the park website.


We camped at the lake since the 19th and pick up about a half docen dead fish from my spot along the lake, more than unpleasant it was a sad thing to see.

We went fishing on the lake yesterday, May 27 and it was a shock! We live here and hadn't heard anything about this problem. Just riding in our boat to the powerlines, we saw over 100 dead fish floating on top. When we beached our boat on a strip about 40 feet, we found 14 dead carp. When we left..which didn't take long, we sat in our boat and watched as vultures hovered overhead. They landed on the same beach...walked around the dead fish and then flew away without touching the fish. How bad can this be if a vulture says no thanks? The hawks did the same thing.
I've seen salmon runs and the death of the salmon after spawning..slow rotting bodies swimming until they die. That is exactly what this reminded me of. We stopped at another beach and there were two carp swimming in the shallows. I walked up to them and they didn't move. I could see parts of the fins rotting and white spots on the bodies..that too was rotting flesh.
What is going on???
As a resident here, why didn't we know?

We rented a houseboat this weekend from Forever Resorts in Cottonwood Cove. It isn't cheap, and NO ONE informed us of the dead fish in the lake. Yes, there were hundreds and we had a hard time even finding a cove without at least 50 dead fish. We still swam and tried to make the best of it,but it was still gross and felt they should have informed us. One of the workers also said " we aren't supposed to mention anything about the carp." I was wondering why they were so nice to give us 1/2 off our jet ski. Still, $2,000 for three days for a vacation with hundreds of dead fish and the smell is really upsetting.


I went to Mohave last year and saw the big giant carp dead on the beach and thought it was strange as carps can live up to 20 years or more. This year I go to Mohave and 100's of dead fish all over their beaches yet they all are coming into the shores hanging around till they die. I also saw a lot of carp with huge tumors on their bodies. It is so gross and there has to be something seriously wrong. Carp can live for years and years and out live other fish and I thought it was really strange seeing this. The water has to be polluted with some type of bacteria. I'm sure E coli is one of them. That is dangerous. They should close Mohave till it is resolved. Upper Lake Mead the carp are all healthly and lots of them but Mohave it's a big concern. Searchlight is a mining town and the filings can be coming down from water run off into the lake. Mining brings up dangerous toxins and can get into the water system and become a major health hazard. I also noticed they were redoing their water treatment and sewer down at Mohave as well. Sewage can cause a major disturbance. 6 mile cove every weekend is trashed and trash left everywhere and feeces all over the ground, outside their public restrooms feeces on the ground and around their toilets (people don't use the toilet) dirty feeces toilet paper blowing everywhere in the air, dirty poop filled diapers on the beach and in the water. The visitors just dump their trash right on the beach and poop right on the ground where everyone walks, eats, swims and it is no lie. It is a huge health hazard and the health department should step in. If the feeces get into the water E coli is a concern. I don't see the park service giving anyone fines and it is a $2,000 fine to litter in a national park. They should enforce the law to get these people to quit ruining our beaches and making them respect the land and take care of our lands. 6 mile cove is just disgusting like being at a huge garbage dump on a weekend where seagulls fly down and crows fly down to find leftovers on the beach. How could people crowd up on a small beach with a big trash dumpster in the middle, cars on top of each other as they camp out and dump everything right on the ground. They poop where they eat and all that gets into our lake water. That is not civilized living by far. It's like a 3rd world country going into super poverty 4th world county down there. It used to be such a beautiful place to camp, fish, sail, etc and it is ruined by people who are not originally from the US are so lazy trash dumping, breaking glass, pooping on the beach, throwing dirty diapers in the lake, etc. It is just gross!

We spent 2 days there this week end which we cut out one day duw to the awful smells. I would recommend looking for a better place to boat, camp, fish, or anything until the issue is resolved.

Hi to all. For the most part my girlfriend and I love the lake,we live in the las vegas are and fish the north shore.This past weekend we decided to take a trip to lake mohave and were sicken with what we seen,I'm from New York and i'm use to dirty beaches...but i didn't move here for that I love nevada and all it has to offer but I don't appriciate the disrespect from our fellow beach patrons. I mean clean up your trash guys your mothers don't live there and aren't going to do it for you this just makes us all look bad to the tourist who vist us each year .I was told as a child that when my friends came over to make sure they didn't destroy my stuff because it's all I had,and when they went home they would have nice things and I would be stuck with junk.I guess what i'm trying to say is protect and take care of were we live it's all we have and when it's gone we'll all complain. We are not kids guys,shape up or ship out !

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