The mirror carp or Cyprinus carpio carpio is one of the many variations of common carp. It’s a freshwater species and it has a similar appearance and care requirements as the traditional carp.
It, however, is distinct in its irregular and patchy scales that look like they’re mirrors. If you check out several carp drawings or pictures, you’ll see that the mirror carp has evolved through the years, largely due to the environment.
The coloration can change, depending on what’s around them. When there’s an abundant supply of green algae in the water, this carp will also turn green. Myriads of anglers often mistake mirror carp for buffalo fish.
What You Need to Know About Mirror Carp
In this article, we’ll look more closely into the species, particularly what is a mirror carp and other interesting things about the fully scaled mirror carp.
Mirror Carp Genetics
The genome sequence of the mirror carp only varies approximately 2 percent to the DNA of the common carp, which means they are mostly the same. These species of fish, as they’re closely related, can interbreed. This makes it much harder for anglers and researchers to determine their exact population in a given area.
In some countries where they’re introduced in waters as ornamental fish, it was regarded as ‘escaped’ common carp. It was only until marine biologists conducted genetic tests on mirror carp that the species was confirmed to be distinct.
When mirror carp becomes an established species in an area, the fish can potentially hybridize with local common carp then create an entirely different species of invasive fish.
It’s incredibly important to keep a close eye on sightings of mirror and other species of carp in your area as they may likely need to be eradicated.
Mirror carp are largely found in European waters. As mentioned earlier, they got their name from their scales which resemble mirrors. As they are herbivores, they mostly eat plants and they mainly feed on the bottom parts of rivers and lakes.
But, they also feed on insects and crustaceans. They have sucker mouths that help them grip onto objects suspended to the bottom of a waterway.
Mirror carp have a barbel they use in tearing food sources into smaller pieces. Depending on the stage of their life cycle, this species can also feed on:
- Fruit and vegetables
- Small fish
Spawning Behavior and Habitat
Freshwater carp, mirror carp prefer rivers, ponds, and lakes that have slow-moving waters and vegetation.
They’re natives of Eastern Europe; however, they were introduced in waters across the globe as ornamental fish during the 70s and 80s. As they reproduce rather easily, they’ve become naturalized and common in some countries, including Great Britain.
Just like the common carp, it’s known to spawn in spring, usually between the months of March and May. Unlike other species of fish, they don’t build nests. Instead, they release their eggs into flowing water.
The eggs take about 3 to 6 days to hatch. The offspring typically remain close to the parents for a couple of weeks.
How to Catch Mirror Carp
Mirror carp can be caught using the same exact fishing gear used by anglers for catching common carp.
Although they’re quite challenging to fish, they’re most definitely worth the time and effort for anglers who are fond of carp angling.
Rigs and tackle you can use for catching mirror carp are the following:
- Hair Rig: It’s a special kind of fishing tackle that makes use of soft bait e.g. corn or bread to attract carp. Bait is added to a hook with a hair-like loop to ensure it doesn’t get loose when fish bites down on it.
- Bait Boat: It’s a floating device for holding bait by the river bank or side of a lake. It lets you cast while you’re on dry land.
- Carp Rod: This long rod has a short top section that’s referred to as a waggler pole. A waggler is specifically designed to hold bait at a certain depth of water and stop the bait from getting entangled in weeds and debris at the bottom of a lake or river.
- Waggler Float: It’s attached to a fishing line between the hook and the length of the line. It’s designed to act like a bobber underwater. This means you’ll be able to feel whenever a carp starts nibbling your bait without taking the bait off.
Types of Bait to Use for Mirror Carp Fishing
Mirror carp and other carp species are aggressive. They often eat whatever you throw into the water.
However, the most effective ones are as follows:
- Corn kernels
- Bread (whole loaf or crumbs)
- Hook-shaped bread pellets e.g. corn, puffed rice, and puffed wheat
- Live or dead crayfish
- Live or dead worms
- Pieces of cheese
Anglers also had a lot of success with bait-flavoring products like sweetcorn oil, boilies, and carp attractant. You can also use them if you need help increasing your catch rate.
The mirror carp, just like the common carp, are non-native species in most parts of the US. They are invasive species, which means they eat food native fish species only rely on and impact their populations negatively; introduce diseases into the waterways, which can kill other species of fish and/or make other species susceptible to fatal diseases; and damage habitats as they uproot plants underwater and stir up sediment.
Mirror carp can be distinguished by their silvery green coloration, as well as their large reflective scales. They are favorite targets of anglers as they fight hard whenever they’re hooked. Additionally, you can eat them! They taste similar to the common carp.
They can also be cooked in various ways such as baking, frying, and barbecuing. There are those that like smoking fish. Let us know what you like by commenting below!