Rockford's Independent Newspaper

Peoria business turns invasive Asian carp into sport

The Center Square

PEORIA – A bow fishing business along the Illinois River is giving people a chance to hunt for invasive Asian carp.

Nathan Wallick, captain of Peoria Carp Hunters, takes customers on boat rides to hunt for the invasive Asian carp. The clients sit on the back of the boat and shoot the carp with arrows when they jump out of the water.

“It sounds hard, but when you have thousands of fish jumping all day, you actually get good at it,” Wallick said. “Most of your shots are anywhere from 1 foot to 10 feet, so you get close shots at them.”

Wallick said his business is mostly for fun.

“Whether you have never shot bows or shot them back in junior high or high school, it’s something fun for everybody,” Wallick said.

Wallick said there is some benefit to hunting the carp, which grow rapidly and crowd out native fish.

“Their ability to grow and reproduce faster than anything else in the river can eventually become a problem,” Wallick said.

Wallick said more and more people are becoming interested in bow fishing.

“Everybody is looking for something different,” Wallick said. “You look at the businesses that are popping up lately – all these outrageous entertainment businesses – because they see a niche there. People want something different and fun. This pretty much fills that void.”

Wallick said everyone who tries carp hunting has fun.

“Kids are catching them with nets while they jump out of the water, while the dad is sitting in the back and the mom is shooting with bows,” Wallick said. “It’s constant action, very little downtime in this ADD-age we live in now where everybody wants something happening now.”

Wallick works full-time as a firefighter and focuses on his carp-hunting business during the summer.

“The (carp) only jump from the early spring, end of May through September, first few weeks of October,” Wallick said. “Once the water cools off, they stop jumping.”

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