Wild Carp or King Carp

Wild Carp or King Carp?

What are the differences between wild carp and king carp? Where can you find the true wild fish?

Genetically there is in fact very little difference between wild carp and king carp. Stemming from the River Danube carp were transported around the world originally by the Romans. Over the years they have been selectively bred to grow faster and bigger firstly because they were an important food source and more recently for us to fish for.

Telling the difference between true wild carp and skinny commons is very difficult particularly as there is nothing to stop them breeding together. Wild carp generally have longer barbules a long dorsal fin and a large head. The body is almost chub-like in shape if the fish grow to bigger than about ten pounds then the chances are they are not true wild carp.

You definitely should try cooking with carp.  There are many great fish recipes online but do try not to smother your carp in sauce the first time you cook with it.  You can only make recipe decisions once you know the true taste of your fish.

Carp really became widespread in the British Isles as a food fish brought to this country from mainland Europe in the Middle Ages. So to find true wild carp now you should look for ancient ponds that have not been stocked with king carp. Estate lakes are your best bet for true wild carp although as more venues become stocked with king carp finding true wild carp will not be an easy task.

You can see the differences here between the wild carp (the smaller fish) and the king carp (background). The wild carp has a larger tail for its size and has an altogether leaner and longer body.