The Department of Natural Resources is warning that the threat of Asian carp getting into the Great Lakes is getting higher as these fish get closer to our borders.
But they say that northern Michigan fisherman can play a big part in helping to keep them out.
Next time you reach for your minnow to catch that prize fish, the DNR is asking that you give it a good look to make sure it isn't;t one of a juvenile Silver or Bighead Carp.
They say the way to tell the difference between a good minnow and an Asian carp is by it's mouth, eyes and scales. The mouth on an Asian carp looks they they're frowning, and their eyes are much larger and set on the midline of their body, or below.
"Since they're so good at feeding and competing with other species they can out compete our typical native species," said Todd Kalish, from the DNR.
Bait shops like the one at Pilgrim Village have placed stickers on their buckets in the past to remind anglers of what not to do with their excess fish.
"They ask when you're done, 'Can we come in and bring them back to you?'," said Harrison Krantz, of the Pilgrim Village Bait Shop. "And we always tell them no, you have to dump them but not in the water. You want to get them in a garbage, in trash, anything you can do. We don't like to see the minnows die but we do not want them back in our water."
Russell Hirdes, director of a big fishing tournament going on in Cadillac Saturday says they do their own part to stay proactive, while encouraging the participants to clean their boats off before heading to another body of water.
The DNR said many bait fish come in from local Michigan waters, but that some may also come from neighboring states like Indiana and Illinois where Asian carp have already been spotted.
If fishermen do come across a bait fish that looks odd or different from the rest, the DNR asks that you take a picture of it, freeze it, and call them so they can come look at it.