"We want people to know what Asian carp look like, so if they see something that looks like one, they can let us know," O'Bara said.
"We've even put a QR [code] on them that folks can hold their smartphones up to and get connected to a website where they can make their reports. They could also call us, or they could go to the DNR website, www.wvdnr.gov, and click on the Asian carp page. We'll have a form with a draw-down menu so they can tell us where they saw the carp."
Hook-and-line catches of Asian carp will be rare. Because the species feed on plankton, they're almost never hooked. Most catches occur when carp collide with lures or baited hooks and become snagged.
"If someone catches an Asian carp, or finds one dead, we'd like to know about it," O'Bara said. "Pictures are good; dead bodies are better."
Adults of both Asian species are fairly easy to identify because their eyes are located low on their heads. Young carp are much more difficult to identify - and because of that, O'Bara believes fishermen might unknowingly help hasten the species' spread.
"The young of both bighead and silver carp aren't easy to distinguish from gizzard shad and skipjack herring, which anglers often catch and use for bait. Because of that, we're asking anglers not to catch bait in one area and take it someplace else," he said.
"We're asking anglers to either use up all the bait they have or to discard it when they're finished fishing, but never to move it from one place to another."
Crews from West Virginia and Kentucky plan to survey the Greenup Pool extensively this year to try to determine how prevalent bighead carp have become, and whether silver carp are becoming established as well.
"If it's early in the invasion, maybe we can try to slow them down, if not stop them," O'Bara said. "If and when they come, our concern here in West Virginia is to try to at least manage them and perhaps try to control their numbers. We don't want to get into a situation where they make up a large part of the river's biomass."
Reach John McCoy at johnmc...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1231.