Gretchen Steele … Queen of the Carp

Meet outdoor photographer and freelance writer Gretchen Steele, of Illinois, our “fish babe” for March 2011. Gretchen is a carp-crazed angler, desiring to rid the world of this pesky vermin of the water. Writes Gretchen, “It’s hard to get a traditional ‘trophy fish’ image with the carp, given their size, and the fact that they have the most horrific, thick slime covering.”

A good day catching carp. Gretchen Steele. Submitted photo.

She continues, “Lest anyone think we were ‘over fishing’ … the carp are such an invasive and destructive species that the more you can haul out, the better. … The up side is that they are great food source, and one day (like the one shown) can keep you in fish for a year. When it’s smoked or pressure canned in some herbs and oil … it’s yummy stuff. They also make great fertilizer and often, when we have quite literally tons of the darn things, we will donate tubs full to wildlife rehabbers who are able to use them as food for the wildlife.”

This spring, you might see Gretchen fly fishing for carp. She says, “That ought to be a riot … Let’s see, I’ve harvested carp with any all variety of lines and poles and set ups, nets, pitchforks, gigs, sling shot, bow and arrow, and by hand. Now it doesn’t get much more versatile than that!”

Follow Gretchen’s many adventures outdoors at her blog here. Check out her photos here.




  1. Does Gretchen catch these with a rod and reel, or bow and arrow like Christine does?

  2. Hi Chris! Nice to see you popping over to visit WOMA 🙂
    The ones in the picture I caught by hand in a slough that was drying up.. I probably get more with the bow and the slingshot than any other method. Rod and reel on occasion, and gigging when the backwater runs up into the fields. You know me… if there’s carp in there I want ’em out LOL

  3. I want to catch some carp and have to figure out where to go since we don’t have them in Tucson (duh…) I didn’t realize they were a “problem fish” but now that I know I’ll try to figure out a way to help lower the population (and feed raptors at the same time.) We are going hog hunting this year to a friend’s ranch in TX that has a huge problem with feral pigs. Never thought of feral pigs and carp as “problems” so thanks for th education…

  4. I wonder, Gretchen, will we see you on the cover of Fly Fisherman? Somehow, I doubt it … not the subject, but the catch of the day doesn’t quite fit the image, does it?

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