Live carp were kept in holding pens and fed corn, then sold when market conditions were favorable. Shipped live—sometimes 30,000 pounds at a time—by truck and railroad to fish markets in Chicago, Memphis, St. Louis, Philadelphia, and New York, carp ended up on restaurant plates baked or fried.
Small carp under three pounds became animal feed at fish hatcheries and fur farms, or were plowed into farm fields as fertilizer.
Know More about gefillte fish
New York fish dealers were major buyers of Wisconsin carp. Ashkenazi Jewish communities in eastern cities such as New York ate gefillte fish, often made from carp. Fish Camp shipped many tons of Kegonsa and Waubesa carp for gefellte fish, a poached ball or patty made of deboned and ground fish. Other important markets are shown on the map below. [Map shows McFarland Fish Camp, with arrows to the north and west labeled "restaurants, families (fresh), fish hatcheries (canned), furbearer farms (feed), farms (fertilizer)"; an arrow to the southwest labeled "Omaha (fresh fish), Iowa (recreational fishing)"; an arrow to the south labeled "Illinois (recreational fishing)"; and an arrow to the southeast labeled "Chicago, Louisville, New York (fresh fish)"]
[Caption for lower left photo:] By 1957, carp and other non-game fish could be unloaded into Fish Camp's holding pond more efficiently. No longer did fish have to be hand-netted onto a wooden slide.
[Caption for second photo from left on bottom:] Workers fed corn (stored in the Corn House) to carp in the holding ponds. Ponds were enclosed by boards driven into the bottom of the river.
[Caption for third photo from left on bottom:] A loading tower at Fish Camp speeded up carp shipments, as shown here in 1959. Though McFarland carp were marketed nationally, Fish Camp also sold to local buyers.
[Caption for fourth photo from left on bottom:] The recipe for canning carp was 150 gallons of fiah and 60 pounds of flour, heated to 180 degrees. The first cannery was at Nevin Fish Hatchery in Madison.
[Caption for lower right photo:] An Illinois company loads carp in 1959. Carp from Madison lakes were sold to small buyers in southern Wisconsin and neighboring states.
All photos courtesy of Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.