Identifying how temporal variation in the environment affects reproductive success of invasive alien species will aid in predicting future establishment and tracking dynamics of established populations. Asian carp Hypophthalmichthys spp. have become a nuisance in recent years in the Mississippi River basin. Their populations are apparently expanding, indicating favorable conditions for reproduction. During 2004 and 2005, we quantified mean density of Asian carp larvae, mean monthly gonadosomatic index (GSI) of adult males and females, and number of eggs within mature females in the lower Illinois River, a major tributary of the Mississippi River. A flood (water velocity ≥ 0.7 m/s) and drought (<0.2 m/s) occurred during apparent spawning in 2004 and 2005, respectively. During 2004, Asian carp larvae were found during 32% of sampling weeks; mean GSI and fecundity were relatively low for adults, probably reflecting partially spawned individuals and perhaps low reproductive investment. During the drought of 2005, larval stages were present during only one (5%) of the sampling weeks, whereas mean GSI and fecundity of adults were high through summer. Females resorbed their eggs instead of spawning during this year. Spawning conditions during low water periods appear to be unsuitable for Asian carps, inhibiting adult spawning and yielding few larvae. Spawning conditions during 2004 were better but still yielded low densities of larvae relative to native fishes. Reproduction in the lower Illinois River appears to be linked to river flow and its impact on adult spawning decisions, but conditions for strong year-class production (i.e., high larval densities) may be rarer than previously expected.