In Search Of Carp

Walking the flats in search of carp never gets old to me.  Slowly working my way towards the “Nervous Water” and seeing a huge tail slowly break the waters surface always gets my heart pumping.  Launching 70+ feet of line to a feeding fish in the middle of a pod is always exhilarating.  As I slowly retrieve my fly, the line is nearly ripped from my hand, and I strip set as fast as I can.  The hook set is one of the main reasons I love chasing carp.  Then there is the initial run.  Nothing runs like a carp.  I really enjoy fishing for trout and target them far more often than carp, but a trout has never put me into my backing.  A carp almost always put me into my backing.

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Common Carp

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Shoulders

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Brent With a Snake River Common Carp

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The Mountains Are Still Covered in Snow

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Brent’s Personal Best Common – Quite the fish!

Carp also tend to be very unpredictable, and that is part of the draw for me.  I love a fish that is going to put all of my skills to the test.  When fly fishing for carp, you are on their terms.  If they aren’t feeding, it can be very difficult to convince them to.  A flat can be phenomenal and chuck full of carp on Thursday, only to be barren of fish on Saturday.  Sometimes even the slightest change in temperature will completely shut them down.  Then again, I have caught them in the middle of a blizzard with air temps hovering only a couple degrees above freezing.  I am still trying to figure out what weather pattern really gets them going.

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One of My Biggest Common’s

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Brent With a Pale Mirror

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Clean Golden Common

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One of Kyle’s First Carp on the Fly

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Cookie Cutter for the Day

The more I fish for carp, I am starting to realize how much their behavior and feeding habits change depending on where they live.  In the Snake River, they tend to really key in on crawdad patterns.  Even something as simple as a slight change in color can be the difference between catching five fish that day or fifteen fish.  The Snake River fish are very good at spitting your fly out quickly.  You have about half a second to set the hook or else that fish is gone.  In contrast, Blackfoot Reservoir carp will chase down your fly and hit it  with a vengeance.  The Blackfoot fish are also less picky about what they are willing to eat.  Why is there such a contrast in these fish?  I’ve yet to figure that out.  Then you have the Bear River, where the carp act like trout.  They hang off of riffles and behind big boulders in the middle of the river, even directly below check dams in the turbid water.  You can throw a wooly bugger at these fish and they will follow it into the fast moving water and hit so hard they set the hook on themselves.  They also tend to be significantly smaller than the Snake River and Blackfoot Reservoir carp, generally in the 5 – 7 lb range, but the visual eats make catching these smaller fish just as enjoyable as catching the bigger 20 + lb fish.

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Brent With Another Common

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Round

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Brent’s Hefty Mirror

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Long One

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Evening Mirror

If you haven’t targeted carp on the fly yet, you are really missing out!  Yes, they are not native to our waters here in the United States, and in some situations they may even be a nuisance (not the case in Idaho in my opinion), but they are here to stay so why not make the best of it?  The tug is the drug, and nothing tugs like a carp!

6 thoughts on “In Search Of Carp

    1. I have only fished on American Falls Reservoir for carp once. They were thick in the willows and it was next to impossible to even get a fly by them without spooking them all. With that said, I have heard a lot of great things about carp fishing there.

  1. Gregg Martin

    Nice stuff Shane!

    I take it that was a montage of many places given the types and sizes? I enjoyed the photos as well. love carp, any carp.

    Gregg

    1. Thanks Gregg. These fish are all from the same place, just over the period of a few different trips in March. I’m hoping to get out again this week and catch a few more!

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