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!

This Week in Review

Earlier in the week I started typing up a long report only to have it all get deleted when my internet connection dropped.  I’ve always felt that pictures tell a story better than words anyways.  The long story short…Salmon flies on Monday, Carp on Wednesday, Bass and gills’ on Friday, and a big ol’ skunk on Saturday.

Kyle and his First Carp on the Fly

My First Carp of the Day

My Best Carp of the Day

Bugle Mouth

A Chunky Cutthroat Trout

Tasty Dinner

First Bass of the Year (Other than Ice Fishing)

First Bluegill of the Year

This week provided a lot of great fishing.  The cooler nights have kept the carp, bass, and bluegill a little slow at most lakes but I know that as the weather warms up the fishing will also pick up.  Things should only keep getting better from here on out.

 

Carpin’ and Creek Fishing

One of my favorite things about Idaho is the diversity of fishing opportunities it has to offer.  One day you can be out catching monster carp and the next you can be on a small stream in the middle of nowhere catching beautiful wild trout.  This is pretty much the story of my weekend.  Friday morning I headed out with a couple of friends to chase a few carp.  I had been on a couple trips earlier in the year looking for carp but this one was looking the most promising.  The weather had been warm for many days and was only supposed to get warmer.  Carp fishing is also one of the few times that I am excited about having a little bit of wind.  It chops the water up and makes the fish a little less wary.  We eventually made it to the spot we wanted to fish and it was game on.  I quickly rigged up and headed out to work the mud line where the fish were feeding.  The fish were everywhere!  On my second cast I hooked into my first carp of the day.  It is crazy how hard of a fight a carp can put on an 8 wt. fly rod.  Josh, Chris, and I were all pulled into our backing at some point in time during the day.  The next few hours proved to be quite productive and it was by far my most successful carp hunt all year.  We each landed a handful and lost a few as well.  Towards the end of the day, Chris sight fished to a beast of a carp that was just sitting right up on the bank.  As soon as he set the hook, the fish took off clear across the river and pulled him into his backing.  Sight fishing to monster fish is what carp fishing is all about.  It was Josh’s first time fly fishing for carp and he did great too.  Fly fishing for carp is definitely addicting and I can’t wait to get back out and chase a few.  Also, Thanks to Chris for all the great pictures.  Be sure to check out both Chris and Josh’s blogs at http://www.manyafish.blogspot.com and http://www.centralpatroutbum.blogspot.com

A Hefty Common Carp


Another Commom Carp (Photo courtesy of Chris at http://www.manyafish.blogspot.com)

Josh With A Nice Common Carp (Photo courtesy of Chris at http://www.manyafish.blogspot.com)

Chris With The Best Fish of The Day (Photo courtesy of Chris at http://www.manyafish.blogspot.com)

This Picture Pretty Much Sums up the Day (Photo courtesy of Chris at http://www.manyafish.blogspot.com)

Like I mentioned at the beginning of this post, Idaho has a lot of diversity.  My brother in law recently expressed some interest in learning how to fly fish.  A small creek not too far from here immediately came to mind.  My friend Josh also enjoys fishing creeks and we were happy to have him tag along with us.  We arrived at the creek around 1:30 and were fishing by 2:00 PM.  It didn’t take long for Parker to start getting into fish even though he was just learning.  One of my favorite thing about fishing small creeks is all the wild trout that they have to offer.  The colors on wild trout certainly make up for their small size.  In the end we landed over 100 between the three of us and enjoyed one of the many beautiful creeks that Idaho has to offer.

Most Fish Were More Than Willing To Take a Dry

A Wild Brookie

Camouflage

Wild Rainbow

Brookie Colors

Parker and One of His First Fish Ever on The Fly Rod

A Couple Of Sand Hill Cranes

When we got back to Rexburg we still had about an hour of daylight that we could fish so we decided to hit the Nature Park.  We each picked up a few average sized planters and I also ended up landing a pretty nice rainbow.  I decided to keep him for dinner tonight.  The strangest part of all is that when I filleted him out he was a very deep orange, almost like a salmon.  Something that I would have never suspected of a fish living in the Nature Ponds.  I know that I will be keeping more of the nice sized fish from there in the future because this one tasted great!

 A Great End To The Day