The typical banter around the fly shop these days involves a sad remark about runoff and something about fishing Hyalite Lake. Yet, no one is coming in and asking about carp. While carp can be caught most of the year around town, or on local lakes, runoff is when I truly focus on targeting these incredible gamefish.
You’re fishing for carp…on purpose? It’s a question I’ve come to enjoy and one that comes up often.
Carp have been the subject of much ridicule and are often mislabeled. You’ll hear them called trash fish, junkers, and potentially even a waste of time. Nothing could be further from the truth and I’m confident anyone who speaks this maliciously has never fished for and or caught a carp.
Carp are intelligent, abundant, and strong. They are often called the poor man’s bonefish and for good reason. They demand excellence from the angler, and reward with runs that go well into your backing. In my humble opinion they are some of the absolute most fun you can have on a fly rod.
Another topic not often brought up is how carp fishing can truly make you a better trout angler. Carp have massive eyes, lateral lines, and an oversized brain that correlates to heightened awareness. Ergo they require pinpoint accuracy and utter stealth. This may all sound intimidating but the truly great aspect of carp over trout is that you’ll often have far more shots at carp.
Carp require less gear than trout also. All you’ll ever need for carp is your favorite 9ft. 7wt or 8wt rod, floating line, and a few flies. A quick note that you can get away with a 6wt, but you’ll be a bit under gunned. Also, a little longer rod like a 10ft 7 or 8 wt. can make your fishing a lot easier. Stop by the shop for specifically tied carp flies, or simply slow strip a crayfish or wooly bugger. Look shallow for carp, and indicators of active feeders are stirred up mud and tails sticking up out of the water. Take your time stalking the fish, as sudden movement or a sloppy cast can spook an entire gaggle of carp. One vital part of catching carp is to lead the fish by a few feet in whatever direction they’re cruising. Let your fly sink into the zone and give short, slow strips to entice the carp. Eats are typically visual, and be sure the carp has completely eaten your fly before setting the hook.
Although there are many rivers that have carp, you have the highest percentage of catching carp in Canyon Ferry. This time of year they’re up shallow and seem to be on every bank of the lake. Feel free to give us a call or swing by the shop with any questions.
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