Re: Rivers Full of Carp
I sat through a carp fishing seminar by Barry Reynolds the other day at the NM Trout Symposium, and he did a great job talking about techniques, tackle and some of the challenges of fishing for the common carp. He likened them to fresh water bonefish in terms of the difficulty approaching them (the only fish with an inner ear mechanism), and technique which is mostly sight-fishing. It is cool to think that you could catch a 20+ pound fish on a fly in an urban area, which can present its own problems-- "in some parts of downtown Denver, be sure you get out before dark"-- he also talked about finding a human skeleton during one of his expeditions.
It is ironic that the carp has such a bad reputation as a food fish, since that is exactly what the common carp was imported to be. Importation was a strategic decision on the federal level during the Grant administration because the native fish were being decimated by market providers. They have minimal fat in which to store PCBs, etc, and since many carp are primarily plankton eaters, there is less risk of concentrating toxic chemicals as they travel up the food chain through minnows, etc. Unfortunately, until someone comes up with a plankton fly, the Asian carp will be tough for fly fishers to pursue.
Reynolds pointed out that some of the carp's reputation is related to the toxic, polluted water carp are often found in, but you can't blame the fish for being a survivor and making the best of a situation that we created. They would probably prefer to live in pure, unpolluted water if given the choice.