Originally Posted by big_windy
Hi guys, I'm up in Manitoba,Canada and am looking to target spring Carp on the fly.I have only ever targeted large freshwater pike.I was wondering what you guys might suggest for flies. I've been told Carp fishing has a lot more finesse to it then pike.
The Carp can be big up here and the water is pretty muddy (Lake Winnipeg,Manitoba).I was wondering what type of flies I should try and what type of leader set up would you suggest?
I use a 9wt or 10wt rod and reel with wf9 or wf10 float line. Would my pike leaders without the titanium bite guard be suitable? Most of the fishing would be done in 2-8ft of sheltered water.
I target carp quite often, and I'd love to give my advice. I fish for carp mostly in streams for fish that are 5-20 pounds, so it's a little different because lake carping can take longer casts to bigger fish, but hopefully this will be helpful.
Carp fishing does take a lot more patience, presentation, and finesse than most species. When I'm carping, I use either a 6 or 7 weight rod, a floating line, and a long leader. These "lighter" rods (the trout guys will sneer at that) offer delicate presentation while maintaining some back bone for the big carp. Usually about 10 feet or so, ending in 10lb flouro for tippet. You could try your wire leaders for pike, but my guess is that they will spook or be cautious to take the fly. They aren't leader shy per se, but they would probably notice the wire guard, and just not eat.
Be sure you dress in subtle colors. I even wear camo to fish for carp sometimes when I'm stalking the banks of a stream or lake for them.
You could get started with your 9 weight rod, especially for big lake carp. You may end up wanting something lighter some time, but the 9 will get you started. The most important piece of gear for carp is a good reel with lots of backing. They run hard, the big ones run like a saltwater fish. Most of your casts will be short. Many of the carp I've caught were hooked with the butt of the leader still in my guides, and the others were less than thirty feet away usually.
Look for fish that are cruising alone along the shore and cast three or so feet in front of them. Otherwise, look for tailing fish or fish that are stirring up a lot of debris as they swim around rooting up nymphs and plants from the bottom. If you see an actively feeding fish, it's game time! Once they're hungry and looking down, they become much easier to catch. This is why it can be really hard to catch them in muddy water. You don't feel the take 99.9% of the time, you almost always have to see it.
Bring egg patterns, nymphs, soft hackles, and some scandalous flies like mop flies and squirmy wormys in lots of different weight combinations. Getting a carp to eat mid-water column is really hard, but is thrilling to watch them slurp up a fly. The biggest fly I've hooked a carp on was an articulated circus peanut that it took for a crawfish, but most of the time I use size 12-8 flies with a lot more luck. A size 6 bugger has provided lots of nice big carp for me too. If they're hungry and feeding, and you get something that will fit in their mouth in front of them, they'll probably at least come up and gum it a bit.