only problem is i can't seem to catch them consistently. The river i fish is very clear, and the carp are super spooky. I live in upstate new york, and was wondering if any of you guys could give me some advice on what flies to try. Any one here fish for carp in new york.? My main issue is finding a fly that gets down fast in current, but doesn't sound like a rock being thrown in the water. I can't seem to figure out what they are eating. I have many shots, but they seem to spook 99% of the time. Crayfish are abundant in the river i fish, but the carp seem to like smaller flies than the average crayfish. I have seen they rising to cottonwood seeds, anyone have a simple pattern to imitate these? I have never been so frustated fishing in my life. I used to bowfish, but after watching a carp eat a fly and listening to my fly reel buzz, i just can't do it anymore. I have come to find that carp are by far the smartest fish i have ever attempted to catch. When fishing a river, what is the best way to present the fly. is it from upstream? The two i have caught, thats how it worked. I have been out 12 times this year and haven't even had a take. Just frustration. Also, anyone notice carp being leader shy, i am using 3x flouro as a tippet, should i drop to 4x. All the carp tips i have read have been written about lakes or flats fishing, is there a different technique in a river? I know they are difficult to catch, but two carp in two years is very very poor results.And there is no way i am giving up, because i just wanna see my backing again. For some reason, the carp in this river aren't found in the shallows. They are in the deep holes. i never find them tailing in inches of water. I only cast to the tailers, but they are deeper. They also seem to cruise the same route sucking up food, but i just can;t seem to get them to eat no matter what. Any tips on fishing for carp in a very clear river would be helpful, fly suggestions would be great.
Interesting topic, and one I will follow with interest.
I've only ever fly fished for carp in Lakes in the U.K. Fantastic sport, I found the best time was on extremely sunny days when they bask near the surface. I used the dog biscuit fly on the top with great success.
A few months back Moldy Chum was running their slab of the year contest and John Montana was one of the entrants with a huge carp that he had landed. A lot of the members voting were very upset that a lowly carp would even be considered let alone be in the lead and eventually won the contest. You are finding just how hard it is to catch carp, it is no easy task, most people think they are trash fish and will eat anything so catching them with a fly rod should be relatively easy (at least until they try).
Send a PM to John Montana (aka The Carpman) he should be able to provide you with some insight into how to solve your problems, he definitely knows how to catch carp. Speaking of carp
Carp arent leader shy in terms of size, but they are leader shy if its too short. i try to keep atleast a 9' leader on, sometimes we will go to 12'.
For a Super simple cottonwood pattern, use which ever short shank heavy wire hook you like, tie on a small piece of white foam, and a CDC feather or a couple tuffs of white marabou and call it a day. Floats forever and looks just like a cottonwood seed. Also tie some foam mullberries, I would be willing to bet that if they are sipping cottonwood seeds, and a nice purple mullberry plops down, they will eat it.
I've been sightfishing carp in upstate NY for the past 20 years. For the first 12 or so, the only competition was from bowhunters. Glad to see you appreciate them. I use a white CDC fly for cottonwood seeds. I fish clear rivers with current , as well as flats. Rubber legged buggers tied with small dumbell eyes and small bunny leaches with tungsten coneheads work for me, along with various buggy nymphs, most tied with beadchain eyes. I've also done well with worm flies. I broke 30 lbs. already this year, so I'm off to a good start. Go to Carp Pro Magazines discussion board, you'll find a bunch of guys that will give you all the info you need to be successful. The aforementioned Mr. Montana and more recently myself, are both heavily contributing members. I live on the NY/Vt. border and fish the Hudson and its tribs above Troy, NY. I have caught them in 9 other states, too. Carp are a blast. If you're near my area , send me a PM. Always glad to show people the things I've learned over time.
Glad to see you are feeding your addiction! All good advice above. It is really hard to know exactly how to help without seeing your water, etc., but my #1 rule for carp on the fly is the KEY for basically everything that follows on my waters:
Know your forage.
Out here, they eat clams...that lack of a need to pursue dictates all fly choice, method etc. On Lake MI, they eat gobies and crayfish, so again, that dictates methods, gear, flies etc. If you are not sure what they are eating...find out. Spend some time observing the fish, dig around in the river to get a good sense of the available forage in the areas that you see them feed...stuff like that. The forage not only dictates the fly, but how you fish said fly so knowing what they eat is vital. I tell guys all the time that there is no one magic fly for all carp, but there is probably one magic fly for your carp.
Truth is that most carp are very difficult to catch, but once you figure out what they eat and can present something that triggers a visual response in a manner the fish is used to seeing without spooking that fish...you'll crack the code and start catching them regularly. These are well developed fish, and it takes a lot of work to figure them out which is what makes them so much fun!
For what it's worth, my other three rules (again, these apply mainly to my home fish because of rule #1)
Thanks for the insight guys. I will have to try lengthening my leader. I was using a 9 foot leader, maybe a 12 foot leader would help. I really am looking forward to casting to the carp that are rising to cottonwood seeds, i see this all of the time in my river but have yet to try fishing the seed hatch.I love the Carponthefly blog. i've read the whole thing. Lots of great info there. I live in ontario county, new york and have yet to ever run across another carp fly fisherman, guys shoot them here, which i think makes them even harder to catch. I never claimed to be smart, but to be outsmarted by a fish on a regular basis is slightly disheartening. I feel like if i can catch these fish, i can catch anything. I love to bowhunt , and fly fishing for these carp and getting just one to eat is like hunting with a fly rod. I get the same adrenaline rush as i do hunting. I just want to make it happen more, and i'm going to(i hope). I think you are right johnmontana, i need to spend more time observing, patience is the name of the game it seems with these fish. And also, i need to wait for the perfect shot. See, just like bowhunting . Again, thanks guys, hopefully if it quits raining this weekend, i'll get at them again. If i catch any i'll post pictures, it's funny how they seem to get less ugly after you catch one. Oh and fichy, what size flies do you typical use here? The river i fish is full of all sorts of food morsels, scuds, all types of nymphs, hellgramites, crayfish, leeches, you name it it's there and abundant. The fish are all very fat. I am going to tye some of those cottonwood seed flies, already have the materials. To hook just one of those monsters like that would make my year.
Matt, I find sizes 6-12 work for me. I generally use crayfish imitations in 6-8, leeches in 6-10, and nymphs and carp worms in 8-12. If you have mulberry trees anywhere on the river you fish they are carp favorites. Black bunny leeches will imitate not only leeches, but nymphs and small hellgramites. The rabbit gives excellent movement in current. I've found it very effective. I've spent lots of time on the Salmon River east and north of you, but have spent very little near your area. Do you have an estuary you fish , or flats on the lake near you? I've been curious if there are any carp on the flats like Michigan anywhere on the big O. I know no one of the many people I've met in your area that fly fish for carp, you truly are out on your own. I know the feeling. If the river you fish has any runs of steel or salmon- EGG flies.
Often I'll find large carp that will stay in an area , but refuse to feed because they know you are there. As apex predators, they know you present a possible danger, but not enough to make them flee. Stealth is really necessary with carp, more than almost any other fish. If a carp continues to feed, you still are in the game- if it stops- it's over. In shallow currents I use a Mulberry fly tied with foam as an indicator with a nymph on a dropper below it. This sometimes gets a very difficult presentation in place.
Just remember carp pick up vibrations very well- don't grind rocks underneath your feet when wading, the long leaders help too, as it keeps the slap of the fly line farther away. I pretty much use 12' leaders. Sometimes longer, but then I may sacrifice accuracy. Think as gentle a presentation as you can make. I'll underline my 6 wt. with a 4 or 5 wt. line when using smaller flies. Good hunting, and I hope you put up some reports of your success.
Thanks Charlie. I fish the canandaigua outlet, it drains from canandaigua lake, one of the finger lakes. Lake ontario is only about 40 minutes away or so. It doesn't get runs of steelhead, but i i think the carp may feed off eggs during the sucker spawn. Lots of suckers in there. As far as flats, it seems as though both canandaigua and seneca lakes drop off fairly quickly, not sure about lake ontario.. I don't have a boat, but i don't think there is really flats in the finger lakes. They were apparently formed at the same time by a giant glacier. Really the canandaguia outlet is nothing but a little stream. It's running very low right now. I find the carp in the deep slower pools. I am going to have to explore the lakes more, as i recently bought a kayak, only thing is although the lakes are small, the wind can make the water rough. I have the erie and barge canals fairly close to me as well, i read an article a guy wrote about fly fishing for carp there, have to check that out too. Thanks for the tips charlie, and if you are ever out this way, i know where to find some great smallmouth fishing. Thanks and i'll keep you posted.