The carp were uncatchable today

GoneCarpin

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Hi everyone,

First post here. I have been fly fishing since for trout for years and years but carp fishing has become my real focus. It’s been a bit of a journey - three years ago I could hardly find a carp. Then I figured out how to find them but couldn’t catch them. Last year I started catching them and then this year it really started to click and I’ve been landing a decent number of fish every / most times I go out.

But yesterday, I kinda got my butt handed to me, and I’m curious if you more experienced carpers can help me understand what was happening and how to catch these fish.

Normally, I have been most successful in really skinny water where the fish are solos or in small groups, moving very very slowly through the water or obviously feeding/tailing in the back of the little bays that I fish. I’ll see quite a few fish under the right circumstance, but not tons like yesterday.

Yesterday was hot - 90+ degrees, and has been warm all week. Perfect blue skies, no wind. The carp had congregated in huge groups - huge! Hundreds of fish. They had moved out of the skinny water of the bays to a little bit into a little deeper water (4-5’) and were holding high in the water column. They were moving around slowly in groups, sometimes coming up to the surface and mouthing things off the top of the water, but not with a lot of consistency. In general, they just kind of milled around in the top 12” of water and you could see theirs mouths opening and closing like they were feeding on something, but I couldn’t figure out what, and in general, they were uncatchable.

I tried my normal crayfish patterns, but they would generally sink past the fish. I tried unweighted stonefly nymphs, smaller trout nymphs (like large prince nymphs and hare’s ears) and the like to try to keep the fly in the top of the water column. I also tried San Juan worms and egg patterns, no luck. I did get two teeny tiny nibbles on dry flies (cottonwood seed patterns), but they weren’t really “takes” - more like exploratory bumps.

I wouldn’t consider these fish “sunners”, because they were active, not just hanging there.

Does anyone recognize this behavior and have any ideas how to catch these fish? I saw them do the same thing last year at about this time (first week of June), and couldn’t catch them then, either. Is it too late for spawning? I think of that happening in May.

I did finally land a fish, but it was a solo in the skinny water that I normally fish. Any ideas?
 

bumble54

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Had most success with a mini Montana nymph but they are not easy, just the slightest draw of the leader and I only connect with one in ten most times.
 

Critter

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I have many days like that, and right now it seems as though I can’t even find any to cast to. They seem to have went deep. And as far as swimming around in groups near the surface and look as though they are feeding, same thing here. And I can’t figure out what they will eat. I tied a cotton wood seed that floats and they will swim all around it but won’t take it. If they are feeding it must be really really small emergers. But I am unable to figure out what they are.
 
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jayr

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Caught my first carp on a fly rod yesterday while trout fishing on one of our local tailwaters. I was using my Recon 9' 6 weight.

I had cast to the side in order to fool with the line on my reel. I went back to cast and noticed it heading the other direction. Game on!

When it took off across the water without jumping and then got into the backing on my reel, I pretty much figured it was a carp. I got him close enough to identify and yes, it was a carp. I ended up fighting him for about 30 minutes. He made several runs and I finally worked him into some slack water. Problem was, my net was not big enough so the first two times I tried to net him it was a no go. Finally got him in head first. Wouldn't you know I did not have a camera. The best I could tape him he was at least 24" and all muscle. I now know what a fighting butt is good for. My hand cramped up and is still even a little sore today.

That was fun!!!
 

dennyk

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Anyone that does not consider carp as a worthy game fish for the fly rod is missing out. I have landed 2 in 4 years 13 & 15 pounds and lost 3. One took half my new fly line but that's another story. Carp and a very wary fish, I try to spot and stalk them in a local pond, I would love to hook one on the surface, that would be a rush!

jayr, I can relate to the hand cramps! (y)

GoneCarpin-Welcome to the forum, you will like it here, looking forward to reading your carp adventures! At times even the perfect presentation will result in failure but there's always the one, once in a while that will result in a take.

Denny
 
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dakotakid

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Not sure what time of yearr the carp spawn in Idaho. When I'm up North (Michigan and Indiana), I can always find carp early in the morning, but have only had luck catching them just before and after spawn. In that area, the spawn takes place anytime from mid May to late June depending on temperatures. The rest of the year, I've found them too be extremely cautious and easily spooked.

FYI, my go-to carp fly is the John Montana hybrid carp fly. That catches all kinds of freshwater fish.

Good luck!
 
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