Carp on the Fly

Sean Visintainer - 05/15/19

A common carp fly anglers chase in Eastern Washington on fly rods.

Carp Curious?

The Silver Bow Team has been out enjoying some alternative fly action this spring, chasing carp! Carp have certainly gained some popularity amongst fly fisherman over the years as a wiley, tough to catch bottom feeder that can rival bonefish or other salt species such as redfish. Known for their shyness and discerning taste, they often snub anglers even when their presentation is above average.

All of the crew here has been out taking the carp challenge, including myself, although carp seem to be winning against me this season. Mike, Bo, Kenyon, and Wayne have all found the golden ticket in numerous Eastern Washington waterways. Carp are actually found in quite a few areas around the region and you don't have to travel far to find these big scale suckers. When conditions for rivers are not ideal, or you simply need a break from trout angling give the old golden bone a shot, you might be surprised on how challenging and rewarding they are! Plus you might actually find use for your backing!

Three Carp Tips from Wayne Jordan:

  1. Don't be afraid of dirty water. They're less spooky, and think your hot-beaded flies are skittles.
  2. Stealth and positioning are key. Walk softly and try to keep a low profile when approaching cruising carp. I actually like to get into position where I can intercept a feeding carp, rather than walking right up to it and potentially spooking the fish.
  3. Weigh your options. While carp tend to be opportunistic eaters they can be picky. I've caught them on everything from chironomids to sculpin patterns. The bigger issue I'm always concerned with is making sure I have the right weight fly for the water I'm fishing. Current and water deeper than a few feet will call for dumbbell eyes, while shallow and calm water may require lighter weighted flies.

Wayne's Top Six Draft Picks for Carp:

Six carp fly patterns for fly fishing for carp.

Mike Visintaine with a nice Washington carp on fly.
A mirror carp caught by Wayne Jordan on a fly rod.
Kenyon Pitts with a nice Eastern Washington Carp.
Bo Brand releasing a nice carp caught on the fly.
Carp Scales