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Blue Kayak

Are Carp Really Like Bonefish?

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Blue Kayak

On Lake St. Clair by Detroit carp fishing on a fly rod is becoming quite popular. The carp are on the flats, and guides compare it to fishing for bonefish.

In the topic, Recommend a reel for 8 weight 9' rod, Ice9 stated:

“By the way the fish most challenging, pickiest, most consistently long-running: carp. I've had clients quit fishing after landing one 8 pounder in current. I spent 20 minutes on a 13 pound fish that took me sixty yards into my backing three times. Nothing I've ever targeted was tougher to fool, fight, and land.”

I did a Google search on fly fishing for carp and found that there may be no better fresh water fish for the sport of fly fishing. Carp willingly take artificial flies. Careful stalking is required. Their mouths are soft for easy hook sets, but firm enough so you don’t have many that unhook themselves. Once hooked, they make long runs, and you will see a considerable length of your backing.

I have never fly fished, but this is something I want to try next year. I’m hoping some of you have some suggestions.

Carp are well distributed in Minnesota. However, you have to see the carp in order to catch them (at least consistently) on a fly. If you know of any areas in the St. Peter (or other areas) that might work, please post them below. I did see carp on the surface of Lake Emily by St. Peter in mid November. In the spring I have also seen carp in the Minnesota River backwaters surface feeding.

Ideally I'd like to find areas like the Lake St. Clair flats. Places where you see carp, stalk them, make a good presentation, and then hold on to your rod.

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You've already got my opinion on this. You missed one plus, though--they are on the move earlier--I've taken them in 45 degree water. Find public docks and look. Lake Minnetonka has a big carp population. They are tough to catch in a boat because they're cagy and unless you have a high perspective and a lot of patience it's tough to get close. They jump a lot, for some reason, in the spring, so be on the lookout for big splashes; that will tell you where carp are gathered up. Also look for lake banks with bushes or overhanging trees, like big willows. In rivers note deep pockets over soft bottom with wood cover and a good current break; they'll pile up in those areas. That's where I'd put clients on them, and not just sight fishing. We'd also (and I'm not making this up) take them on vegetable flies, especially mulberry imitations, and I've seen clusters of big carp hanging under mulberries waiting for the fruit to drop in the water.

In lakes with heavy weed cover, it's very tough to make contact with your fly because they will usually feed head down, grubbing in the weed or soft bottom. In that situation a clouser or weighted woolly bugger is a good choice. I'd compare them less to bones than to redfish, which are very similar in shape and fight but which are aggressive toward flies even in heavy cover.

Before you take up your flyrod you can search for carp with aromatic dough baits. When I was a kid I did well on a sticky mash of cornflakes, a little water, and vanilla extract, and in a pinch you can bake your bait into a cookie.


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Blue Kayak

Thanks for the carp tips Ice9. I'll try Lake Minnetonka next year. On three times when I was out in the Kayak this November, I could get within 5 to 10 feet of carp on the surface. These were smaller carp, probably between 3 to 6 pounds. There were some waves and the carp were swimming into the waves with their mouths open. I just had to position the kayak so it drifted towards the carp. I found CarpBoy's post about carp on the fly and added my experince. I wish I'd had a flyrod, but I expect there will be some opportunities next year.

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