Thursday, September 24, 2015

Where is The Cliff?

As the late summer nights get cooler the transition from catching to fishing is usually very abrupt in Colorado for carp on the fly.  Typically during a two week time-span in September carp will nearly completely abandon the flats on most local still-waters.  I call this transition "The Cliff".

The cliff usually starts with smaller ponds and lakes which tend to cool faster and within the span of a few short weeks works it's way up to the larger reservoirs.  Additionally, at about the same time the carp in the Denver South Platte often go into a funky mood where they stop eating.  The cliff is so abrupt and harsh that my catch rates plummet which leads to depression and anxiety. Uncool cliff. Uncool.

Based on averages over the past 6 years, I expect to catch roughly 1/3 to 1/4 of the carp in the fall as I did in the summer.

This year however, I see signs of the cliff but I am still finding some prime fishing this September. For example, I had one day recently were I caught 16 carp in about 4 hours on a small lake which is close to my highest catch rate over a 4 hour span ever.  On another day I caught my first ever goldfish.

Large red and white goldfish caught on a fly

And just a week later I caught this 24lb common from my SUP which is my new personal best in Colorado.

large 24lb common carp caught on a fly from a stand up paddle board
And just a few days later the Carp Slam broke records for the most carp caught in the tournament. Even I managed to wrangle two to the net.

All in all September has been absolutely stellar and as of this afternoon continues to be so.  So I ask you .... Where is the Cliff?  And how hard is it going to hurt?

Friday, September 11, 2015

Post Carp Slam Open Tournament Sunday September 13th!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Chris Galvin is putting together an open format carp fly fishing tournament on Sunday after the Carp Slam.

Here are the details:
Get a partner for this two-man team, carp on the fly tournament! Angler teams will meet at the Roo Bar at 9am to assemble, ready to fish. At 9:30, teams will leave for any destination(s) they choose in the metro area, including stillwaters and the fabled S. Platte!
Carp will be measured and photographed to count. You will be given a tape measure and a secret item to include in each photo. Total length will decide your placing. Additional prize for biggest carp caught! Teams must return by 2:30pm or be subject to penalty.
$50 entry per team, top three placings paid, plus a bonus payout for biggest carp caught!
The facebook event listing is here: 

Meanwhile, yes I still exist.  I have lost any real urge to write on Fly-Carpin, but I am sure that will change.  And yes, I still fish.  Allot!

Saturday, May 2, 2015


It has been a really really really good pre-spawn for me this year.  My best ever actually, but I am getting word of early spawning all over the Denver Metro area.  As your waters phase in and out of spawning season across the country remember - if you can ignore the spawners and find the wallflowers this can be one of the most productive times of the year.

Wallflowers are carp that are either resting or actively feeding during the spawn and they can often be found just on the edge of, or outside of, the main spawn.  These are positive fish and can be extremely good targets!  Just don't get sucked in by the fast cruisers and active spawners - its a rookie mistake.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Ten Tips for Catching Carp In Muddy Water

I probably get more questions about catching carp in turbid water than anything else.  It is a tough topic but I will give it a shot.  Some of this comes from my own experience - some of it is based on discussions with other experienced carpers.

1)  Don't Settle For Chocolate Milk:  If you are trying to catch carp in really muddy water and having difficulty, the first step may be to look for the clearest water you can find.  That may sound like a cop-out, and it is to a certain degree, but bear with me for a bit.

The first thing to realize is that if you are fishing big water, water clarity can vary dramatically in the same body of water.  The location of the inlet, the wind direction, local vegetation and local bottom composition all change local water clarity to a certain degree.  If you spend the time to explore your water and pay close attention I think you will be surprised how different the next bay over can be.

The second thing to realize is that in many parts of the country the next carp pond is just a bike ride away.  Be sure you have exhausted your options before resigning yourself to fighting the good fight.

That being said you may legitimately have no recourse.  If all you have access to is dirty water, that is all you have.  All is not lost!

2)  Fly Color:  In dirty water I tend to prefer black flies.  Or black.  I hear black works as well.  It turns out that if there is any light penetration at all the color black is one of the easiest colors for carp to see in dirty water because it creates contrast.  

Surprisingly enough (to me at least), egg yarn colors also seem to also do well.  I don't know if that is because they are bright or typically include fluorescent UV effects but I know of quite a few carpers that do very very well with brightly colored egg patterns in turbid water.

3)  Lighten Up Man:  Generally the cloudier the water, the more likely I am to fish a lighter fly.  I have found that in low visibility it helps if you fly doesn't plummet for the bottom because it gives the fish more time to notice the fly mid-column when it has a chance of creating a contrasting profile.

4)  Flash Dance:  I used to use a bit of flash in my flies if I was expecting dirty water, and in general I think it helps a bit.  I don't as much any more because I can usually find clear water at some point in the day and want my flies to work there as well - and there is nothing worse in clear water than anything but subtle micro flash in your carp flies.  For a long time a black backstabber with an olive body with significant flash in the dubbing was my go-to fly in dirty water.

5)  Shallow Hal:  Be sure and check the shallowest water available in your water first thing every time you go.  Carp are actually extremely light sensitive, and they tend to be more willing to feed shallow if turbidity shields them from the sun.  As a result, in very dirty water you are much more likely to find them with their tails, or even backs, out of the water.  If carp are feeding in 6" of water you can almost always see them and they can almost always see your fly.  Also, your odds of finding super shallow carp go up if water levels are rising or high rather than dropping or low.

6)  The Suspense is Killin' Em:  IF you can find the fish tailing shallow enough that you can find them and IF you can sneak up close enough to dap them, the suspended dap is absolutely deadly in turbid water.  In the suspended dap you hold the fly under your rod-tip just a few inches off the bottom near the head of a tailing carp.  This insures that the fish has the best chance of detecting your fly and works so good.  Ohhhhhhhhhh so good!  And yes, it would seem to follow that suspending your flies just a smidge off the bottom with and indicator would work......I just haven't tried it, but that brings us to:

7)  Indicate This:  I know of several experienced capers who catch allot of fish in cloudy stillwaters using indicators.  Some of them suspend the fly.  Some of them put it on the bottom.  The key is that even when you do find the right carp in the right scenario in muddy water it can still be excruciatingly difficult to detect the take.  An indicator can help!  Another alternative is to watch your leader for any slight motion.

8)  Set Early, Set Often:  If you would prefer to skip the indicator and try and detect and time the take using whatever visible cues are available then I would advise that you should be liberal with your hook sets.  The fundamental truth is that if you NEVER set the hook you will virtually NEVER catch a carp in dirty water so you better make sure you are setting the hook at the slightest hint of a take.  All of the following (and anything else mildly suspicious) should be treated as a hint of a take:
  • Speeding up or slowing down of tailing rhythm.
  • A tailing fish who's tail suddenly disappears - It may seem like they have spooked, but they have often actually just leveled out in order to make a move on your fly.
  • A change of direction while tailing or cruising.
  • ANY change in speed while slow cruising.
You will foul hook a few more fish - and as we all know those don't count.  I am sorry, it sucks, but I don't know how you avoid that if you have any real intention of catching a fish except for possibly using an indicator.

9)  Subtle Cues:  When trying to find carp in dirty water you often have to look for more subtle visual cues.  Learning these cues can be a useful advanced skill in clear water too, but they are an absolute necessity in dirty water.  These include:
  • Tiny micro-wavelets in the surface caused by a carp feeding just under the surface.  When you learn what too look for these tiny little wavelets can be visible from a shocking distance in calm water and are unmistakable.
  • When carp feed on the bottom they often create a stream of bubbles because they liberate methane trapped in the bottom as they feed.  In general you are looking for bubble streams that are erratic and move.  The ones that are a steady stream of the exact same size in the exact same spot with the exact same rhythm over time are just little methane seeps.
  • Even in extremely cloudy water you can usually detect subtle changes in clarity that indicate a carp, or several carp, are feeding in an area.  When you detect that subtle change stop and take your time.  Often a tail will become visible with enough patience.
10)  Faith:  As always my final piece of advice is to believe.  If you don't believe that you can catch carp in dirty water you never will.  Keep looking, keep learning and most of all keep trying.  It will come.

Other resources:  I have always liked this article on muddy water carping.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Carp Fly Fishing Guides - Wisconsin

You are viewing the Wisconsin section of Fly-Carpin's carp on the fly guide directory.  Return to the guide directory map to select a different state.

Location: Southern Wisconsin
Waters:  Southern Wisconsin
Other SpeciesTrout
About"You'll get a half-day of fishing with a guide that knows the area, the fish, where to find them, and how to catch them. Whether it's getting your first carp, improving techniques, or going for the big one, I'm here to make your guided trip the best experience possible."

Sunday, March 15, 2015

TMD Swap - Stankify

Recent carpin has been so good for me, and today started so well, I decided to see if I could catch a carp on each and every fly I received in the The Midwest Drift fly swap.  I didn't pull it off, but man did I make a show of it!

When I was putting on the fly swap I would have such an weird emotional connection to the flies I received that I almost never fished them.  In an odd way I would associate the flies with all the hard work from putting on the swap and any time I would lose one it was a negative experience that just wasn't worth risking.  

This is better.

Ben's Underfuzz: 

Collies HS Evening Star:

DeMoss' Mixed Bag:

Mr P's Black Betty:

Rinehart's Hybrid Variant:

Updshall's Truckstop Charlie:

Zach's Butterball:


Friday, March 13, 2015

Carp Fly Fishing Guides - Pennsylvania

You are viewing the Pennsylvania section of Fly-Carpin's carp on the fly guide directory.  Return to the guide directory map to select a different state.

LocationFleetwood, Pennsylvania
Waters:  Susquehanna River and tributaries
Other SpeciesTrout, Smallmouth Bass, Pike
About"Located in Pennsylvania among legendary trout and bass waters an often overlooked and epic carp fishery is gaining ground. Nick Raftas of Sky Blue Outfitters guides for carp in the heart of beautiful Amish country in southeastern Pennsylvania, where carp grow to epic proportions in lowland rivers and creeks."