I think fishermen take carp for granted. They are so abundant in the area (and throughout the country) that many people don’t value them. I enjoyed fishing for them when I was a kid. We’d use corn or nightcrawlers and have a great time. Over the past decades, fly-fishing for carp has steadily gained in popularity. There are some good books (“Fly-fishing For Carp” to name one) available on the topic. Carp are as challenging a fish to fly-fish for as any species that I can think of. They have finely tuned senses and can be spooked very easily. They also can suck in and spit out a fly in less than a second!
Lake Ontario was named in “In-Fisherman” magazine as one of the Top Ten Carp Fishing areas in the world for BIG FISH. Seneca Lake also has monster carp – fish over 40lbs. All of the Finger Lakes are capable of producing 20lb + fish, and a few of the lakes have some beasts over 30lbs.
I’ve been wanting to fly-fish carp for a long time. I tried off and on for years – going once or twice a year, or maybe taking a few half-hearted casts at some fish. I hooked one while carpin’ on the Otselic River once and was thrilled, then my leader broke as the fish took a strong run. I still wasn’t hooked on the sport. My friends always had more luck with it than I did. Things finally changed for me in 2007. I was salmon fishing and a monster carp around 36″ and probably 22lbs+ sucked in my salmon fly (see the “Species” photo for a shot of the fish). As they say “the rest is history”. Due to my heavy guiding schedule and that some of the best carp fishing occurs when salmon fishing is peaking, I don’t get to chase carp as much as I’d like to.
Carp fishing occurs around the same time frame and areas as pike/pickerel action. So if you like to fly-fish for pike we can take part of the day off and go “carpin’ .”