Things I learned today

J
john montana
Big carp are tough. The plan today was to move quickly through the soft bottomed shallows, and focus on narrow gravel bars and deep edges. I was after big carp, and they just don't spend much time in places where they are easy to find. For a change...the plan worked pretty well. I skipped through the shallows mainly by being very picky about targets...I only cast at fish that were almost certain to eat. Once on the bars and edges I slowed my pace and lo and behold...big carp were tailing up and down the gravel. I got dozens of shots at fish in the mid teens but as already mentioned...big carp are tough! I couldn't get close to the fish because the cobble was so loud, and if I cast the fly close enough to get a take, the fish spooked...casting far enough away to avoid spooking the fish became a guessing game of which way the fish would turn. Most of the time, I guessed wrong. Carp don't get big by ignoring their surroundings, and you have to be on your game to fool them. Despite tons of chances, I only hooked one real monster (easy mid 20s...probably bigger) that promptly broke me off in a weed bed. I landed a handful of fish in the teens, but nothing huge.
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Sleeping carp are tough. But catchable. After getting destroyed looking for big fish I stumbled onto at least 50 carp sleeping in the sun. Sleeping/sunning carp in deep water are my least favorite targets...but in shallow water they can be caught. Step number one, be a stealthy son of a *****. Step two, dap a soft hackle on the fish. Rinse and repeat. I stuck a bunch of the sunbathers...fortunately they were spread put in a long line so I just inched along and pulled them from the pack. Occasionally I would have to wake the fish up to get them to eat. This is best accomplished by setting your fly on their nose. They usually shake their head like a dog, back up and eat the falling fly. After today, I am now saying that sleeping carp in shallow water are easy. The deep water sleepers still suck though.
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The trick is in the retrieve. On the way back, I had caught my fill of fish and decided to mess with various retrieves. I had visions of Door County in my head and really wanted to see if I could get the fish to chase. I stuck to soft hackles, but tried long, slow retrieves, sudden stop and go, fast foot long strips, and then it happened. I put the soft hackle to the right of a cruiser and started stripping in fast, tiny, one inch pulls. The fish perked up and eased forward and I let the fly settle...paused, and then more fast, one inch strips. After a few strips the line came tight and it was fish on! I repeated this retrieve all the way back and it flat out worked like a charm. I still had to put the fly much closer than in Door County but the short strips seemed to get some attention, and while I wouldn't say the fish were chasing, the definitely moved to the fly. My usual method of sinking the fly in view and letting the fish find it is deadly, but it was fun to get the fish to move a bit!
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The last thing I learned today...mirror carp are still the coolest
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S
Sinkline
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C
ChezJfrey
Sinkline said:
John, you are the man in the world of flyfishing carp! You should write a book, seriously my friend!

Agreed.

The deft and precision conveyed in these types of posts is a source of both awe and inspiration for a new fly angler like myself. I can barely dream of the finesse and skill that is demonstrated in these expeditions.

Great report and photos...just like Randy said!
 
F
flyguy202011
is this the columbia?
 
J
john montana
i think you guys vastly over-rate my skills with a flyrod...but i appreciate the sentiment! it was a good day...not much carping left for me. i leave for AK in a week or so and by the time i get back, the water will have cooled dramatically.
 
A
abel
What other fly patterns do you like to use for Carp?
 
J
john montana
I basically use various soft hackle patterns in sizes 8-12. Bead head, dubbed or chenile body, and hackle. about as simple as you get, it is more about putting the fly where they see it than anything fancy. i use all colors of bodies from rust orange to black and everything in between. they all work if you put the fly in the right spot. san juan worms are a standard too. you can use just about any nymphy type of pattern.
 
A
abel
Thanks for the info. I have tried flyfishing for Carp a few times several years ago in the Portland area with limited success. I have seen some huge Carp on trips to the Missouri river, but never bothered with them. I think it has great potential for a local fishery. Especially when one just wants to go out for a couple hours and not have to drive very far. I was inspired by your blog, so a friend and I are going to give it a try Saturday. I recently retired and plan to spend a lot of time on the water.
 
S
skunk
flyguy202011 said:
is this the columbia?

I do believe it is. This is the guy to hook up with about carp fishing. I noticed you asked a few posts back about who knows carp. This is the guy. I gave you his blog site I believe.
 
M
Markcanby
Notice he is not showing his face! I am starting to think John is really OTF!!!!!!!!!!

Na nice post man one of these days I will have to get out there with you even if it means Jim will never talk to me again.
 
J
john montana
I think last summer on the fly said one reason he would never fly fish for carp was that they were only found in ugly places.

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Looks like a place I would spend some time!

I do have a good time chasing these fish, but of late i have been missing the trout action. I don't think I have fished the deschutes since the winter...it really is all good!
 
D
Drew9870
That picture just reminds me of fishing for Bonefish on the flats, except it's Freshwater Bonefish :D.
 
S
Sinkline
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V
Van
Cool Buff.
 

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