South Platte Spring Carp Fishing | Nymphing for Carp
South Platte River Carp fishing has been nothing short of phenomenal all Spring on both guided trips & on our own time. With warmer days, the windows of opportunity has really opened up and the warmer water temps have fish fighting hard!
Fish are still not out on the shallow flats feeding like they would in summer, so most of our fish have come by the way of the nymph rig.
Nymphing for carp is one of those unkowns for most people. Most of what you hear about fishing for carp has to do with looking for the tailing fish rutting around in the shallow water. From my experience, this is a summer behavior. We’ve spent a lot of time on the South Platte through Denver carp fishing this winter & early spring, and I don’t see a ton of tailing fish. Sure it’s a lot more exciting to site fish to them like bonefish in low clear water, but if the fish aren’t out on the flats you don’t have much of a choice but to nymph the deep slow holes.
Tips for Early Spring Carp
- Fish the deep, slow barely moving water.
- Use an indicator that is sensitive and doesn’t hit the water hard (not a thing-a-ma-bobber) We like the lightning Strike Pinch on Indicators. When carp eat on the dead drift, they don’t turn on it like trout do. Instead, they pick up the fly and swim with it. If they feel the resistance from a big indicator, they will drop the fly before you even know you had one. With the pinch on indicator you will see the indicator start to move against the current when a carp picks up the fly.
- Use Heavy tippet. I have not found carp to be tippet shy when nymphing deep. 1x-2x tippet is the way to go.
- Don’t use a lot of weight. Cast farther upstream and give the flies time to get down. If you have to much weight on to get the fly down, carp will drop the fly as soon as they pick it up and feel that extra weight on the line.
- Don’t use an 8wt this time of year. a fast action 6wt rod like the S4S is perfect carp rod. 7 and 8wt rods are to stiff and bend hooks even if you’re not leaning on the fish.
- Fly Selection: The south Platte through Denver is LOADED with red Annelids. Red San Juans have caught a lot of carp for us. Eggs are also a good call this time of year as the rainbows are starting to spawn. We like 8mm chartreuse troutbeads on the South Platte through town. Clousers swimming nymph is also a good choice when your nymphing under an indicator
- Czech Nymphing Carp: If the pick ups are really light (which they often times are) try fishing no indicator with a longer rod. Use a heavy bottom fly such as a backstabber as your anchor fly.
Got out on Monday and did the Urban Trout thing with James and it’s good to see James is still as fishy as they come! There is a funny story behind this awesome mirror carp. I had czeched up a carp earlier that came unbuttoned, so I told James to take off the indicator for grins. First cast, he came tight with a really nice rainbow that came flying out of the water. The fish dove deep and all of a sudden the rod had A REALLY BIG BEND. The next thing we knew, there was a 20 pound mirror carp (above) on the line hooked in the mouth! Did the mirror carp eat the 18″ rainbow??? Probably not, but my guess is the fish ran into a hiding spot where this big carp hangs and fed the egg to this big mirror. Absolutely a sick fish!
If you haven’t checked out James’ website, be sure to check him out at