September 7, 2011
Flow: 48cfs
Clarity: Clear with a slight tint (as always)
Water Temp: 70
Weather: Overcast

The time of year has arrived where the carp feed hard. The flows are low and the carp are easily reached. Yesterday I had the best carp day I have ever had. I was able to hook several and land a couple of them in just a few hours. For those of you who have never tried carp fishing, don’t turn your noses up at these fish. They are extremely wary and difficult to catch on a fly, and they pull like freight trains. Most people who dog on these fish are in no way skilled enough to even hook one. Most angler do not even know that they have a world class carp fishery in their backyard. The South Platte through town is a haven for these fish and they consistently able to reach 30 plus pounds.

Released bloodly and battered after the battle

You will need to bring your a game for these fish.  Crayfish and aquatic worms are their primary forage, but they will eat anything!  Weighted flies are a must to get it into their feeding lane.  Backstabber, Thin Mints, Barry’s Carp Fly, Wooley Buggers and San Juans are all standard issue for the river.  You will need to make long presentations and keep you fly from landing in their field of view.  Any quick movements, splashes or waves sent their way WILL spook them.  Stay out of the water and hide behind bushes and structure.  This is guerrilla warfare.

Feed it to them!

I have found that a downstream presentation is the best way to get an eat.  Forget your traditional upstream casts, they will feel and see it coming from a mile away.  This is the biggest mistake a rookie carp fisherman makes.  You have to get above them and feed it to them.  Check out the picture above, this is a perfect example of the downstream presentation.  They never see your line or leader coming!

Not a big one…but they still pull on a 5wt

Now, I said earlier that carp feed mainly on crayfish and worms, but they will eat other things.  The South Platte is famous for it’s Trico hatch and downtown is no different.  I was able to pick out a fish feeding on top, so what did I do?…Tied on a Trico.  You must bring all your flies, I have seen carp eating damsels, caddis, BWOs, Tricos, cottonseeds, crayfish, minnows, ants…you name it.  You never know what you are going to walk into.  I knew there was no way to fish 6X to my #26 Parachute Adams, so I forced some 4X through the eye (yes that is possible).  Check out the video below and what the whole thing.  Unfortunately he knew right where the railroad ties were and well…with a #26 there wasn’t much I could do.  I was able to dance around it a couple times, but the carp won in the end.

Every once in a while, something random happens on a fishing trip.  Yesterday was one of those days.  While casting to a fish, I caught a bat!  I felt bad, so I had to release it.  A stick and my hemocuts did the trick.  Once it was free it went right back to flying around and eating Tricos, just not the ones on the end of my line.

A stick and hemocuts are the tools of the trade

Don’t get frustrated out there. You will spook a lot of fish and screw up a bunch of shots, but you have to learn from them. Play the numbers game and put your flies in front of a ton of fish. This means covering water and moving often. Just remember that presentation is everything and you fly doesn’t matter quite as much. Be stealthy, patient and move slow.

This is what you are looking for….

-James

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