Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Minnesota Carping: it just doesn’t stand up…

June 4, 2011: paddled with Danny Boy up to some backwaters I’d been eyeing via Google Earth. They are not accessible via road or wading. The weather conditions were favorable: pretty good sun all day, little wind (good for paddling). We found two flats that were full of carp. I stood in the stern, Bahamas style, and pushed us along slowly with my paddle. It was exceedingly good feeling: easy control, easy casting, no wind. Kid in front, paddling and doing general inquisitive duties and chores. But the vibe was cut off at the pass by turbidity: it was prohibitive. It quickly became comical. We’d move along deathly quiet, and push in front of us a wake of silt plumes and fish scattering about. Couldn’t see the bodies of the fish but could see their calling cards. The only consolation was that it was likely that these fish were stationary, because the water was only 1.5-2.0 feet deep, and we never saw any tails, nervous water or feeding plumes. And so the CQS (see previous post) would be this:
150 – 10 – 0 – 150 – 6 = -16. Tough to deal with. We finally found one group of 4-5 carp feeding in some cattails. Still really turbid, but we could make out their dorsals and general positions. We crept by and dapped on them… no takes. Recognizing this would be our only decent shot, we looped back and did it again. This time a fish seemed to move to the LOD; I wasn’t sure so I slowly picked it up, thinking I’d replace it… but found resistance and a fly in a carp mouth. The only notable events that followed were Danny’s reactions to the splashes, fight, and size of the fish. I estimate: 9 lbs. Kind of drab and pasty. This fish took all the line at my feet in short order, but didn’t run much beyond that. I was hoping maybe for a canoe tow. And speaking of canoe: I believe this is first carp I’ve ever caught from a such a craft. And so marginal carping. That aside, this day was top-notch due to presence of son. We were out for 6+ hours. Stopping on sand bars to poke around. Eat. Drink. Paddle. He almost fell asleep and tilted over into the water before I urged him to lay down in the bow. Highly memorable.

June 5, 2011: the carp are stacked up near my house. Sunning and staging for spawn. I had about 1.5 hours and I was presenting various flies to carp that entire time. 50% of the fish I put flies on spat on the offering and turned away. 49% of them didn’t notice or ignored the fly. I changed to John Montana’s super small SJW and the first offering was eaten by the remaining 1%. Small fish. Very little fight. Cleared off the flat so I went home.

Classic MN carping, as compared to Columbia River: work your ass for marginal opportunities at smaller fish that don’t fight as hard. A guy could do this every day. The question though becomes: would you want to do this every day? That’s why I’ve been tilted toward trout a bit more lately. This also confirms that more carp exploration must be planned and executed: need flats with feeding fish. Bigger fish too.

June 4, 2011











June 5, 2011


8 Comments:

Blogger t said...

Have you checked out Lake Byllsby, Cannon Falls area? If youre looking for 'flats' it maybe should be on your 'short list'(... when it comes down)
I would be happy to show you around, in exchange for some pointers/tips.

12:49 PM  
Blogger t said...

... and I love your blogging. I found you off a link on WFF.. between you guys, and the roughfisher, ya'll get me through the work week. So "Thank you".
Keep up the great work.. I admire the simple fact that you take the kids with you on your adventures. Very admirable.

12:56 PM  
Anonymous Mr. Bubble said...

Fished upstream from C1 on NBRR Sunday - water was pretty murky, but did see a few decent size carp. Nothing like the #s I saw last fall, but the general murkiness didn't help with spotting them either.

1:20 PM  
OpenID roughfisher.com said...

I hear exactly about what you're saying J. Sometimes the work outweighs the benefits. We've definitely been spoiled by fishing the mecca of of carp waters.....

4:53 PM  
Blogger McTage said...

Its pretty similar in CO. For some reason we have to work pretty darn hard for the luvin. Defenitely harder than in MI, and it sounds like probably harder than in OR.

7:25 PM  
Blogger John Montana said...

Two things...one, that picture of Danny with the carp is money. What a moment for dad there. Absolute gold man. And two, exploration is key. We know that MN is home to massive carp, you just need to find a good place to fish for them. I bet there are shallows and flats hidden out there somewhere and would not be surprised to find bigger fish in the mississippi than we have out here on the big c. The tough part for us family guys is giving up water time for sheer exploration.

10:03 PM  
Blogger Wendy Berrell said...

Good notes: thanks for them, and for the encouragement.

(1) I have looked in on the Byllesby Reservoir. John Montana and I put some fish on the bank there a couple years back. Good potential. Good reminder.

(2) Also heard of carp in NB RR. Among other good fish. I never have fished much there though.

(3) You other guys: you now can all agree that the Columbia River tops all our other carp experiences thus far.

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9:05 PM  

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