Close Encounters of the Carp Kind – Fins and Feathers Bozeman
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Close Encounters of the Carp Kind

Sorry for the re-post here folks, but carp are swimming around in my boiling, feeble mind with how damn hot it is out there. Hopefully they suck up some of the malted hops that are trapped within my cranium.

You hear a strange splashing in the reeds. Take a look around and you don’t see anything. Now alert, the sound emanates again, closer to you, this time you spot the disturbance. It’s some strange underwater creature. Standing in the mud and the stink, scared, you don’t know what to do. The only tool that can be used as a weapon is in your hands. This item is a fly rod. The underwater alien nears you. To avoid startling this large, orange, scaly beast your feet remain planted in the muck. Closer yet, the mysterious and huge aliens’ features become more distinct. Large circular lips, possibly for abducting, long stringy barbels, maybe for probing. A mosquito bites your neck, instincts take over, a quick flash of your hand and the bug is smashed. A quick swirl and the creature you were studying disappears.

Fly fishing for carp is an incredible option for spring and summer in Montana. They are strong, big, and found in nearly every water body. With this being said, they are crazy spooky and weird. They are very particular about what they eat, and they are social. If you manage to spook one you have more likely than not spooked all of them. Common carp have larger brains than most freshwater fish, advanced lateral lines and sense of smell, along with good eye sight. This makes carp a challenge for even the most advanced trout anglers and that much more satisfying when you finally land one.

To land one it takes a good cast with the right bug to the right fish under the right weather conditions. You can’t wear bright clothing, move quickly in the water, or drop your anchor too hard. This may not sound desirable to many folks but those who get stoked on the idea of catching a carp on the fly Spring and hot August days are perfect.

When carp are spawning it is tough, but right before and right after, those crazy vacuums are huuuunggrryyy. More applicable to the time, when the lower Madi is coming out of the damn at a temp that I would bathe in and the air temp is an unpleasant 94, carp are really hungry. The hotter it gets the more willing carp are to eat. This is a great option now that rivers around Bozeman are getting to be too hot to fish. If you decide to chase some carp, good luck, and try not to get too frustrated. When everything finally comes together it will all be worth it.

You can swing by our Bozeman fly shop and ask questions about carp, but with full transparency, I personally won't be that transparent. I will certainly fill an angler in on what flies work and provide helpful techniques, but don't ask me where to go. Stop by the shop for advice on carp flies before you attempt to catch some of these weird ass fish on a fly rod!