The lowly carp. The freshwater bonefish. The freshwater redfish. You choose. This commonly frowned-upon fish is gaining more and more prominence as a gamefish with the advent of fly-fishers popularizing the flats-style approaches akin to Bonefishing in tropical climates.
This hard-fighting and massive-bodied fish has more than likely given many of you a lesson in proper drag setting after grabbing your panfish hook and taking off to who-knows-where with it. The carp is still largely considered a nuisance fish not wanted in our lakes. It is often wrongly assumed the fish is a bottom-feeding, swimming garbage can.
You can catch carp with several baits including nymph flies, spinners, and streamers. Carp are some of the most hardy fish which makes them a prime target in the coldest and hottest weather. They will actively feed in the early spring, late fall, and warm winters.
We are pulling for you, carp. We hope you gain the acceptance you've warranted for so many years.
See Barry Reynold's, Brad Befus', and John Berryman's book on catching carp on the fly, "Carp on the Fly: A Flyfishing Guide."
Common Carp in Colorado
Yes, carp are definitely available to anglers in Colorado, widely considered a trout state. Mostly found in lower elevation areas on the eastern plains, foothills, and western slope, carp are abundant in many many urban impoundments and rivers. However, carp are also quite prevalent in some higher mountain lakes, such as 11-mile Reservoir. If you're traveling to Colorado for a convention or business, and can't stray far enough to more traditional trout streams, pack your rod anyway. The South Platte River downtown is swimming with lots of big carp.
Kept 38.75 inches, 35 lb 5 oz
Released 42 inches
Colorado Master Angler Award qualifying length for Common Carp is 30"