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Denver Flats @ MIle High

June 14, 2010
Author: Trouts Staff

Mile High Bone Fish

Fly fishing for carp is an up and coming pastime and by those acquainted to chasing the species with a fly rod, they are becoming a prized and sought after “game fish” as they provide substantial qualities when hooked in the mouth.  Long runs, torque filled head shakes and powerful gestures carp can test a person’s gear with relentless strain which allure many to the species. Carp were brought to North America from France as a food source for the Nation’s growing immigrant population in the early parts of the 1800’s and have thrived in most of North America’s watershed from the continental east to the continental west.  A member of the minnow family, many are usually brownish to bronze in color and are usually long lived; beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Carp can be pursued twelve months of the year in moving water such as the South Platte River that flows through Denver and out east towards the plains of Colorado.  Often times this watershed is shared with other recreationists and is almost vogue in perception to those bystanders.   During ice off conditions and ideal warm water temperatures common , mirrored and grass carp are largely found in Colorado’s Front Range still-waters and can be sure to condition your casting arm muscles.  Typically they are found in these various ponds, lakes, and reservoirs and are almost accidental upon discovery to those pursuing other game fish.  Pursuit of these fish can be considered by many as “training” for their next salt water flats trip often time demanding long casting methods, subtle presentations, and heftier equipment.

By large, carp are mistakenly considered and called “bottom feeders”, but in fact have a wide array of feeding habits.  From sucking scum and cottonseeds off the top of the waters surface like a vacuumed mouth trout to chasing and feasting on crayfish; one can understand that carp feed on a large assortment of aquatic food sources.  Often time carp will be nose down rooting around the river or lake bottom looking to stir up annelids, larvae, or mayfly nymphs.  In still water they key in on dragonfly larvae, crane fly larvae, damselfly nymphs, aquatic worms, and mayflies.  If it’s in your trout nymph box carp will consider it and you should not hesitate to tie one on.  First off, one must identify how the spotted fish is feeding; be it rooting nose down in mud, tailing, feeding subsurface, chasing invertebrates or juvenile bait fish, or on the surface seeking “dry fly” like food sources.   The imperative key to your success is to identify your situation and that of the carp.  Secondly, one must combine the feeding habit with an identified food source, in Jim Kanda’s case luck, and present a fly to that carp is a manner that is respectful being cautious not to spook the fish which disturbs the pool.  Once you have these key elements in play be sure your line management is dialed, get the fish on the reel and enjoy!

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