Burks Fork

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Stream Category: Put and Take -A

Wild Trout: Brook and Brown

Stocked Trout: Rainbow and Brown

Other Species of Note: None

Gear:

Dry Flies: Adams, Caddis

Nymphs: Stone Flies, Pheasant Tail, Prince, Hares, Midges, Mop Flies, and Squirmmy Wormies, Grey Scuds

Streamers: Kreelex, Minnow Patterns 

Waders: Yes

Net: Yes

Casting: Overhead, Tuck, and Roll.

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About:

Burks Fork reminds me a lot like Laurel Fork, not to mention they are really not that far from each other. Just like Laurel Fork Brush Fork is a mountain spring fed, sandy bottom stream that goes right through farm land. The only difference I seen is that Brush Fork is a bit wider than Laurel Fork in some spots and a hell of lot narrow in others. Like Laurel Fork, the land owners are letting the public fish this area, so please take care of it. 

Like Laurel Fork, be prepared to euro nymph a lot, this is not a fly fishing stream until you get below the last bridge where there is a small ungated parking lot. Also be prepared for a lot of debris from fallen trees and there limbs. 

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Additional Notes: 

Not many pull spots at the low water bridge but at the other end where the state stops stocking, there is an ungated pull in area, just don’t be a jackass and tear these farmers land up. Also take out what you put in.

Directions:

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Little Indian Creek

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Stream Category: Put and Take – B

Wild Trout: 

Stocked Trout: Rainbow and Brook

Other Species of Note: None

Gear:

Dry Flies: Adams, Caddis

Nymphs: Stone Flies, Pheasant Tail, Prince, Hares, Midges, Mop Flies, and Squirmmy Wormies, Grey Scuds

Streamers: Kreelex, Minnow Patterns 

Waders: Yes

Net: Yes

Casting: Overhead, Tuck, and Roll.

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About:

This might be the most hidden jewel of Floyd counties fisheries, at least when it comes to trout fishing. Even though I wish every stream could be catch and release/wild trout, I am willing to let this one be open for everyone. The pure size of fishable water of Little Indian Creek is amazing. It is definitely a freestone stream with a lot of boulders, large holes, big drop offs, long runs, fast runs. Etc. you name it Little Indian Creek has it. 

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What I also like is its location, it is not far from Floyd or Christiansburg, is almost dead in the middle. The only problem that I see with the stream is the amount of trash located around it, to have such a beautiful stream is such a great thing; but to have to climb over tires, watch out for hidden glass, and metal chaps my ass. But don’t let these things hinder you from coming here to fish. You will not be disappointed (well as long as you don’t step on glass or rip your waders). 

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It is sort of funny, when I first started this website I really didn’t mind the trash that much, or push for its removal. However now that I am apart of Trout Unlimited seeing streams like this infuriates me, whatever chapter is in charge of Floyd County should see to cleaning it up, with a handful of volunteers with trash bags this stream could be sparkling clean. Yes you might have to do it at least twice a year, but I feel that it would be worth it. By the way this is a big hint to the chapter that is over Floyd County, or to chapters that are close by that would love to have a nice area to fish.

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Additional Notes: 

There are several pull off spots along Little Indian Creek, just make sure you are off of the road completely, people tend to fly on this road.

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Directions:

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Laurel Fork

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Stream Category: Put and Take B

Wild Trout: 

Stocked Trout: Brown and Brook

Other Species of Note: None

Gear:

Dry Flies: Adams, Caddis

Nymphs: Stone Flies, Pheasant Tail, Prince, Hares, Midges, Mop Flies, and Squirmmy Wormies, 

Streamers: Kreelex, Minnow Patterns 

Waders: Yes

Net: Yes

Casting: Overhead, Tuck, and Roll.

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About:

Ok so I might be a tad bit biased when it comes to this stream; mainly because I grew up five minutes away from this stream, and it is fed by the pond at Mabry Mill on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Not to mention the fact that the stream is on private property and the owners let people fish it, my hat goes off to you people. 

For the majority of the stream you can walk it in an open field, just be aware that there are live stock in these fields, and that you should always close a gate that you have to open. As for the stream, it is a traditional mountain spring fed, sandy bottom stream that meanders slowly through farm land. When there is not a lot of rain, the stream runs slow, however after a good rain this stream runs fast. 

The fishing can be tough because of the bushes located all along of the stream bead, but if you are using a euro nymph set up you should be fine. On other parts of the stream, it opens up and you can use just about any cast. 

Apparently this stream was once a wild brook and brown trout streams, sadly though that is not the case. However this stream, along with Mabry Mill Pond, would be an excellent project for Trout Unlimited to look into restoring as a wild trout area, as long as the Federal Government/VDGIF/and the land owners would allow it. Honestly it is my firm belief that it could be a top destination to those that like to fish along the Blue Ridge Parkway and it would go with both the Parkway’s and the State of Virginia’s wish for tourism in this area. 

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Additional Notes: 

There are not a lot of parking places, please be mindful of where you park (making sure you are not on in the road, and not on posted property). Also take out what you bring in, let us keep these landowners happy so that we can continue to enjoy this stream.

Directions:

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Spring Run

 

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Stream Category: Special Regulations – Catch and Release

Wild Trout: Rainbow, Brown, Brook

Stocked Trout: 

Other Species of Note: None

Gear:

Dry Flies: Adams, Caddis

Nymphs: Stone Flies, Pheasant Tail, Prince, Hares, Midges, Mop Flies, and Squirmmy Wormies, Grey Scuds

Streamers: Kreelex, Minnow Patterns 

Waders: Yes

Net: Yes

Casting: Overhead, Tuck, and Roll.

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About:

Spring Run has always been a miss for me, I really have never experienced such a skunking in my life in regards to one stream. What infuriates me is to watch a fish rise right where they are supposed to rise, and then them not hitting anything. What is even more infuriating is that everyone swears by this stream, how awesome it is, that it is where the monsters come to play, yet I have yet to even get a bite. 

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Ok with that being said; this spring stream is simply beautiful. The area around it is well maintained, and there is hardly anyone there when I have been there. It has some very long deep runs that you see in spring fed streams, some very deep holes, and a lot of vegetation to contend with. Other than that fish it like you would any other spring creek and hope for the best. 

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Honestly I would not have anything bad to say about this stream, and I still recommend it, but just be prepared for a skunking. Hopefully one day I will catch one of the monsters there that I have personally seen. 

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***Side Note: I have only been here when it was very skinny water***

Additional Notes: 

There is a parking lot located at the stream. 

Directions:

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South Fork of the Holston River

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Stream Category: Special Regulation – Catch and Release Only

Wild Trout: Rainbow, Brown, and Brook

Other Species of Note: None

Gear:

Dry Flies: Unknown

Nymphs: Midges, Mop Flies, and Squirmmy Wormies

Streamers: Kreelex

Waders: Yes

Net: Yes (Big Net Preferred) 

Casting: Roll, Overhead, and Tuck

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About:

What can I say about the South Fork of the Holston River; well besides (in my opinion) it is the best fishery that Southwestern Virginia has to offer. It is a prime example why every county that is able to support wild trout should have a catch and release stream available. Honestly, if every county had a stream like the South Fork of the Holston River, there would be a lot less bickering between the catch and release community and the put and take community. 

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The only downside to this stream, unless you live close to Marion, Va, is that it is a haul to get there. From the Roanoke Valley, it takes a little under two and a half hours to get there. However those two and a half hours wasted driving are well worth it when you are able to catch citation size fish throughout the entire stream, not only are they citation sized but they are wild… yes wild. 

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Now let us get down to basics of the stream, it is roughly a mile stretch of freestone creek. In certain places the stream might only be five feet wide, while others it could be ten to fifteen feet wide. For the most part you will not need anything but hip waders. Be prepared to do some very tight roll casting and have fun when your able to rip a good overhead cast, however mainly you will be doing a lot of tuck casting. This stream is a Euro-nympher’s dream come true here in Virginia.

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As for the how to fish this creek: stock up on midges, these fish seem to love them – the smaller the better. In one section midges are almost all they will even consider eating, everything else spooks the bejesus out of them. But as you progress on downstream squirmy wormmies and mop flies produce quite often. You would think that other nymphs should work, but I am guessing after years of fishing pressure, these fish have become quite adept in telling the difference between a real nymph and a fake nymph. When it comes to streamers, the only streamer I have had consistent success with is the Kreelex, even then it only produces thirty percent of the time. Again these fish are intelligent. However if you hook into one of these fish be prepared for the battle of your life, I highly recommend using 5x tippet, anything smaller these fish will snap in a heartbeat. Also I recommend having a very large net with you, the smallest fish I have caught out of this stream has been eighteen inches long, well besides a few fingerlings. I know I have caught at least two citation rainbow trout in this area, and I have cussed myself for not having a measuring tape with me ever since. Also I know personally that this stream has held a state record brown trout in it, and as long as the stream is not abused this stream will definitely have a state record rainbow and brook trout one day in it. Luckily it is on state land and the VDGIF constantly patrols the area. 

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Additional Notes: 

Parking is right front of the VDGIF Hatchery office. 

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Directions:

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Roanoke River – City – Wasena

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Stream Category: Category A – stocked 8 times between October 1 and May 31.

Type of Stream: Freestone River

Stocked Trout: Rainbow and Brook

Other Species of Note: Smallmouth Bass, Largemouth Bass, Sunfish, and Carp

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Gear:

  • Dry Flies: Adams, Midges, Caddis, and Terrestrials
  • Nymphs: Pheasant Tails, Hares Ear, Prince Nymphs, Zebras, Caddis Pupae, Grub Worms, Squirmy Wormies, and Mop Flies
  • Streamers: Kreelax, Leeches, Sculpins, Wooley Buggers, and Minnow Patterns
  • Rod: 9-10’ 5-7 weight (depending on what species of fish you are targeting) Also Switch and Spey rods can be used on most sections.
  • Waders: Chest or Convertible Chest ( During late Spring, Summer, and early fall you can wet wade in shorts and river sandals. During late Fall, Winter, and early Spring waders will be needed)
  • Net: Big fish can be caught throughout the Roanoke River, it is highly recommended to bring a trout catch and release net wherever you are on the Roanoke. Additionally when fishing for Carp a larger fish net is recommended.
  • Additional Gear: Wading Staff

Casting: Overhead, Side, Tuck, and Roll.

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About:

***I apologize for not sugar coating this post, normally I try to keep my opinions to myself when it comes to Stream Posts for this site, however staying true to my intent of this site this must be said.***

Located in the City of Roanoke from Wasena Park to River’s Edge Sports Complex, adjacent to the Roanoke River Greenway, this section is a prime example of how detrimental over fishing and lazy “spot” stockings can be to a river.

This section is one of the easiest to access, a favorite of kayakers, tubers, bicyclists, walkers, and runners. Offering fast runs, deep pools, and several areas that are easily access by handicapped people. It’s a beautiful spot, it offers not only the outside lifestyle that most Roanokers love, also it offers several restaurants and bars that are within yards of the river. Sadly, when it comes to fishing, this area is a horrible and should be avoided.

So why is this section so bad that I would recommend avoiding it? Honestly it has nothing to do with kayakers and tubers, during the times that this section is stocked (October 1 – June 15) there are not that many kayakers and tubers out on the river to make a difference. The big problem is the lazy spot stockings that the state of Virginia executes each time this section is stocked. I understand that it might take extra work for the DGIF personnel and volunteers to stock different areas of this section instead of their yearly favorites (every low water bridge), nonetheless these yearly favorites give the stocked trout little chance to migrate through the river in order for this section to be a challenge to fishermen. Stocking in this section truly needs to be “spot” sporadic so that this section can be enjoyable for all fishermen.

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The final problem, the one that plagues every easily accessed stocked trout stream here in Virginia is over fishing. I’ve seen some of old photos (not of the Roanoke) where fishermen are elbow to elbow casting into the same hole after a stocking, every sized fish being taken, well this section of the Roanoke is exactly like those photos. People are literally elbow to elbow on the banks and off of the low water bridges fishing exactly where the state has stocked. The day after stocking, sadly, the only thing to be found in the river are hooks and fishing line that have been left to rot, zero fish- the occasional fish can be found on the bank, dead, from swallowing some fishermen’s power baited bass hook. I apologize to those spin fishermen that follow this site, however spin fishermen need to rethink how they fish and understand the harm that they cause to a river/stream by using tackle to big for trout (and probably bass).

So what are some solutions that could help this section of the Roanoke River? Honestly if the state of Virginia made this section delayed harvest or catch and release, this section of the Roanoke River would be one of the top areas to fish in the state. Because of it’s beauty, ease, and local attractions fishermen throughout the state would seek out this section to fish, knowing (because of the restrictions) that big fish will be found in this section throughout the State’s Trout season. Until the state addresses these issues, I can not in good conscious say that this section is worth the time and effort to fish.

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Directions:

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Roanoke River – Salem – Delayed Harvest

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Stream Category: Delayed Harvest

From October 1 through May 31, fishing on the following waters is permitted under the following regulations only:

1 Only artificial lures may be used.

2 No trout may be in possession (catch and release only) while fishing these waters.

3 No bait may be in possession while fishing these waters.

4 Trout license required October 1-June 15.

Note: During the period of June 1 through September 30 restrictions 1. through 3. above will not apply and these waters are like any other designated stocked trout.

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Type of Stream: Freestone River

Stocked Trout: Rainbow and Brook

Wild Trout: Rainbow, Brook, and Brown ( Although there are holdovers from previous DGIF stockings, wild trout, especially brown trout, can be seen throughout the entire Roanoke River.)

Other Species of Note: Smallmouth Bass, Largemouth Bass, Sunfish, and Carp

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Gear:

  • Dry Flies: Adams, Midges, Caddis, and Terrestrials
  • Nymphs: Pheasant Tails, Hares Ear, Prince Nymphs, Zebras, Caddis Pupae, Grub Worms, Squirmy Wormies, and Mop Flies
  • Streamers: Kreelax, Leeches, Sculpins, Wooley Buggers, and Minnow Patterns
  • Rod: 9-10’ 5-7 weight (depending on what species of fish you are targeting) Also Switch and Spey rods can be used on most sections.
  • Waders: Chest or Convertible Chest ( During late Spring, Summer, and early fall you can wet wade in shorts and river sandals. During late Fall, Winter, and early Spring waders will be needed)
  • Net: Big fish can be caught throughout the Roanoke River, it is highly recommended to bring a trout catch and release net wherever you are on the Roanoke. Additionally when fishing for Carp a larger fish net is recommended.
  • Additional Gear: Wading Staff

Casting: Overhead, Side, Tuck, and Roll.

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About:

Located in the City of Salem, from Colorado Street Bridge to the Salem Rotary Park, adjacent to the Roanoke River Greenway; this section is a prime example of why more delayed harvest streams are needed throughout the state of Virginia. The fishing in this area will run from extremely easy to extremely hard, depending on how much pressure the fish have seen over the course of a few days. Pay attention to the deep pools in this area, large amounts of trout seem to group together in the larger pools. Also take note to fish the long runs, smaller trout tend to love these sections and the bigger trout tend to stay at the bottom of the runs at the head of the pools.

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The fish in this section grow extremely large and should be treated with respect, having such fish in this area need to be protected at all cost. If you see someone bait fishing in the delayed harvest section please talk to them and explain that it is against the law for them to be bait fishing in this section during regulated months.

When it comes to flies, this is one of the few areas that stocked trout rise regularly for dry flies, take the time to observe what flies are hatching around you. As far as nymphs; use pheasant tails, hares ear, princes, and zebras along with mop flies and squirmy wormies. Always start off with a mop fly or a squirmy in this area, if no fish are hitting these flies switch to small midges and progress upward to pheasant tails, hares ear, and princes. Finally use streamers to grab the attention of those monster brook trout that love the deep pools in this section, if the brookies are not liking a kreelax, switch to dark sculpin or woolly bugger pattern.

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Remember when fishing this section to fish next to your feet first and progress outward- large trout love the banks of this area and they are spooked easily if you cast above them. Cover each section that you fish thoroughly using a grid like pattern.

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Additional Notes:

Parking lots are available, along with roadside parking. Remember this is a delayed harvest section and the no bait regulations still apply during the regulated months even if you are not fishing for trout. Be extra careful when casting, this sections is adjacent to the Roanoke River Greenway and is heavily trafficked by bikers and by people walking.

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Directions:

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Roanoke River – Green Hill Park

Stream Category: Delayed Harvest

From October 1 through May 31, fishing on the following waters is permitted under the following regulations only:

1 Only artificial lures may be used.

2 No trout may be in possession (catch and release only) while fishing these waters.

3 No bait may be in possession while fishing these waters.

4 Trout license required October 1-June 15.

Note: During the period of June 1 through September 30 restrictions 1. through 3. above will not apply and these waters are like any other designated stocked trout.

Stocked Trout: Rainbow and Brook

Wild Trout: Rainbow, Brook, and Brown ( Although there are holdovers from previous DGIF stockings, wild trout, especially brown trout, can be seen throughout the entire Roanoke River.)

Other Species of Note: Smallmouth Bass, Largemouth Bass, Sunfish, and Carp

Gear:

  • Dry Flies: Adams, Midges, Caddis, and Terrestrials
  • Nymphs: Pheasant Tails, Hares Ear, Prince Nymphs, Zebras, Caddis Pupae, Grub Worms, Squirmy Wormies, and Mop Flies
  • Streamers: Kreelax, Leeches, Sculpins, Wooley Buggers, and Minnow Patterns
  • Rod: 9-10’ 5-7 weight (depending on what species of fish you are targeting) Also Switch and Spey rods can be used on most sections.
  • Waders: Chest or Convertible Chest ( During late Spring, Summer, and early fall you can wet wade in shorts and river sandals. During late Fall, Winter, and early Spring waders will be needed)
  • Net: Big fish can be caught throughout the Roanoke River, it is highly recommended to bring a trout catch and release net wherever you are on the Roanoke River. Additionally when fishing for Carp, a larger fish net is recommended.
  • Additional Gear: Wading Staff

Casting: Overhead, Side, Tuck, and Roll.

 

About:

Located on the outskirts of the City of Salem, Green Hill Park is a family/pet friendly area that appeals to everyone that loves the outside. Because of several Non-profit groups diligent help in maintaining and upgrading Green Hill Park, the park appeals to anglers of all ages and to those anglers that are disabled. Green Hill Park is also the starting point for the Roanoke River Greenway in Salem, Virginia. The Roanoke River Greenway, which began as a small initiative in 1993, is a greenway that extends almost 30 miles from Salem to Roanoke, following its namesake the Roanoke River.

The Delayed Harvest Section of the Roanoke river in Green Hill Park stretches from the Route 760 Bridge (Diguids Lane) upstream 1 mile to a sign posted at the upper end of the park. Due to the park being a delayed harvest section the state of Virginia only stocks these waters 3 times per year, however Trout Unlimited does secret stockings throughout this section to keep it a prime location for trout fishermen.

The entire Roanoke River is a freestone stream that has a plethora of insect activity, fast runs that flow into elongated pools, and plenty of tree line for fish to hide under. Treating this river as you would any other mountain stream is good way to find where the fish are holding. Look for fast runs that are followed by long pools, any large rocks in flat areas, and cover that fish could use to hide in. When fishing the numerous runs and long pools make sure you are fishing the entire area from beginning to end.

When it comes to flies; gear towards weighted nymphs and streamers, the weight will make sure you are getting to the depth that you will need in order to catch fish in the Roanoke River. If you haven’t use squirmy wormies or mop flies look these flies up (mop and glo and squirmy wormies) they are deadly on the Roanoke river.

Dry fly fishing is tedious throughout the Roanoke River, not just the Green Hill Section, very few stocked trout will rise to eat topwater flies. However if you want to be successful at dry fly fishing on the Roanoke river take a few minutes to observe what flies are hatching along the bank and see what nymphs are under the rocks, from there use a dry-dropper rig that matches the flies you have seen. Your dropper nymph should be slightly weighted and you should use a long section of tippet between your dry and dropper nymph.

Additional Notes:

When fishing at Green Hill Park use the parking provided by the park. The handicapped section of river is located at the second to last parking area inside the park, it will be visible from the road. Be mindful that the Roanoke River is a river and not a stream, the river can be very deep in spots so wade carefully.  Check weather conditions for the Salem/Roanoke, VA area, heavy rains and snow melts can quickly flood the river.

When fishing for any other species besides trout remember that this is a delayed harvest section between October 1 – June 15 and even though you are fishing for other species the delayed harvest restrictions still apply.

Directions

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Carp Time is the Right Time!

It is apparent by looking at social media that Carp Time is the Right Time! For once I am totally in agreement with social media, fly fishing for carp is by far one of the most excited and most rewarding experiences a fly fisherman can have. For everyone that thinks that carp are a trash fish, not worth your time, please continue to think this so that I can fish them in your stead. But for those that already know how fun these fish are let’s take a moment and all agree that when you set the hook on a carp they sound like R2-D2 screaming. Ok, so they don’t literally make that sound, but I swear in my head, that is sound I always imagine them making when I set the hook.

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Disclaimer: I am not expert on fishing for carp, I am a novice!

Here are some of the challenges you will experience if you have never fly fished for carp:

  1. Not using the proper rod can be disastrous.
  2. Not using the proper leader can be disastrous.
  3. Not using the proper tippet can be disastrous.
  4. They are easily spooked.
  5. They can see you coming.
  6. They can hear you coming.
  7. They put off a pheromone to warn other carp around them that there is danger.
  8. They stink.
  9. They will slim you.
  10. You must be able to cast to them accurately.
  11. They always swallow your fly; you will need forceps or barbless flies.
  12. You’ll never truly know what fly they are feeding on; they eat everything.
  13. You will get skunked fishing for carp.

So why are they so much fun?

Remember the biggest brown trout or small mouth bass that you ever caught; remember the fight that they put up. Remember how your line reel screamed as that fish tried to muscle towards its freedom.  Now remember that pure joy when you finally netted that beast. This, my friend, is why carp on the fly has been getting so much attention. Carp are powerhouse fish- even the smallest will probably take you to your backing like a big trout or bass will do- you will have to fight them every step of the way to shore/boat. These fish get big, really big! Good luck if you are using a traditional trout net, because these fish will probably not fit into one of those.

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Okay, okay, so maybe you are one of those that do not care for the fight that these fish display, nor how big they really can get. Instead you are more of technical fly fisherman; you dream of the perfect stalk, then the perfect cast, followed by a perfect mend, then a tight line, finished by the perfect take! Well carp do not suffer fools; they require all of the action and precision that a technical fly fisherman love about the sport and more.

Going back to the disclaimer; I am a novice when it comes to fly fishing for carp, but I am not a novice when it comes to fly fishing in general.  Fly fishing for carp is a very humbling experience to say the least. You will have to be able to read water, stalk carp, and be very sneaky; the slightest noise or shadow will send these fish racing away. Also of note: carp often feed in packs and let out a pheromone when they sense danger warning the other carp nearby. If you scare one you scare the whole pod away as well. Well shit! Yep, even if you are good at reading, stalking, and being sneaky, you will have to choose the perfect fly, be able to sight cast with precision (within one foot in front of the fish), then you will have to slowly get your line tight, and patiently wait on the slightest tug (unless you are using a strike indicator, which can also be disastrous if it spooks the carp). Well SHIT! Like I said, these fish are a technical fly fisherman’s dream come true. Ultimately if your fly line, leader, or tippet touch these fish, if your fly line or fly makes too much noise hitting the water’s surface, if you are lazy, impatient, and do not respond to the slightest take all of the carp you were fishing for will disappear into a big cloud of mud. WELL SHIT!

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Honestly it blows my mind when someone one (spin fisherman and/or fly fisherman) says they wouldn’t fish for carp. I always hear, “ugh, I wouldn’t eat them; why are you fishing for those fish?” Who the hell cares if they are not desirable to eat! When was the last time you went fishing solely for the purpose of catching to keep?  Let’s be honest, you never went to catch to keep, you went fishing to catch fish- to experience the fight. If you want fish to eat, save yourself money on a fishing license and go buy a fish at the local supermarket.  Carp fishing will not only humble you; it will make you into a better technical angler, rewarding you with the fight of a life time-that you earned- every time you hook into a carp.

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P.S. If you are still not impressed with carp, please continue to not fish for them. It makes fishing a heck of a lot easier when I am not elbow to elbow with people.

P.P.S If you are interested in carp on the fly then I suggest you read/buy this book: Carp on the Fly: A flyfishing guide by Barry Reynolds, John Berryman, and Brad Befus