Part 1 - Where To Locate Carp
Sean Martin, Ben Thomas and Galen Yerex
With Carp being such a large fish that is not afraid to come into the shallows, and usually travels in pods of a dozen or more, all one needs to do is look, to find these Fresh water brutes. So, let us dive into finding some areas that Carp may target.
As I mentioned above, you can find them in the Great lakes and Rivers throughout North America but let us focus on Canada more specifically.
You can catch Carp from Quebec to Saskatchewan, with rumors of captures in Alberta, BC, and New Brunswick, respectively. From the St. Lawrence River in Quebec, Lake Ontario, Georgian Bay, to Lake of the Prairies in Saskatchewan, the fishing opportunities are endless. And all can easily be accessed by land. That is one of the best parts about Carp fishing, one does not need an expensive boat to get around as most fish can be caught right from the shoreline. The first thing one should do when looking for areas to target is hop onto the internet or find a quality, up to date map of your area to see what water bodies are nearby. With Carp being such a hearty, and highly adaptive fish, you can find them pretty much anywhere from Large open lakes, to narrow, shallow Rivers, swamps and marshes, even in flooded ditches and fields in the Spring.
There are some key areas one can target them, that just might give you a slight edge in locating these large schools of fish.
Let us start with Lakes. During the winter, Carp will find deeper holes to group in as they wait out the cold, frozen months. In the spring months, between April and May, they will start to venture out into the warmer, shallower waters in search of food, and spawning grounds. This is the best time of year to locate schools of Carp in my opinion, as their movements usually stir up all kinds of activity in the water. You will often see them thrashing around in the shallows, and along the shores as they engage in the yearly spawning ritual and due to their large size, they can be easily identified.
If you can locate the mouth of Rivers, bays, creeks, and any warm water spill outs, you would be better off, as they tend to be high traffic areas, and popular feeding grounds for Carp, but do not be afraid to look around rural areas as well, especially early in the Spring as they will look for the river mouths and smaller streams, sometimes finding their way into ponds and reservoirs due to flooding. Spring is by far the best time of year to target lakes, as the summer months tend to be very weedy in most cases.
River Carp fishing is a completely different experience on its own, especially in the faster currents. If you are going to target Carp in the Rivers, I would highly recommend looking for some slack water either off a bend in the River, or on a stretch with a calm current. These are areas where you will likely see signs of life in the area, and even more so in the early morning, where you are likely to see a few breaching the surface. Spillways and Dams are also great spots to locate on Rivers, as the fish tend to target them in hopes of catching some free offerings. Summer and fall are great times to fish these areas.
Parks and marshlands are also excellent locations to target, as they attract Geese, and Ducks amongst other birds, which in turn attracts the people who feed them. You will quite often find Carp in these areas as they will eat all the scarps that made their way to the bottom. As mentioned before, there are opportunities to catch Carp in smaller streams as well, I have seen them in 12 inches of water and on some occasions even less, so do not be afraid to look at these areas, more specifically during the spring months with higher water levels. At the end of the day, the easiest way to locate these fish is to grab a Map, get out on the banks, travel around to different areas, and talk with local anglers, you will be surprised how many will be willing to help you out with some useful information. Here at CCS, I am quite sure you may hear about a spot or two.
Now I know it is easy to want to keep things simple and affordable when it comes to bait, and for the most part that is all one really needs, but it would be wrong of me not to mention the endless variety of commercially manufactured baits at your disposal on the internet, and in a few Retail stores across the country. These are specialty formulated baits designed specifically for a Carps diet and feeding habits. These can be a bit more expensive options when it comes to feed, but I have to say that using some of these high quality, and highly effective baits, can make all the difference when it comes to not only attraction, but in your chances to consistently catch some high quality, Canadian Carp.