Don’t be ashamed of being a carp angler

If you like catching fish that put up a good fight when you catch them, and can easily grow to whopper size, you might want to look into a fish you probably never thought of trying to catch before – carp.

Carp of all types are invasive species in Wyoming waters. They aren’t native, and they don’t have many natural predators. They feed on some of the same forage favored by native species, and in some areas, they outcompete those Wyoming natives. They’re considered nongame fish, and there’s no limit on the number of carp you can catch.

But most people consider them trash fish, and few anglers would ever dream of intentionally trying to catch them. But if you want an exciting fight and a chance at landing a huge fish, maybe you should consider trying to hook a carp.

In some parts of the country, carp can easily get as big as 20 or 30 pounds. There have even been carp recorded weighing more than 60 pounds. Our water conditions aren’t as favorable here, but 10- or 15-pound carp are not uncommon. The Wyoming state record Asian carp was 34 pounds, 15 ounces, and the state record grass carp was 35.6 pounds. But you don’t have to hook into a state record to get a heck of a fight out of a carp. Even the smaller ones will fight like crazy and test your skills.

I know some folks fly-fish for carp, and those anglers suggest rust-colored or less colorful flies. Bait-fishing or spin-casting anglers swear by corn or a commercial bait called Boilies. The carp anglers all say no matter what you try, though, you should use dark hooks, not shiny ones. Carp are pretty wary, which is another reason more people are getting hooked on the challenge of carp fishing.

If you’re not getting the excitement you crave fishing for trout, maybe you should try catching a carp. You don’t have to admit you’re actually trying to catch them, so what’s the harm? You may find the challenge to be addictive.

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