When the heat of the summer hits and the river gets low and clear, water temps increase and trout become lethargic due to the increasing water temps. They go into survival mode and become increasingly wary as the water is at its lowest level of the year. We have been fortunate this year and have had relatively low temps and only a few days that were truly unfishable. Being a catch and release fishery, we give the trout a rest in the summer and follow other pursuits. I have been golfing more and smallmouth fishing, however, as of late I have been chasing a fish that really got me into fly fishing. Grass carp on the fly are really one of the most addicting, challenging, and rewarding experiences a fly fisherman could ask for. They are spooky, finicky, and hardfighting when hooked, that is if you can get one to eat your fly. Carp are often looked down upon as a trash fish, but I promise if you give them a chance you might get addicted, as it is all sight fishing to an extremely large and wary fish with light tippet and tackle. It ends up being more like hunting.
Anyways, with the higher temps and lower flows I have given the trout a rest and heavily pursued the grass carp in an attempt to get ready for our upcoming bonefish trip in December. I also was trying to prove to myself that I'm not a trout snob (still trying.) There is a large pond a mile from my house that holds a healthy population of grass carp. This is where I really honed my fly fishing skills 2 years ago. To catch one you need to be an accurate and stealthy caster, which is something I struggle with due to the fact I generally fish streamers which don't really require too much stealth.
I headed down to the pond in the morning and was shocked to see over 10 grassies tailing and feeding on the surface. I tied a fly on that I have named the Caesar Salad and got to work stalking and casting to the feeding giants. The fly imitates a clump of grass or algae it is super easy to tie and highly effective. Mulberry flies work as well, you must cast them as stealthy as possible as they tend to make a big splash that will spook the grass carp more often than not. I quickly hooked one and snapped off. I had one more eat that I missed a hook set on in the first 10 minutes I was there. I put down my rod and called my friend Dane Schmucker. I had brought Dane to the pond before and the fishing sucked, and assured him this time it would be worth his while to get out here. Dane is a highly accomplished carp fisherman and just as good of a photographer and video editor, so I was excited to see what he could do. We mainly had last second refusals refusals and a few missed hook sets on my part (need a wider gap hook.) Dane finally got one to eat a chartreuse carp fly he invented called that looks like an egg with a berry stem and the fight was on! After a lengthy battle, Dane landed his first grassie on the fly! It was an awesome sight to see and I'm glad I was there to witness it. I still haven't landed my grassie for the summer but I'm hoping to get a chance to change that with the heat wave that is headed our way.
Check out Dane's instagram for a video clip of the fight and all things carp fishing! His page is listed as: @Creek_Rat_Media and he does some awesome work on the lens and an even better job editing his work.
As always, thanks for reading! Streamer season is quickly approaching and we have some guided trips available! This is your best chance of catching a trophy trout in our waters.