Tuesday, August 24, 2021

100 Grass Carp

 Despite missing a solid month of fishing the creek due to high water this summer, I was catching Grass Carp very well.  So well, I decided to try to reach a goal of 100 Grass Carp on a fly rod in 1 year.

Let me put this into perspective.  Grass Carp are considered to be a difficult fish to catch on any gear, and especially on artificials and flies/flyfishing gear.  And that has been my experience previously.  In Iowa I targeted Grass Carp that had been stocked in public ponds for aquatic vegetation control.  These fish are extremely spooky, difficult to spot (the just disappear in the water), and generally ignore my flies.

In ~ 10 years of trying, I fair-hooked (in the mouth) a number of them.  These are big, powerful fish, and it seemed whatever could go wrong WOULD go wrong when fighting them....straightened hooks, broken lines, tangled fly line, hooks pulled out, fish diving into weeds or thick algae....you name it, it would happen.  I landed 5!

2020 was our last season in Iowa, we moved to Saint Louis, Missouri, in mid July of that year.  In the 1/2 year before we moved, I managed to land 2 more Grass Carp, for a total of 7 from Iowa.

In the rest of 2020, in Missouri, I caught 14 Grass Carp!  Twice as many as I ever caught in Iowa...in just 1/2 year!  I was thrilled with that kind of success!

Well, this year started off slow, with a couple Grass Carp here and there.  They did seem to like it when I used a microjig (1/80th or 1/64th) under an indicator.  I caught a couple on black, and all the rest on chartreuse.

As the water warmed up, the fishing slowly got better...to the point where I was catching multiple Grass Carp on every outing.  I had 2 consecutive outings where I caught 13 Grass Carp each trip!  And eventually 14 in one day!  

14 in one day....That is as many as I'd caught the previous 1/2 year in Missouri!

At that point, I had 85 Grass Carp for the year.  I needed just 15 more to reach a goal of 100 Grass Carp on the Fly in One Year.  I took a weekday off from work, since it was my birthday, and hit the creek.  I wasn't sure I could reach the goal in a single outing...I'd have to catch more Grassies in one day than I ever had before.  And I really didn't care if I reached the goal that day anyway...I just wanted to make decent dent in the remainder of fish I needed to catch to reach 100.  There was a good month at least of fishing ahead.

I did it.  I caught 17 Grass Carp on my birthday!  That put me over 100 Grass Carp on flies for the year!  I kind of burned myself out doing it, so I skipped fishing the following weekend altogether.  I will likely continue to fish for Grass Carp occasionally the rest of this season.  They really are fun!

So far, I've seen all manner of strikes from these Grass Carp.  Aggression I never would have expected from these fish.

I've had a few that chased down the fly as I was rapidly stripping it in to re-cast.  I've had them appear to spook, only to then turn around to see what spooked them, and hit it.  I've had ones that were nosing along the edge of the water on the far bank that would turn and come out 10-15 away from the bank to where I'd cast my fly and hit it.  I've had pods of them gang-rush/swarm the fly and indicator.  Many that just ate the indicator.  Lots of them follow the sound of the "plop" of the fly and indicator hitting the water to investigate and eat.  Many invisible fish that hit along laydowns or under overhanging trees, or in faster current areas.

These are recycled pictures from earlier posts, but these are some of the better Grass Carp I caught while flyfishing this year:

Mid-August 2021

The creek water level has remained good.  I've noticed it appears pretty stained much of the time, and it appears this is due to fish stirring up the fine sediments on the bottom, probably more than runoff from the occasional rain. 

As far as flyfishing, its been much the same... fishing the creek mainly for Grass Carp, and whatever else will strike.  Seemed like there was more variety at this time last year, but I'm fishing differently than last year, so this may explain the reduction in species.

I did get another Goldeye, I think this is the first one since April?

I got a nice 23" Channel Catfish that looked much longer, IMO.

Grass Carp have been cooperating pretty well.

Shortnose and Longnose Gar have been caught.
A few small channel catfish have been willing to strike.

Below, I believe, is an American Snout butterfly.

Thursday, August 12, 2021

Early August 2021

 I've been mostly flyfishing for Grass Carp... (a.k.a. Missouri Mahseer, Backwater Barramundi, Veg Tarpon, Pruning Permit, Goliath Grass Grouper), with a few Shortnose Gar thrown in the mix.

I started off the year well with Grass Carp, so even though I "lost" a month when the creek was high and unfishable, I'm trying to see if I can get to 100 Grass Carp on flies in 1 year.  Or at least reach a "lifetime" total of at least 100 Grass Carp on flies.  As of August 11, I'm sitting at 71 for the year, and 92 lifetime.   The "lifetime" number should be obtainable.  The "100-in-a-year" number is going to be a big challenge to reach.  29 to go!


The fish above and below (same fish) was a good one!

Snake skin sheds:

The Grass Carp below is currently my biggest from Missouri.... 34", calculated weight of 15 lb-19 lb range.  Heckuva fighter!