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: