Idaho Desert Carp

Ever since I started targeting carp with a fly rod back around 2015, I’ve been in love with it. They’re about all I’ll fish for in the urban areas of the Twin Cities, and I’ve never gotten tired of it. They’re smart, strong, super cool fish, not to mention they are absolutely everywhere. Though I spend a lot of time targeting them through the open water season, I hadn’t had the opportunity to fish for them anywhere else besides around Minneapolis until recently.

Moving out to eastern Idaho and for summer work has certainly been a change of scenery from back home and I have been fortunate enough to spend a lot of time on the water since I’ve been out here. However I do enjoy trout fishing, I’ve really missed much of the stillwater and lake fishing I normally do back home. I’d heard from various sources that lower sections of the Snake River have large populations of carp in them, so I decided to venture out and try to find them myself. I ended up driving downstream a couple hours until the river widened out and appeared to become shallower, at which point I looked on a map to try to find a road that would take me down to the river from the highway. I eventually found one and took it, and after short observations the spot looked alright. I grabbed my gear and set off wading upstream from where I got in the water, and the spot was looking even better as I walked up. I wasn’t expecting a lot to be completely honest, but before I knew it I’d walked up on a school of nice size fish mudding in about a foot of water. I was amazed, and my first cast I dropped the fly in among them and hooked up. It wasn’t a huge fish, a mid-twenty something incher, but I was beyond excited to have made some success for myself that quickly. Looking behind me I saw that I had only made it about 100 feet down the beach, and I began to feel like I was in store for an amazing day.

Maybe another fifty feet of walking later I walked up on a feeding pair, tails out of the water, digging in the mud. I knew this one was basically a guarantee since any fish feeding hard like these would eat for sure. I crept up close to them and set my fly right on the bigger of the two fish’s nose, and he jumped on it as soon as it got to the bottom. Hooked up again, not two minutes later, I could tell this fish was bigger than the last. He slowly turned out all my fly line over the course of a minute or two before he really took off, screaming about 100 yards of backing off my 9wt faster than I thought he would. He finally made it out to a patch of weeds offshore, buried himself in it and broke me off. I knew after that fish I had to really give anything else I hooked some muscle if I wanted to land it.

As predicted that day continued as it started, and I ended up landing seven carp and losing another four in about two hours, by far the best day of carp fishing I’ve ever had. The four fish of the seven that I measured were all over 30”, with the biggest being 32”. With an average size like that, the fish being as powerful and as wily as they were, it made for an amazing day. And not to mention, the location was spectacular. I can honestly say that a lot of the time I felt that I was wading a saltwater flat for bonefish somewhere.

Though it’s a bit of a drive, I can definitely say that I’ll be returning to that section of river before I head home for the winter. If you live around eastern Idaho, or anywhere in the States for that matter, give the trash fish a try if you haven’t. You won’t be disappointed.