How to Catch Carp
How to Catch

How to Catch Carp and Cook them

November 25, 2011
(Post last updated: April 13, 2015)
What You Will Learn In This Article:
  • About Carp
  • How to Catch Carp
  • Keeping and Cooking

How to Catch Carp

About Carp

It seems that a fellow named Tulius Poppe of Sonoma, California managed to import about half a dozen small carp from Germany in 1872. Carp, if nothing else, are survivors. And the Sonoma carp did survive and reproduce. Soon offspring were sold to farms throughout California. By the 1890’s, carp had settled in all over the United States.

Other interesting facts about carp: They can survive in the murkiest water, so murky that light can’t penetrate; water temperatures above 100F don’t phase them; and life spans reach 50 years. Carp are considered a great game fish in Europe.

Anglers practicing catch and release use highly sophisticated tackle to take 20 and 30 pounders. By the way, goldfish, the ones in the aquarium and ponds, are members of the carp family.

How to Catch Carp

Carp are all over the place in Northern California – lakes, sloughs, rivers, and farm ponds. They are the mainstay of bow fishermen at places like Clear Lake. The Delta is another carp haunt as the large North California reservoirs.

They can provide great sport for those who enjoy big fish on light tackle. Doughball baits are probably the most popular. Carp are also fond of molasses-coated popcorn.

Rigging is simple. You can use a catfish rig, or a sliding sinker rig like that used for striped bass or trout. A #3 hook is about right. For calm, shallow waters little or no weight is needed.

Any type of light, freshwater tackle will do. In the fall, when waters reach their warmest temperature, carp are active and fishing is good.

Keeping and Cooking

There is an excess of carp; therefore; anglers should keep them when caught. That’s because carp eat game fish spawn. But cooking carp so that they are enjoyable to eat is a challenge to most people. Anglers with Asian or European cooking prowess can turn carp into a delicacy.

These experts say that the flaky, white, mild-flavored flesh is ideal for frying, baking in a sauce or braising.

Last Updated: January 18, 2015

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