Lake Champlain Carp Flies - with Drew Price
Self confessed fish geek and expert guide Drew Price is totally at home on Champlain where he “hunts” his quarry, being a sight fisherman at heart. “It’s all about finding them, positioning yourself and placing a fly in front of feeding fish” says Drew. He enjoys fishing for everything and enjoys catching everything. So enjoy as he describes Lake Champlain and shares his tactics and catches. Keep up with him at http://dponthefly.blogspot.com and http://www.drewpriceonthefly.com.
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As generalists, carp will eat almost anything and that makes life a lot easier for bug chuckers. There are definitely times when the carp do key in on one food item and if you don’t have a good imitation you will get really frustrated. The key to avoiding that frustration is to have a wide range of flies with you. Dave Whitlock has written many times that it pays off to have flies in three weights- unweighted, lightly weighted and depth charge- and I completely agree with him. If you have patterns in all three styles of weight you will be able to work water up to 8 feet deep without many issues. Brass beads give a nice mid weight to a fly while tungsten beads or lead eyes will put your fly on the bottom quickly. Match the fly to the situation and you will do well.
A selection for carp on Champlain should include a variety of flies. Here is a list of flies and sizes to keep on hand:
- Gold Ribbed Hare’s Ear 8-16
- San Juan Worm 8-14
- Rubber Legged Red Fox Squirrel Nymph 6- 12
- Clouser Swimming Nymph (olive, tan, rust) 6-12
- Whitlock’s Near ‘Nuff Crayfish (olive, rust, tan) 4-10
- Eggi-Juan Kenobi size 10-14
- Befus Bug (tan, olive/brown, olive, rust) 6-10
- Barry’s Carp Fly (tan, rust, olive) 4-10
- Prince Nymph 8-14
- Woolly Bugger (olive, black, brown rust) 6-14
Several of Jean-Paul Lipton’s patterns have proved their worth as well:
- Armored Car San Juan Worm
- Admiral Akbar
- Dragon Slayer
- Carp Crack
I have come up with a few patterns myself that have worked out very nicely.
- Foxy Lady 4-10
- San Juan Twin 6-10
- Simple Crawdad 4-10
- Drew’s Dad 6-8
- Marabou Hex
A few other fly considerations you might want in your box are Hexagenia emergers and dries. In late June and early July Lake Champlain comes alive with Hex mayflies in the evening and through the night. Carp in some locations will slurp down these big bugs with reckless abandon. Be sure to have lights on your craft to be legal if you fish at night. It is also worth having a few baitfish patterns in the mix too. I have run into big carp chasing down minnows in the shallows several times and been caught unaware. That isn’t happening again!