Saturday, May 30, 2009

Fly Fishing For Monster Carp Utah Style


Catch Trophy Trout Near Salt Lake City Utah !
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From A Muscle Bound Quarry

Utah’s temperamental spring has finally given over to summer - no longer do we need to use heaters and air-conditioners on the same day. The waters have warmed considerably and that means it is time to go fly-fishing for carp! Let’s briefly review the benefits of going after Utah’s golden bone fish and if you haven’t fished for this excellent quarry, you are simply missing out on one of Utah's finest and most resourceful game fish. They are large, wary, and strong and will test your skill and equipment to the breaking point.

Look At What I Saw and Caught

Photo Utah Carp Caught On A Fly

Certainly, carp are available as a "by catch" in many waters however few anglers target carp exclusively. We believe the most enjoyable way to catch carp is to sight fish for them in shallow warm waters. Many authors have noted how close this activity is to fishing for bonefish in salt water flats and, while carp do not exhibit the raw speed of the bonefish, their size and stamina is unrivaled among freshwater fish.
So, how do we fish for them? Your first step is to find water where carp are visible in shallow, clear flats. In Utah, the warm, fresh water flats adjacent to the Great Salt Lake afford quite a few locations, as well as Utah Lake and other waters. Your next step is to make sure your equipment is ready. You may be able to land large carp on less than 6 lb. test tippet, but we do not suggest going any lighter. I fish with a 9’ 5 weight rod and consider this the minimum weight fly rod capable of reasonable landing of the carp. We want to land them, not tickle them into submission. Your choice of fly can be just about any available nymph pattern matching the natural food sources available to the carp.

Pick Your Flies Wisely and Cover Your Scent

Remember that carp are omnivores and eat plants as well as insects. Nymphs which match the color of the available plant life seem to be more successful than other colors. Also, do not hesitate to fish in the moss or algae where the carp often feed. One secret technique is to rub your nymph or even a sculpin with local mud and moss to cover your scent! Experience has taught us that carp have an unbelievable sense of smell and if you want to get a “quick” hit, get rid of the human odor. Otherwise you may end up letting your fly soak in the water and after some time goes by the scent will eventually be gone but so may be the carp. So use this tip wisely.

Cast Where Your Target Is Going

Photo monster common carp Utah

When you see the carp cruising or see them rolling on the surface, do not cast directly to them; rather, try to guess which direction they are moving and place your cast in their path. The clearer the water, the longer the lead; if the water is very clear lead by 6 to 10 or even 12 feet. In water less clear, your lead can be shortened to 3 feet. Sometimes, you will need to tease your nymph jerking it 6 to 12 inches to entice a strike. More often than not, however, simply letting the nymph drop and sit on the bottom induces a strike. An adjustable strike indicator is also a good idea and may help suspend the fly just off the bottom of the pond or lake in the proper water column the fish are feeding in.

Set Your Hook and Hang On !

Photo trophy carp caught at Lake Bountiful Utah

A solid hook set is then required, this hooks the carp in its rather rubbery mouth. Now, hang on for a reel burning first run! Keep your hands clear of the reel or you will get a really bad “knuckle buster” of a “whack” on your fingers. You need to fight Carp aggressively; do not “horse” them in, but keep pressure on them, work you line back onto your reel, and let your reel’s drag and your rod fight the fish. Carp typically “run” parallel to your position so gently swing the rod tip in the opposite direction of the run. Also maintain the reel position about navel high with the rod pointing at the fish. To slow the run slowly point the tip upward. This lets the rod work in conjunction with the drag of the reel so you don’t apply too much pressure and risk breaking the line. If you feel this tension is too great simply lower the tip and point at the fish to relieve some pressure and allow the drag to run out some more line or backing. Big carp will let your line see sunlight for the first time in years! This technique is used to successfully land all big freshwater or salt water game fish.

He's Running South To Mexico !!

(and taking all of your line and backing with him)

Photo Monster Common Carp Utah

Make sure you get the fish on the reel, your hands can’t compensate for the changing line pressures like the reel and rod. So use the tools that were designed for the job. As you direct the fish from one side to the other during the parallel run you can reel in line as he comes directly in front of you, if you reel quickly . You can also point the tip of the rod up to “coax” him to come straight in for a few seconds. Trust me; it will only be a few seconds before he goes sideways again. Carp are some of the finest fighting fish I have experienced in the Western States. So go out and have some reel fun. Be prepared for several hard runs, like he’s going to Mexico and watch him closely near the shore. They don’t give up like trout or bass often do when they see a human. I have seen many a carp head straight south after I have had them to shore two or even 3 times.

Say "Golden Bone Fish", Click
Photo another uncommonly big carp in Utah

Once you have landed your fish, take pictures and revive the carp quickly. In some waters, you are encouraged not to return the carp to the water. Unfortunately, the bias against carp is justified in some waters so we suggest following the recommendation; however, wherever possible, release the fish so someone else has the honor and opportunity to catch it.

No fish is better suited to test your skills of casting, fighting and landing large game fish with exceptional fight and stamina. They are great practice for landing that trout of a lifetime.

It may be true that in spring, a young mans thoughts turn to love but as the afternoons warm and evenings lengthen, the summer fly fisher begins to think about his strongest – and possibly wariest – adversary. And that is why we call them Utah’s golden bone fish.

Fly Hatch For Week Ending Saturday June 6, 2009

Afternoon rain turns to dry sunny afternoons this week and that will affect the evening hatch pushing it later into the day, in some cases right up to dusk. The time just before sunset when the Sun drops below the West mountains and the air begins to cool and the emergers become active as well as the older adults from hatches of days gone by that come into the pond area to deposit eggs for the next generation. The old adults "flit and Skirt" across the waters surface trying to avoid the preditors that lurk below while ovipositing the next generation of eggs into the pond. This is also the time when the fish rise high in the water column to feed. The dinner bell has just sounded and the lunkers are ready to "Come and Get It" !!!

Generally ignoring the older adults, they feed on the emergers as they try to escape their shell and crawl through that thin layer of water surface, the miniscus, to escape their water world and enter the air as a new adult. This is the time the trout are feeding and taking advantage of the moving "buffet" as it makes its break for the new world. It is also the "magic" time for the dry fly fisherman. The trout seize the emergers and turn down with the mouthful they have just slurped or gulped. If that happens to be your fly the trout is about to get a really sharp surprise and the reaction is typically to go back to the surface and rocket out of the water like a missle launched from a submarine. LET THE GOOD TIMES ROLL!

Check out our Fly Hatch Chart at:

Monday, May 25, 2009

How Fly Fishing Saved My Marriage

Check Out Our Website Featuring Access To Trophy Trout And Fly Fishing Instruction ! Come And Catch The Big Ones!!!

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Don't Miss All Our Trophy Game Fish Photo's And Tips Available On This Blog, Simply Pick Your Selection From The List On The Right !!!

Amber's Fly Fishing Experience:

Here is a sad - but true - story:

Jason and Amber had been married for 5 years. Jason was a golf nut and Amber absolutely hated golf. She was getting upset about all the time Jason spent golfing. And now, Jason had taken up fly-fishing. His golf clubs gathering dust in the garage, Jason had enrobed himself with the latest in fly fishing clothing and armored himself with the finest gear. Amber was really interested in learning how to fly-fish and thought this would be a great opportunity for them to quality time together. They were even planning a special trip in the fall to fish the legendary waters of Montana.

So, Jason and Amber purchased equipment for her and headed off to a lake two hours drive away to teach Amber the finer points of fly fishing.

It was a beautiful day for fly fishing: chilly, overcast with an occasional cold drizzle - the kind of day fish love and ladies despise.

Jason started to show Amber the "four count rhythm" he had learned from A River Runs through It. Trying as best she could, Amber couldn't seem to make it work right. Valiantly keeping at it, she tried again and again but her line would either snag the back cast or pile in front of her like a large pile of limp, green spaghetti. This was accompanied by Jason's rising frustration.

The ensuing argument seemed inevitable - the rising tones of anger, the misconstrued meanings and finally, icy silence was about to separate the two, now frustrated and angered opponents - when, rocketing up like a submarine launched cruise missile, a very large cutthroat trout lept from the waters surface. It was enormous! It was the largest fish Jason had ever seen and larger than anything Amber would have even imagined inhabited this, or any other, body of water. Even in the muted, dismal afternoon, its colors shown as if it had been enameled and jeweled like a Faberge egg created for the Czarina. And, affixed to its toothy maw, was Amber's fly.

The fish, now re-entered the lake making the water erupt like a fat kid doing his favorite cannon ball into the swimming pool.

The pile of spaghetti slowly began to move toward the murky depth as the fish end of the fly line rocketed away as if shot by a crossbow. Amber stood frozen as Jason started to babble instructions,sounding like a cleric calling for prayer. By some mystery (probably a manifestation of string theory) the spaghetti pile disappeared, the line tightened and Amber's reel began to sing. She stood motionless and, hearing Jason's incoherent expletives, some of the meaning began to work its way into Amber's consciousness. She was not only stung by the vindictive nature of the tirade, but also offended by the verbiage and - even more hurtful - the language. She looked at Jason as if he had just landed from Planet Vulcan. Realizing that he had crossed some verbal boundary and ventured into the no man's land of female indignation - he suddenly stopped.

The scene was now supremely silent and the ashen sky was a mirror of their ashen expressions. Amber and Jason looked at each other,as an icy wind began to blow between them. Suddenly, the silence was ruptured by a sound. It was a quite sound but resounded with all the violence and portent of a grenade:


The drive home was a mere foreshadowing of the ensuing arguments and recriminations. Amber and Jason's love, which once shone as bright as the cutthroat's crimson neck wear, now seemed as gloomy as the sallow skies that had accompanied them on that eventful day.

Jason no longer golfed or went fly fishing - instead he began drinking - and Amber wondered what happened to the gallant knight she had married.

Nonetheless, there is a happy ending to this story.

In the interest of brevity, we shall simply say that it took professional counseling and training to root out the deep seated emotions and disappointments.

And, in the end, Trophy Trout School ...well...we really don't know if it saved the marriage but; the last we heard from Amber, she still takes pride in being able to out double-haul her husband. And Jason; proud husband, felt that each trophy caught and released, was never more worthy of admiration, or as beautiful, as his fly-fishing wife; Amber.

"Click Here For Trophy Trout School"

Fenwick Fleigenbinder

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Municipal Ponds Utah Part II

Let’s Revisit Municipal Ponds (Urban Fishery Utah)

But First A Quick Up-Date On Dry Flies This Week

Fly Hatch For Week Ending May Saturday 23, 2009

Midges in the morning and late evening: White body, clear wing and Black body clear wing. Quite small 20-26. Wasp and yellow jackets are also present in very very small numbers so I use a number 16 dry fly immitation. Attractor patterns include royal humpy, royal coachman, and mosquito patterns in gray and dark brown. Lunker Rainbow Trout are cruising high in the water column just below the surface and easy to spot. They are active and feeding at Sunrise and Sunset but quite wary. Strikes are hard and fast with lots of airobatics on the strike and hook set.

In the celebration of all-around-fishing-for-fun we take one more look at urban fisheries. They are located close to where we live, usually have some "easy to catch" stocked fish and are great for a quick get away with the kids or grandchildren for an hour or two any day of the week. Unfortunately no lunker rainbow trout are found here.

How Did You First Learn To Fish, Not With A Fly Rod I'd Bet

So it's time to think about how most of us got started with the sport of fishing. Using bait and lures. Sit back and enjoy the fun of teaching our youth about fishing and how someday they may choose to widen their horizons and venture into the world of fly fishing as they build memories and just have some fun. Teach kids to fish!

"Popular" Is An Under Statement At Municipal Ponds.

As I mentioned earlier, regardless of what these municipal ponds are called, they are becoming more and more important to people who like to fish. They are also a great place to start kids fishing – you can fish for an hour or two but not spend hours driving to and from the distant fishery. So, most likely, there is an urban fishery in your future and here are some additional tips and by the way, teach kids to fish.

Photo Clinton City Pond, Clinton Utah Pond


One of the disadvantages of the urban fishery is that it can often get crowded. First, try to find a suitable place to fish where you are not too close to others. If you cannot find a place, you will probably have to squeeze in between others. The best way to handle this is just ask; “Is it "OK" if we fish here?” or “Do you think there is room here for us to fish?” The worst approach is just plopping down and acting as if no one else is there. And, what if there is simply no room? Then you go home or do as I do; wait till someone leaves and as they are leaving ask;

Photo Jensen Nature Center Pond, Syracuse Utah Urban Fishery Utah
“May we take your place?”Make every effort not to cast over someone else’s line, and if someone casts over your line, don’t be a jerk about it. This is especially true if the offending party is a child. I have given several impromptu casting lessons “See, you hold the rod behind you and then cast it straight out so you don’t catch other peoples line’s. Great job!” For younger children who just need to be kept busy, I give them a casting outfit with a lure which has had the hook removed and let them cast away. Remember to be encouraging and compliment the casts they make so they will keep trying. You may also want to have an extra heavy monofiliment line so they can easily untangle knots in the line, bird nests and even reel in the weed beds from the bottom of the pond. I used to put a 20 lb test line on for my kids. It helped them to learn how to manage the rod, reel, line and hooks.


One of the best things about the municipal fisheries, or Urban Fishery Utah is how nice the people are. Generally, they are happy to tell you what is working and how much luck they have had. In addition, when certain baits aren’t working and I don’t happen to have the “hot” one, I have even had people offer me a gob of their Power Bait, some worms or even a lure or fly. I now make it a part of my fishing routine to try to carry extra and offer some to others if they are not having any luck. Having my grandson along on these excursions seems to help alot. I notice a lot of grandparents with grandchildren as well as parents taking part in spending time together in this great outdoor diversion to daily life.

What Goes Around Comes Around

It is funny, but the more you try to help others, the more pleasant the fishing experience. When it is crowded, be sure to cast straight out, perpendicular to the shore to avoid tangling up with other people’s lines!Often, the difference between having success and not, will depend on your casting ability. Unless the fish are near the shore, the ability to cast farther than anyone else will generally improve your luck. So, make sure your equipment is in good shape, your line is fresh and untangled, and light enough to land your quarry but still cast a good distance. Accuracy is also important especially if you are close to other people casting. Nothing wastes precious fishing time than a tangle created when lines get tangled!

How To Really "Whang" It Out There

My first introduction to fly fishing as a child was learning how to rig a clear bubble filled with water trailing a fly behind 4-6 feet of leader. The bubble of course kept the fly in the top of the water column while providing the necessary weight so I could cast a "mile". Since the bubble freely slides or allows the line to freely slide you may want to use a small sinker (a small split-shot works fine) between the fly and bubble to keep the bubble a set distance from the fly. To keep the fly from sinking too deep a second sinker is placed on the line above the bubble so the fly will not continue to sink to the bottom from the extra weight of the lower sinker. The water filled bubble is buoyant enough to keep both sinkers and itself very close to the surface of the water. Like many of you, this technique taught me how to cast accurately and how to maneuver a fly "slowly" across a large area of still water. I also learned the affects of "fast" or "slow" retrieves as well as "jigging" the fly to create different and unique presentations. Some times they worked and sometimes they didn't. Back in those days, I was fishing in lakes and mountain ponds (high Unita mountains of Utah). This is still a viable teaching method for someone of any age to learn the basic concept of using dry flies or nymphs and working on that all important aspect of accurate casting.


Have a variety of baits, lures and flies so you can change tactics. Having said that, I have a few “go to” flies and lures which work well just about everywhere and I usually stick with those. I also have baits about which I feel the same. Incidentally, even though I love to fly fish, I am just as happy sitting on the bank fishing for pan fish with my grandchildren as I am matching the hatch on some blue ribbon stream. So develop your own favorite flies, lures, bait and tactics. If after 30-45 minutes you have not had any luck, change tactics.


Panther Martin Gold Blade, black body with yellow or green dots.
Jake's Spin a Lure Gold.Jake's Spin a Lure Black (Great for dark or cloudy days).
Mepps spinners – several colors.
Thomas Cyclone – gold with red dots (Great Brown Trout Lure!).
Rapala’s or similar lures floating and sinking.
Lead head jigs – black, dark green, white.

The basic fly assortment is discussed on other blogs.

So, if you have an urban fishery, go out and make use of it. You already pay for it with your taxes so why not get your share of the fun. If possible, take a child fishing. If you have any questions, leave us a comment.

Fenwick Fleigenbinder & All_Tied_Up