Species Spotlight: Manitoba’s Gone Carp Crazy!

Meet the Common Carp.

A controversial species that was first introduced to Manitoba in 1886, the Carp has suffered a less than acceptable social reputation due to its invasive nature and destruction to the ecological balance of various waterways. But with every negative there usually is a positive, now that would depend on which end of the spectrum you are on, but in this case the positive lends itself to a mind blowing angling experience that’s really hard to match. So let’s focus on the positives and put the Carp on a temporary pedestal.

Enormous, strong and challenging: I think it’s safe to say that the three aforementioned traits all contribute to defining and delivering a memorable angling experience. As anglers, we love to catch huge fish, we love fish that fight hard and physically give us a run for our money and at the same time we love fish that make us outsmart them and work hard for their bite. Am I right?

This is where the Carp shines. There are very few freshwater species that consistently exceed the 20 plus pound mark, there are even fewer species exceeding 20 pounds that will offer you an opportunity to hook, fight and land in “multiples” on the very same day, and to take this topic to the next level, how many species do you know of that have a fanatical following on a global level?

Manitoba has Carp like the prairies have wheat. The opportunities to successfully target these fish are diverse and readily accessible on a variety of our rivers and lakes. Once you locate these brutes you will be presently surprised at the chaotic battle to which you have engaged in. Hooking into a 20 pound plus Carp is like having to set your hook on a pick-up truck, while instantly, “the truck”, takes off at the speed of light and sets a 0 to 60 in seconds pace for an unbelievable 100 yard stretch, and that’s just the warm up! All the while, you are wondering “how much longer will this fish run for?” and notice that your 200 yards of fishing line has almost come to its end.

The Carp can serve up a punishing brawl that can last for a lengthy period. Its ultra wide back, deep stature and powerful tail will put anyone’s stamina and tackle to the test. Hook up on a 30 pound plus fish, well, that’s a different encounter altogether and one that will defy all the odds that were in your favor. It’s hard to put the Carp experience into words, but there is one thing for sure, it’s an experience that you will never forget!

When, Where and How?

Carp are great prospects during the months of May and June when they move into various Manitoba tributaries and shallow lake bays prior to spawning. The early months are most favourable for consistent opportunities at Master Angler size fish with the fall months of September and October also being exceptional. The minimum requirement is 30 inches with many reaching 35 inches plus. The Manitoba record is 42.5 inches.

Top producing locations and local favorites for Carp are Lake Winnipeg, Lake Manitoba, and Lake of the Prairies, Red River, Whitemud River, Assiniboine River, and Fairford River.
Carp love soft bottom flats and bays with little to no current. Target these areas with a standard bottom rig with a 2 ounce slip sinker, followed by a swivel and a hair rig baited with corn. Some chumming may be needed. A standard bottom rig with a number 4 or 6 Octopus hook tipped with a night crawler will also work well. A good rod and reel set up is an 8 to 12 foot medium spinning rod with a large capacity reel. Spool with 14 to 20 pound test braid line with a 24 inch shock leader, in 8 to 10 pound test fluorocarbon to maximize your presentation.