Wisconsin is home to a variety of fish, several of which have the potential to grow to more than 20 pounds. One of those species, a fish that can reach weights of 30, 40 and even 50 pounds, is a scaled quarry that can be found in large numbers of several local waterways. It’s a fish that is a much sought-after prize in much of Europe and that has been gaining ever-increasing popularity here in the United States: carp.
As a Marathon County resident, you have access to some good carp waters. Consider the fact that some of these specimens get quite beastly and fight like bronze devils, and you’ve got a fish worthy of chasing; in addition, oversized carp, like trophy fish of other species, are a true challenge to catch.
Summer is perhaps one of the best seasons in which to score on these large-scaled behemoths. Begin your search by investigating shallow, dark-bottomed bays of lakes and reservoirs and the backwaters of rivers. One of the most exciting methods to catch carp in the summer is by sight fishing for them. A good pair of Solar Bat sunglasses is a must, and an angler must move with stealth to avoid spooking fish in the “skinny” water.
A variety of presentations will catch carp, but keep in mind that to consistently score with the largest specimens, stealth and finesse are essential. While slip sinker style rigs work well in more hard-bottomed areas, carp fishing often is done in back bays and backwaters with a soft or mucky bottom. When this is the case, a float rig becomes necessary. When choosing a float or slip bobber, select the smallest size you can get away with depending on the fishing conditions you are facing. The smaller size will allow for a more subtle approach and be more sensitive to the often surprisingly light bite of a cautiously feeding carp. I prefer a long St. Croix medium action spinning rod, with a minimum length of 7 feet. The added length allows me to more accurately cast small presentations, and do so with finesse. In addition, the length allows for good hook setting and fish fighting leverage, especially on the largest of specimens.
OK, so they’re not the most beautiful of fish, nor do they put on acrobatic displays similar to those of other Wisconsin game fish; however, carp are big and plentiful, and the fight they put up is certainly near the top of the rankings for freshwater fish. Do yourself a favor this summer and take some time to do a little carp fishing. It’s a great opportunity to get youths involved with some exciting angling action or to just hone your fish fighting skills. I’ll see you on the water …
Joel DeBoer is owner of Wisconsin Angling Adventures Guide Service, www.wisconsinanglingadventures.com.