Where Are the Carp ?
      In the water, of course! I can see the young lad shouting. You'd be right anyway : but just where in the water ?. Well to this, there could be a dozen answers  ,but for most of the information below I am talking about during times when carp are most active & especially in the spring summer & lesser extent the fall. In the spring & summer is the best time to fish for carp in Canada . There are specifics which will help you to find carp, they are a warm water loving fish, they will seek to find a temp which suits them ; in the summertime this will be in the 60-70 degree range if they can find it. Bear in mind though, that at the warmer temperatures, they might begin to look for higher oxygen conditions & the higher the temp the lower the solubility of oxygen in water, so the more important oxygen becomes. So that places like river mouths,  outflows from generating power stations, (which  also provides a rich food supply), windswept shorelines & weedbeds (if oxygenating), will be good places to look.  So attach some importance to the temperature & oxygen conditions of the water you are fishing in .
   Other places to look for carp are areas with high food density, even if you can see the carp it does not mean you can catch them ; they might not feed in this area . You would be better to look for the natural feeding areas ,if you can find these areas ,you can safely bet that at the right time they will come to feed there. The types of feeding areas which are natural feeding spots for carp are areas with mussel beds , bloodworms & crayfish. If you can find these in abundance, then you can bet numbers of carp will come there to feed. If there are no beds of these for the carp to gorge on ,then dont worry they will feed on whatever else they can aquire. They can feed on anything from microscopic algae to crayfish (crawfish) & even other small fish if times are hard, carp are omnivorous, eating both animal & vegetable matter, so they can & do eat  most kinds of beans & seeds. They have also been observed to eat some kinds of weed .  So another important consideration is to find the natural feeding areas . If there are not many natural areas ,but there are artificially created foodsources, carp will come to feed there too. You can create this situation ; & infact most of the high tech fishing in Britain & Europe is based on this scenario. Yes carp will go where the food is ,although it may take them a day or so to find it , but once they do they will keep returning to this area ,untill they have been caught or untill the foodsource is gone ,taking advantage of this information you can do worse than to look for places where people throw bread for the ducks ,grain & seed elevator devices which connect between ship & shore, pipe discharge areas, & anywhere else that food gets into the water on a regular basis.
Man made & natural barriers are other areas you can look to find carp. Carp are a nomadic type of fish , they often live in shoals & as such they are constantly travelling around to take advantage of new food supplies. They eat a lot of food & since they can take advantage of almost every available food item in the water they often end up at the extreme ends of a watercourse , near a dam (above or below) or at the tail end of rapids for example.  Also in swift flowing rivers this would be the favourite place to look, since carp are generally more suited to slower water flow, although there are times when they get right into the current. In Canada, carp often end up below dams in the overspill area ; this is a highly suitable area for carp, since an almost continuous food supply is brought to the fish, they dont have to search ; the food comes to them ! In rivers with a good flow, check out the 'backwater' channel areas, which provide a break from the current flow,& also creates areas for food items to collect & congregate.
There are several other factors apart from water-temp, food & oxygen , although arguably these are the most important. Another very  desirable factor is structure or cover, carp dont like being in clear shallow water without cover ; either in the form of sticks or logs or even better dense weedbeds. If the water is murky or has opacity due to some other factor then this is definately worth checking out. In deep water carp are not so fussy ,they will often sunbathe in full veiw as long as you dont get too close ! I think deep water is veiwed as sanctuary just like dense weeds, if there are weeds too ,even better ! Often many of these factors are linked; for instance on a hot sunny day you might look for carp over & around weedbed areas ,why ? well the weedbeds provide cover  ,oxygen & food without moving too far, so they are well worth checking out. Another situation might be a windswept shoreline ; which also may provide all of the above ,except this time the cover being provided by turbid water ( wave action disturbing the bottom layer). I think lighting conditions (directly linked to turbidity) will also influence the wherabouts of carp ; especially in shallow water, I have found that water less than 2-3 ft needs to have some colour in it ,for carp to venture confidently onto it, although they may well come onto these areas during darkness.
Well there we have a brief outline of some of the situations where you might find or look for carp. I realise there are many more situations not listed ,but you will find these out by careful observation; & many times you dont even have to be too observant ; the carp will make it painfully obvious ; spawning time is an example of this. Many times you will have looked in all the likely areas & eventually will find the fish in a seemingly less than satisfactory area, well there is usually a reason.
         Several Summers back ,I was looking all over the Toronto Islands for the monster carp that supposedly inhabit this area, I looked in all the likely spots ,& by days end was getting rather frustrated . Suddenly ,near where we had entered the Island complex I spotted a dozen or so ,big fish. I watched the area & the fish for a while ,trying to work out just what made the fish come into this little bay & suddenly it dawned on me that this rather small ,but otherwise perfect environment was the only area where the boats were not admitted  ,& this I beleive was the deciding factor for the fish in this type of situation ,which is a bustling area . There were a dozen or more similar to this but there were also boats abound. I even went up in the cable cars which travel overtop of the many canal -like waterways common along the Islands, nothing was seen. Of course I could not take advantage of the situation since the trip was actually a family outing , but oh for a rod & line !
     Finally ;good luck in your search for carp ,it's often not an easy game ,but I guarantee the satisfaction gained is well worth it,
                                                          BFN Carpsava
Locations of carp in Ontario
       In Ontario, carp have spread via the river systems & floodplains. They are in many inland lakes & ponds too, but occurances are sporadic. Many of these inland waters are severely affected by change in water level & winter freeze-up. Any lake or reservoir, connected to the Great Lakes will likely have carp in. But if big fish are the quarry, then the Great Lakes & large connecting rivers have to be the place to go. A quick look at the map will soon have you totally overawed with the amount of water & area encompassed by this statement. Access too, is not anything like the area on the map would suggest. Infact I would not be surprised if the total accesible area from shoreline is less than 1% !! A boat of course gives better access but is also even more cumbersome at times. So where to start ? Well - - - basically you need areas where the water warms up rapidly in the springtime. This will include shallow bays, harbours & inlet areas & the connecting rivermouths, also the warm water discharge from power generating stations, & all island complexes in the Great Lakes proper. In May & June ,will be the times for spotting many large fish, which come into very shallow areas with dense vegetation to spawn. This is especially likely when the spring levels are up, due to heavy snow & rainfall in the winter & early spring. After about the end of June when the carp have spawned , most of the fish will dissappear, location gets a lot more difficult & the fish will be spread out. If you have local Great lakes fishing nearby ,then you could bait the water where the depth starts to increase. However it would take one heck of an amount of bait to hold carp into an area they are not likely to stay in. So then I would look for the natural feeding areas. Find the mussel beds & crayfish & bloodworm beds, & carp will come into these areas. They will likely not be easy to catch ,since they are now feeding on natural foods & they tend to become pre-occupied upon them. You could try to imitate these naturals ,but the problem of attraction becomes more evident. Why should the carp take your bait amoungst thousands of similar foods ? Lots of carp are taken 'by accident' with jigs & natural imitations ,but the technique is far from efficient . Carp do not feed as aggressively as most 'game fish' & are more likely to inspect & reject such presentations. Regardless of this they do get caught on occasion. I for one, will be looking into this problem more deeply in the future. Someone who is lucky to have the available time needed, will one day hit the jackpot, as often the biggest fish fall right into this catagory. I feel that the current 37+lb fish standing as the Ontario record is just a very average fish. Many are taken above this weight by non conventional ,& non fishing practice. We need to elaborate upon these methods to take advantage & get a true representation of just what swims about in Ontario waters !
     Tite lines & happy fishing ! (at times it wont be)
Mail me if you have found carp in a funny place!
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