If you’re checking out this carp fishing blog, chances are you know what an incredible species carp are to fish, especially when you’re after a nice trophy fish. While the common carp is mostly well known in its natural habitats in Europe and Asia, they have also been introduced into many fisheries in the United States and Canada. As an angler who was born and raised in Canada, I have to admit some bias, but it seems pretty clear to me that Canada represents a promising place to fish for carp, mainly due to the abundance.
What’s so different about fishing for carp in Canada as opposed to anywhere else? The main reason is because it’s not overly popular, which can be a good or bad thing depending on how you look at it. The popularity is definitely growing, but carp are often overlooked by many anglers and are sometimes even considered invasive species that are threatening the local habitat and native species.
Furthermore, carp fishing hasn’t been embedded in the Canadian (or North American) fishing culture like it has in Europe. This leaves us in a bit of a funny spot. We want the world to know how good the carp fishing can be in certain areas of Canada, but for now, we’re also enjoying the abundance ourselves!
Carp Fishing Locations in Canada
In Canada, carp fishing is probably the most popular in Southern Ontario and Quebec. The St. Lawrence River, Ottawa River, the Great Lakes, the Kawartha Lakes, and Lake Champlain are all been known for excellent carp fishing, and carp are now being introduced out West as well.
Carp can be caught from March through to November in Canada, and you have a good chance at catching something anytime during that period. Some anglers prefer the summer months when they are at their peak performance and are constantly on the hunt for food. Other anglers prefer early and late in the season for timing purposes.
Even though the carp slowly ramp up their feeding frequency in the early season, the shorter days, more limited food, and less urgent need to feed can prompt them to become regulars at a particular location if the grub is in good supply. If you find a good spot for carp fishing early in the season, chances are you will have success in that area for the following months as well.
As for late in the season (Fall), the days are shorter and the water is starting to cool again. This can make for more predictable habits, but the main difference here is that the carp will be looking to fatten up for the winter, eating anything they can to prepare themselves for months of minimal feeding.
How to Fish for Carp in Canada
If you’re coming from a heavy carp fishing background or location, especially the UK, chances are you will already be well suited to carp fishing in Canada, more-so than many of the Canadian anglers currently fishing carp. Given it’s not as popular here, there isn’t as much gear available that is specific to carp fishing, but like we mentioned, this is slowly beginning to change.
In terms of gear selection, this will depend on the waters that you’re fishing, but the most versatile and common setup is a rod anywhere between 7-9 feet, a large reel with a fully loaded spool, and strong mono or braid line. From there, you can begin catering your selection to your personal preferences. Smaller rods can be nice to feel the fight but at the same time can make it more difficult to reel a big one in (and vice versa for longer rods). Medium action is our preference mainly because heavy action will lead to lesser sensitivity and may even rip the hook out.
For your reel, the main things to consider are size and drag. You will want something that can fit lots of line, as carp can really take your bait for a ride. The drag should be highly adjustable and able to provide very little resistance. Upon setting the hook, it’s common for carp to give a much more powerful fight relative to the fight other fish can provide, so it’s important to have minimal resistance during at this stage of the battle.
As for line, again, this is personal preference, but you will definitely need something strong. Braided line is great for strength, with anything between 20-40 lb test being popular. This will also depend on the conditions and where you’re fishing. Many anglers like to use a mono leader to provide a bit of stretch, which allows some forgiveness when the carp slam the bait and take off.
Bait and Chumming
The most popular bait for fishing carp in Canada is corn, usually in a soaked or boiled form. While I’m personally not a huge fan of chumming, I must admit it definitely does make a difference. Ideally, you will want to chum with the same thing you’re using for bait. Try to chum in the area where you think you will be casting, and at the same time of day that you think you will be fishing. Carp can pick up on these tendencies, so if you chum in the morning, but fish in the afternoon, they may have already scooped everything up and moved on. Also, while we haven’t tried it ourselves, we’ve heard other anglers say they have good luck chumming with seeds that are naturally smelly, and then still using corn as bait.
At the end of the day, if you’re an avid carp angler in Europe, you are already in great shape to catch a ton of carp in Canada; all you need to do is make the trip! You will be surprised at the shear abundance of carp, especially in Southern Ontario, as well as the lack of anglers fishing them! Good luck!