Fly Fishing For Carp In Maryland

 In 2004 when the periodical cicadas invaded the Baltimore area, I happened onto some great surface fishing on the local reservoirs. I wasn’t catching as many bass as I thought I would, but I was catching a lot of carp. These large, powerful fish were inhaling foam flies off the surface and running drag into the backing numerous times. Years later the carp fishing is still good, but a bit more challenging without the big lumbering cicadas falling into the water. Most carp anglers will tell you anyone that doesn’t want to fish for carp can’t figure out how to catch them. The presentation is key, and long 12 foot leaders to 1X-3X tippet prevents spooking the fish with the fly line. Seven to eight weight rods are best, and a good reel and backing are required. The abundance of large carp is what is exciting, since fish over fifteen pounds are not uncommon. The best times for sight fishing are midday, with the brightest sun and few clouds to affect visibility.
Exposed Shoreline
Two prime locations are Loch Raven and Prettyboy Reservoirs, although most ponds or warm water rivers should have carp in good numbers. Targeting fish in shallow water along the shoreline is pretty easy to do.  (Note: Wading in Baltimore City Reservoirs is Illegal!). As water levels drop in the reservoirs the exposed shoreline allows anglers to get out of the woods and have some room to cast. The angle of the sun and glare is often a problem, but generally a quick glance will reveal that heading in one direction affords better visibility than another. Also choose a direction along the shoreline, which favors the dominant casting hand, putting the rod on the side where the water is versus the side with the trees. One technique is looking for “mudding” fish, who are stirring up the bottom searching for food. The direction of the fish mudding in the cloudy water is tough to discern but key to dropping a fly in front of the fish without spooking them. Currently Loch Raven has dropped significantly, but the grass beds are thick in spots, while Prettyboy is still full but free of grass. The latest video features a heavy carp running drag, and putting up a good fight.