The best time to consistently catch carp in good numbers of carp in Canada, are during the pre-spawn and post-spawn periods. After a long winter of remaining inactive with water at near freezing temperature, carp progressively feed on a more regular basis as the water warms. Ideal spawning temperature is in the 18 to 22 C range (65 to 70 F), and on most years, the water will hit that range somewhere near June 15th in the greater Montreal and surround regions.
During the spawn, carp have better things on their tiny brain's agenda than food, so they don't feed much. Accordingly, they need to feed well before and after, and timing that period can lead to some amazing results.
Carp spawn in shallow water, mainly warmer bays and shallow flats. During this period, one can see them swirling and splashing around the surface, especially near weed beds. Once these areas are identified, it becomes a simple game of following the water temperature until it nears the magic numbers, and fishing it at the right time.
During this period, fish are aggressive, and will hit a variety of bait. In areas with smaller concentrations of carp, feeding them a lot of chum will get them focused on your spot. In areas where they are staging in huge numbers, I prefer to skip the baiting process and just fire out a small mix of boilies once my bait is in place. Carp are extremely sensitive to their environments, and cue in to most presentations almost immediately. If the feed is on at that given moment, I'll usually get hit within 5 to 10 minutes of getting a line in the water, sometimes even quicker than that.
Knowing that our water temp was just about right, I decided to meet up with a fellow carp fisherman for a short few hour afternoon session at a new spot I had never tried. On the morning of the outing, I was ready to leave a lot sooner than originally planned, so I went ahead and hit one for my best pre/post spawn spots, which happened to be a few kilometers away from where I was going to meet my buddy.
Being that I'm almost always fishing with family or friends, I always have the luxury of using multiple rods, which greatly assists me in fishing the right range, and hone in on the proper bait to use on a given day. However, I was alone this time, which only allowed me to use 1 rod. Based on past experience, I had a good idea of where to cast this time of year, and was quite sure my sweet dream boilies would do the trick.
Sure enough, I got hit within a few minutes. Between the water level which had risen had recently risen, and me trying to play acrobatics with a 12 foot rod in one hand, and only 6 foot net in my other, my shorts arms didn't help in making the job landing the big carp any easier. It was already fighting furiously enough, and trying to get in into the net without getting in the water (I was fully dressed), it took a bit longer than usual. I eventually netted the fat carp, and got to test the autoshoot function on my new camera. Not the best, with only 10 seconds to get in focus and ready with a nice pose. Still, it got the job done.
I got my rod setup and re-cast, noticing how much time it was out of water in between hooking and recasting. Again, I'm not used to fishing solo, so I haven't really picked up on it much in the past, but I decided to rig my backup rod so I'll have one ready to fire after the next fish. The carp had other plans, though. They hit often enough, where I didn't even get a chance to fully rig my second rod and I had another nice carp on the line, though it turned out to weigh only 15 lbs.
After recasting, I got to work on rigging my backup rod, but again, I was interrupted by another screaming run. These time, it was a bigger fish, I had to get in the water in my clothes to land it. Good thing I was wearing an old pair of beat up sneakers. I also had another angler further down the shore snap my picture instead of going with the autoshoot function.
Again,lot's of time passing by without a line in water, but at this pace, I wasn't complaining... The next was a 20 lbs carp, that hit just as I was putting the finishing touches on my rig. Tried the autoshoot again, but picture was horrendous, so didn't bother uploading it.
After landing a smaller one in the 12 lbs range, I hooked into the biggest carp of the outing, and had my newfound friend down the shore snap my picture again,
Landed another smaller one, at which point the friend I was to meet up with showed up. I put a rod out for him as well, and within minutes, he had another nice one on the line, pic to follow when he sends it to me.
At that point, we decided to try his campground spot. Despite the hot bite at my spot, I was anxious to try my boilies at a new spot. Unfortunately, in the few hours I had, I managed to cast all my casts into sunken weedbeds which ended up fouling my presentation, and with heavy rain starting to come down, I headed home after 3 hours.
I was satisfied enough with my early success, landing 8 carp in less than 3 hour of fishing, using only 1 rod. The sizes were over average as well for that spot, I landed 5 of 8 in the 20 to 26 lbs range, when that spot is notorious for producing most fish in the mid teens.
With a cold front on the way, we may get lucky and have the spawn delayed until late next week, in which case I may head out for one more shot at some fat pre-spawn Canadian carp.