Fly Fishing for Koi and Crazy Other Carps


With the seminar behind it’s all about fishing my last two days here in Arizona.  Today Steve Berry had a motorcycle race so it was Cinda Howard and I on the urban assault of the Phoenixarea.  Our destination was one we’ve been fishing together for almost ten years.  I’m honestly not sure the name of the place but it’s near where the Arizona Cardinals stadium is.  There are 21 small manmade lakes surrounded by homes and sidewalks that are chock full of a variety of warmwater species.  Although we could catch about anything, our main target was koi.

The weather this week has been hotter than normal for November.  Sure, Phoenix is always a hotspot but this week temperatures have been in the low 90°s every day.  The heat certainly hasn’t hurt the fishing however and today was no exception.  On the first lake we fished Cinda and I landed over a dozen colorful koi.  

My choice of rod for koi is a 5-weight.  That’s about par for the course for me and carp.  I’d like to find a koi big enough to beat me up on the 5 but most of the koi we catch are about 20”.  On occasion we get a honker that tops the 5lb mark but these fish are not only rare, but smart as heck.  The best flies for koi are bright colored nymphs or sunken imitations of berries of the local overhanging trees.

The koi fishing was so easy that it was almost boring.  It was as if these fish haven’t been fished too before.  To spice things up Cinda started specifically targeting only the pretty looking koi and common carp.  I took off my nymph and replaced it with my olive hopper and searched out the grass carp(white Amur).  There was less around than I remembered at this place but after a couple opportunities I landed a small one.  Meanwhile Cinda caught this glowing koi-common-carp combo.

We’ve caught all kinds of strange fish in these lakes over the years.  One in particular are giant guppy-like-goldfish looking things.  They’re hard to fool into eating a fly but fight like dish rags once you do hook one.  That’s probably because they have more dangling fins to drag around than an angel fish.  Today Cinda caught one of the weirdest of all.  I caught a small one of these here years ago and never came up with what it was.  It’s got the scales and face of a common carp, the dorsal of a sailfish and the tail of a guppy.  It’s probably a hybrid of some sort.

After giving a 110% through 90° heat for almost ten hours, Cinda and I called it a day at around 5:30.  I believe I have my fill of koi that will last me a few months at least.  The day was fun, relaxing and entertaining to say the least.  Tomorrow it’s back to the challenging grass carp.

One Response to “Fly Fishing for Koi and Crazy Other Carps”

  1. Erik Moncada November 9, 2012 at 12:23 am #

    I think it would be cool to catch a koi, however the only place I know where to find them is in one of my neighbors back yard pond… He would kill me if I caught one of his koi. They cost him about 1,000 a fish…

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