Weeding through the Grass Leads to Big Common Carp

by | Jul 19, 2021 | fly fishing the Lower Snake River | 2 comments

Snake-RiverYesterday, Boots Allen, Tom Bie and I were worn out from the demands of summer and we took our fishing easy.  Because of our lackluster approach, we only caught one fish.  There would be no dillydallying today.


Jeff-Currier-YetiWhile the guys each slept in their trucks last night, I found a comfy spot on the ground, separated from the earth by my Yeti blanket and my Thermarest.  It was an excellent night under the stars.  At around 5 AM I awoke to the song of the first robin then got up when it was light enough to make our coffee.


Snake-RiverWe floated a stretch of the lower Snake Boots and I do every year.  It starts at the base of a rapid under a massive rock island.  It’s the only place down here on the Lower Snake where we’ve caught trout.  Most were big rainbows and today we hoped to catch a few more.  We launched at around 7:30 AM.


flyfishing-suckersThe Snake is off color and higher than on our other previous two years here.  There’s tons of floating grass also.  Each cast was really hard to present a fly without getting hung up.  The trick was to let your fly sink deep.  Then if you were lucky, you would get a few strips and hook a fish before snagging more grass.  I must have been very deep on this cast, I pulled up a beautiful bottom dwelling bluehead sucker.


Tom-BieDespite the grass hooking issue, Tom and I did well.  After my sucker I stuck a couple 12” smallies, then Tom hooked something big.  What was cool is that he thought he saw a carp tailing under a willow next to the bank.  It seemed like a weird place for a carp because of swift current but the instant his Clouser minnow hit he hooked up.  The big fish smoked him into the rapids and broke him off.  Bummer!


Fishing-Guide-BootsBoots is about the only person I know that can hold a drift boat in such a spot we were in.  Its basically the bottom of the rapid and there are huge eddies and swirls all over.  Protruding rocks are dangerous too.  It’s a deep hole and exactly where the big rainbow trout action happens.  But no matter how hard we tried there were no trout. There were no complaints though, Tom and I each caught a few more nice smallmouth.


smallmouth-bassThe smallmouth fishing is incredible down on the lower Snake.  I won’t call it world class but there are plenty and most are 12” plus – not bad for the Rocky Mountains.  The last two years we caught several over 16”.  As is usual these days, the smallies aren’t native, but at this point they’re here to stay.  I love catching smallies no matter where I’m at.


common-carpWhile the smallies were fun, I had carp on my mind.  There was the one I caught last night.  Then watching Tom get schooled by one first thing this morning.  Soon I hooked what I thought was bottom but it took off strong.  My fly pulled loose before I could glamor to the guys but it told me the carp were around.  I pictured a school wallowing on bottom below the fast current.  I cast there repeatedly until I hooked up again.  It was indeed a big carp!


carp-on-flyCarp act funny in heavy current.  On lakes or slow moving rivers, they take off.  Often times into your backing.  But I’ve found on fast moving rivers they are less comfortable taking off and rather fight you near the boat.  This fish never took more than about 40 feet of line but instead bulldogged me deep.


Jeff-Currier-flyfishingI trust my SA 0X tippet and hoisted back hard.  Boots reached with the net each time I got the fish close.  It wasn’t easy to net this carp because he didn’t fit.  Finally, the huge carp got over the net and his body bent a little.  Boots lifted and we got him.  A perfectly scaled common carp!


Jeff-Currier-huge-carpThat would not be our only big carp today.  In fact, an hour later, a mile further downstream a carp free jumped.  Its natural instinct to cast there but with carp, these fish almost never bite.  Of course, regardless of the odds I made a quick cast.  On the second strip I went tight.  To my disbelief the carp was on.  Five minutes later I was in the water with my second common of the day.  And this fish was a true specimen!


smallmouth-bassFishing was brutally slow after the big lucky carp.  We picked up a few tiny smallmouth but all in all fishing was terrible.  A storm hit us around 4 and we took a two hour break.  The sun popped at 8 PM and we tried till dark but we only caught a couple 13” smallies.


We worked hard as planned.  With the tough fishing it’s a good thing we put the effort in.  Tom has headed home but Boots and I will give one more look on the lower Snake come morning.  Stay tuned!


Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing


  1. Gary Green

    Thank you for your blogs!!! I really enjoy your adventures , photos, and stories.

  2. Jeff

    Gary, carp madness 2021 has begun! I hope you and Leslie are well and enjoying your summer

Welcome to the Blog of Jeff Currier!

Contact Jeff

I started fly fishing at age 7 in the lakes and ponds of New England cutting my teeth on various sunfish, bass, crappie and stocked trout. I went to Northland College in Ashland, Wisconsin, where I graduated with a Naturalist Degree while I discovered new fishing opportunities for pike, muskellunge, walleyes and various salmonids found in Lake Superior and its tributaries.

From there I headed west to work a few years in the Yellowstone region to simply work as much as most people fish and fish as much as most people work. I did just that, only it lasted over 20 years working at the Jack Dennis Fly Shop in Jackson, WY where I departed in 2009. Now it’s time to work for "The Man", working for myself that is.

I pursue my love to paint fish, lecture on every aspect of fly fishing you can imagine and host a few trips to some of the most exotic places you can think of. My ultimate goal is to catch as many species of fish on fly possible from freshwater to saltwater, throughout the world. I presently have taken over 440 species from over 60 countries!