How to catch carp in a river [4 steps to catching river carp]

How to catch carp in a river [4 steps to catching river carp

Fishing for carp in rivers is super fun because the carp are so much stronger than in lakes. In this article, we are going to take a look at four steps that will help you catch more river carp.

4 Easy steps to catch carp in a river

1. Location


Firstly let’s look at the location. It’s so important on a river, even more so than when you’re on still water to find those carp.

Rivers have really long pieces of water and carp can be at any point along with it.

River carp also move around a lot. One day they could be upstream three miles, the next day it could be downstream another three miles. So of course to find the fish you will need to do a lot of walking and looking.

One of the most important pieces of kit that will help you find carp is Polaroid glasses. These will help cut out the glare. Without them when you look across the surface there can be a lot of reflection and you can’t see deep down into the water.

But put these on and it’s a game-changer. You can really see deeper into the water and it helps so much with finding where the fish are.

Where are you going to find the river carp?

Where are you going to find the river carp?

Well, there’s no specific rule but there are some areas that are more likely to hold fish than others.

Firstly great places to look are anywhere where this structure carp will love to be sat in places where they feel safe. This could be near overhanging trees, snags in the water, lily pads, weeds, and also man-made structures like locks and bridges.

Also if the river you’re targeting is quite fast blowing it’s really worth keeping an eye on those slack areas. Carp are very different from other river species such as barbel and chubs which prefer to be in that faster water.

Carp will almost always be sat in slacker slower water where they don’t need to fight against the flow.

A lot of rivers are broken up into sections with Weirs or locked gates. It’s always worth taking a look at the top and the bottom of the stretch.

This is because at the top of the stretch you’ll often find more oxygenated water and at the bottom, you’ll often find deeper water where it can be often quite suited up and this is a more silty area at the bottom of a stretch can often hold a lot of natural food which would, of course, bring carp into the area.

So that’s location covered, you’ve found the carp. Now let’s talk about bait.

2. Use Baits to catch carp in a river

Use Baits to catch carp in a river

Because River carp are constantly moving up and down the river, baiting can be extremely helpful to hold the fish in a specific spot.

Pre-baiting a few days before you intend to fish can be a real edge and it can just give you confidence that to fish know where to find food on a regular basis.

So you found the spot that you like the look of and now it’s time to put some bait in. The way we like to bait up cost-effectively is to buy cheap dried particles.

Smaller particle baits such as hemp and maize are incredibly cheap and you can afford to put quite a lot of it in your swim.

The only issue with baits like this is that if there are lots of nuisance fish such as bream or roach, they can often come in your swim, eat all of those small items of food and not leave anything for the carp which you’re there to catch.

If that’s the case that it’s always a good idea to add some large items of food such as tiger nuts and boilies.

A point to keep in mind is if you are feeding boilies and the stretch of the river your fishing is quite fast flowing, of course, boilies are around and they will roll down with the flow.

A good way to combat this is to use a half base or crumbed base.

3. Tackle


What tackle to use on a river to catch carp? Well, there’s not a great deal of difference between the rods and reels you’d use on a lake compared to the rods and reels you use on a flowing piece of water. The only thing you’ve got to bear in mind is that River carp fight incredibly hard.

We like to use a 15-pound monofilament mainline and if we’re fishing anywhere near snags lily pads or overhanging trees then we’ll almost always use a snag leader.

An armor cord or monofilament snag leader of a couple of problems will be more than adequate to make sure you land those fish in any snuggly situations.

Almost all the time we opted for 10-foot rods. These are really handy for not only Stalkings but also fishing in Pike swims.

Along rivers like the extremely thin stretch of river and you don’t need a long rod but if you are fishing a fast-flowing piece of water where you need to keep your rod tip high, all your fishing over to a spot on the far side of the river and you want to keep the maximum line out the water, then a longer 12-foot rod is handy for that.

Of course, an unhooking mat and a suitable-sized landing net are also absolutely necessary when targeting River carp.

The thing I love about river carp is the fact that they are hardly ever fished for most stretches of river, are very unprecious pieces of water compared to say days to get Lakes. This makes them a lot easier to catch once you can find carp in a river.

It also means that your rig presentation doesn’t have to be complicated.

4. Use Rigs to catch carp in a river

Use Rigs to catch carp in a river

The rig I’ll always use for River carping is a simple hair rig. The only thing you have to make sure of is that it’s strong enough.

River carp fight really hard, so you need to make sure that your end tackle is up to scratch.

A coated braid hook link and a size 4 or 6 hooks. The reason for having a big hook is not only because river carp fight really hard and a bigger, stronger hook will help you catch them.

It’s also because I like to use a big hook bait to avoid the bream and other nuisance fish. The hook bait I like to use consists of a 20 mil bottom bait and a 50 mil bright pop-up.

When I’m tying up my rigs for River carping I like to make them a little bit longer than I would on says Stillwater. This is because on a river the flow brings down weeds and leaves.

This gets caught on your mainline. It lends slides down to the lead. If I was using a very short hook link the weeds and leaves caught around the lead would also be covering the hook bait as well.

So having a larger separation between the lead and hook bait means there’s no chance that weed or the leaves are covering the hook bait as well.

What keeps me coming back to the rivers, again and again, is the unknown, compared to still waters where the stock of a lake can often be very well known, you just never know what’s gonna be in there.

Other things I love about the river are the peacefulness and the wildlife. I hope you found this article useful. Thanks for reading we’ll see you again soon. Happy Fishing!

Fenil Kalal is a talented web content writer that specialises in health and fitness, fishing, travel, cryptography, and gardening. His skills and expertise in the field are the result of years of research and study. His passion in science, along with a bachelor's degree in information technology, gives him an edge and adds value to his work. Because he is fascinated by science and technology, writing high-quality content has become a virtue for him.

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