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Subscriber Arthur Strauss has joined the small but growing fraternity of anglers who have become fascinated with the challenge of taking a carp on the fly. The outfitter who addicted Strauss to this activity is Steven Blair of the Urban Carp in southern California ( He took Strauss carp fishing for two days this past May on the Los Angeles and Santa Ana rivers, helping him catch six fish between 4.5 and 7.5 pounds the first day. The second day he hooked only one fish that ran into an algae mat and broke off.

Interestingly, Strauss says he spent his two days fishing in urban cement-bottom riverbeds where you had to be careful of the heat and sun and where water conditions could change suddenly due to storms and dam releases. Algae blooms made the water murky in places. Frequent line cleaning was a must. Aesthetics aside, he calls the experience “a challenging excursion that produces heart-surging excitement.”

As for the required equipment, Strauss says he used 6-wt. rods with floating lines and tapered 3x to 4x fluorocarbon leaders. He says the preferred fl y on the Los Angeles River was the “Tortilla
Fly.” The winning flies on the Santa Ana were a green nymph, a black/red midge, and a buggy legged stonefly-like fly. Part of the time he says he used an indicator. Other times, on mudding fish, he resorted to using a slack-line nymphing technique. “This was very technical fishing that required stealth and splashless casting. You had to work hard to learn how to approach these very spooky fish. Some were very large and capable of runs that would take you into your backing. It was lots of fun when you got a fish to take your fly and a lot of work when you didn’t.”

Strauss gives the cost of this fishing as $225 per day. He recommends the experience to anglers who like unusual challenges and who are fit enough to traverse some rough inclines

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