Cruising carp


Active Member
Early morning I usually head out for smallies on long lake. I often see carp cruising 10 to 100 ft from the bank at the very top of the water column. Sometimes they act like they are sipping insects or gulping air? They travel in pods of up to 15 fish. I had one take a sculpin pattern once but he was tight against the bank. My question is are these fish feeding? If so what flys to use? The traditional carp flys that are weighted won't work due to the fact they are so close to the top and obviously not eating crawdads. Any of you carp pros got advice?
Ps I have a place up on long lake 30 mins from Spokane city center I often fish mornings on the water by 4am if any local guys want to join me I have canoes and kayaks
Are there any cottonwood in the area? I know they get excited when the cottonwoods are dropping seeds here. They will go around klooping the fluff off the surface. Can be fun with a dryfly that resembles a puff of cotton.


Active Member
No nothing hatching no seeds no berries? I was thinking maybe try a generic lookin nymph pattern? I hoped to get some info from someone who has had luck with these cruisers before. I will eventually figure it out just trying to get a starting point!


Active Member
I've fished pods of cruising carp on the surface for a couple seasons now from a float tube in open water (with mixed success). I've had success on small weightless olive buggers/leeches (10-12). It can be pretty easy to spook them when they're in a grouped up on the surface. I found it really helpful to go to a lighter rod to get a more delicate presentation and more shots at the fish.

Jim Ficklin

Genuine Montana Fossil
Cruising carp & suspended carp are tough. Actively feeding carp . . . feeding on the bottom & tailing or klooping seeds, bugs, mulberries on the surface are still spooky but can be caught. My go-to fly is a Carp Carrot with a baby craw imitation being the next most productive.


Active Member
I will try some buggy nymphs and buggers next time I see them. I am catching lots of smallies so the carp are secondary but having a rod rigged and ready setting in the kayak should not be a big deal. I will post results and reports.

zen leecher aka bill w

born to work, forced to fish
I saw some cruising carp once and caught one with a .22. Just gotta lead them a hair and squeeze when they stick their nose out of the water.

I think the carp are feeding and a floating or just under the surface fly would get a bite.


Canyon Lurker
i seem to remember reading about this one. damsel nymphs migrating to shore are usually up higher in the water column and could be something those fish come across at that level. try an unweighted one maybe.


Active Member
Thanks for the posts will, had to work weekend will go back out on Monday for trout. Bass are sulking right now so no use chasing them.