Best Fly Rod Weight for Carp Fishing

Fly fishing for carp has been getting more and more popular in the USA. Frankly, I didn’t understand why at first. These fish are smart and hard to catch, and sure they’re everywhere, but they don’t really taste that good. So why are carps so sought after now? Because they can fight.

Carp can easily get up to 20 to 30 pounds in lakes and reservoirs. They are in most large reservoirs nowadays and can be found stocked in a lot of different places. Fishing for one on a fly rod can result in an amazing fight.

But what is the best fly rod weight for carp fishing? Start out with a 7-weight rod. This is a good weight for carp, but it can also sometimes not be enough. If the fish in the area are larger, try using an 8-weight fly rod. These are heavy duty rods which will work great for large carp.

Carp can get big and are very fun to catch. However, there are a few things that should be noted when trying to target carp.


Fly fishing is a method of fishing that is getting more and popular as the years go on. Usually, fly fishing targets smaller river fish, such as trouts and some types of spawning salmon. But as fly fishermen start to branch out to different species, one species seems to be getting more and more fanfare than the others.

Carp are freshwater fish that started out only native to Asia and some parts of Europe. They have been introduced to almost every part of the world, but they don’t always produce the results that people want.

In America, carp have been introduced to a lot of reservoirs because they are bottom feeders. Once a stable population has been introduced to a body of water, the government opens up the lake to fishing.

Carp is a name for the species, much like salmon and trout is. There are different types of carp, most very distinguishable by their coloring. There are black ones, like the Asian Carps, but there are also a lot of silver carp species.

This is a hard species to target because they are so very easily spooked. The main tactic of catching these fish is to drop a line down right in front of the carp and wait for it to drift by. The carp usually will bite it, but not if it was scared by it entering the water.

They are big fish, so the larger fish are a little harder to spook than the smaller ones, but not by much. If you do spook a fish, don’t worry. They get over it after about 10 – 15 minutes.

Fly Rod Weight

The weight of the rod doesn’t mean how much it weights. Instead, the ‘weight’ of the rod is how much fish the rod can handle. It is the same as the pound test of the fishing line. The line doesn’t way 8 lbs but instead can handle 8 lbs of force the fish puts on.

There is a chart created by someone who decided that every fish could be caught on one of 15 sizes of fly rods. The smallest size, a 1, is meant for very small bait and panfish, while the largest, size 15, looks like it could catch a whale.

The scale is divided into 15 parts each representing a weight class that overlaps a little. Species are divided up on the chart according to their average size, so I’m able to say quite confidently that you could go a size smaller for the smaller fish, and a size bigger for the larger fish.

The weight that is designed for carp is only one step up from trout. This means that if the carp are smaller in your area, you can use your trout fly rod to potentially catch some carp.

Carps usually have a weight class of 7 or 8. Trouts are usually caught on a 6 weight. They are a big fish with a lot of fight in them. Once you get into the 8 weight range, those rods are usually designed for the larger saltwater fish.

If you want to see a super helpful weight-by-fish chart from Cabela’s, feel free to click here.

There are a few different carp species. Some carps, such as the common carp, have a weight average of 30 pounds. There are other species, like the Silver Carp that can come around 110 pounds. For fly fishing these, it would be more advisable to use a 12 or 13 weight fly rod.


In general, fly rods are a lot longer than other types of rods. This is because the casting method is very different than other types of fishing. When you’re false casting (a fishing method within fly fishing), it is very beneficial to have that extra length to launch more line out with each cast.

When you rod is long, it will also be more sensitive and you will be able to tell if a fish is on from less of a touch.

An average fly rod is about 9 feet long. This is about 2 feet longer than other types of rods. For carp rods, that average is the same. A good carp fishing rod will be around 9 feet long.

If you decide to fish on a river, get a 9 footer. If you’re on a lake or a larger river with more open areas, consider using one that is 10 feet or 10 and a half feet.

The longer the rod is, the further you will be able to cast out. This also means that you will be further from the carp. This is actually a good thing because carp are very easily spooked. Being at a distance also means that you will have to be more accurate in your casts.

Practice beforehand to be as accurate as possible at a distance.

Fly Reel

When fishing for carp, it is important to have a reel that can handle the stress the large fish will put on the line, rod, and reel. Because of this, make sure that you are using a large-arbor fly reel.

The large-arbor reels will give certain benefits that will help when trying to bring in the fish. It will help the retrieval be as efficient as possible. This type of reel will give you an increased level of retrieval with each spin. This means that the time spent reeling is decreased a lot.

This is because the core of the reel with no line in it is larger than other types of fly reels. This can increase the amount of line retrieved with a certain number of turns by more than 400%.

The line can start being reeled in at a faster rate if the reel is already at the same level of a full reel with a smaller diameter.

Another benefit of having a large arbor reel is the fact that they are easily paired with light action rods. The light action rods are very sensitive, but the real reason that they are wanted to be used in fly fishing is because of the tip’s flexibility is able to help with the method of casting that is very familiar with fly fishing.

False casting is harder to do and takes more effort if the rod is heavy action. The light action lets out more line with each whipping action because it bounces back with the stress put on it.

A large-arbor reel paired with a faster-acting, 9-foot, 8 weighted fly rod is the best and easiest way to get the results that you want when you’re fly fishing for carp. Paired with the best of the local lures, it can be very productive to go carp fly fishing.

Related Questions:

Do carp live in rivers or in lakes? Carp can actually found in both rivers and lakes. They are bottom feeding fish, so they will most likely be closer to the shore where the most insects and algae will be found.

Are carp an invasive species? Yes and no. The Asian Carp are considered pests and there is, and hopefully never will be, a bag limit on Asian Carp. They are very harmful to environments, so they are actually catch-and-kill. Most other types of carp are not invasive and can help an ecosystem thrive.

Tim Butala

My name is Tim and I have been a fisherman my whole life. My favorite fish to go after is a Striped Bass.

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