7 Insights: Carp Freshwater or Saltwater – Angler’s Guide

Carp, once seen as invasive, are now recognized as a challenging catch that helps balance ecosystems. They’re common, grow large, don’t need fancy gear, offer a tough fight, and can be delicious.

saltwater carp

Carp have long been considered an invasive fish that swim the waterways of North America, competing with native fish for resources. But opinions on that are changing, as many anglers recognize carp as the challenge they are.

Fishing for carp can be a way that you ambitious anglers can help keep the local ecosystem in balance. It doesn’t hurt that they’re easily found and put up a good fight.

Read on if you need further proof of why carp are the perfect catch for you the next time you go fishing.

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Carp Are Common

Unlike some other kinds of fish, carp are extremely common in the waterways of North America. They are invasive species that outcompete native fish and disturb plants and riverbeds when they search for food. When fishing for carp, you’re doing the local ecosystem a favor by helping to control their population.

Carp Are Often Large

Carp are fun to fish for because they can reach large sizes. The common carp comes in at around 8 – 10 pounds but can grow much larger. Some of the biggest carp can weigh up to 75 pounds, with the largest weighing 75 pounds and 11 ounces. This fact makes carp an exciting prospect if you’re angling for a large catch.

Carp Don’t Need Fancy Equipment

Common Carp. Fish on fishing net

What’s great about carp is that you won’t need fancy fishing equipment to make your catch. You’ll simply require a medium or medium-heavy fishing rod, a weight, a hook, and your bait. These low requirements make carp fishing a low barrier to entry, excellent for beginners who are just learning the sport of angling. 

Carp Are Challenging to Hook

Carp won’t go down without a fight. If you’re looking for a fish that’s going to pull on your line and make you work for the catch, carp is what you’re after when fishing. They’re tough, athletic fish that won’t give up.

They’re also challenging to get on the hook to begin with and can require some finesse and careful casting to lure in. There are even some groups dedicated to the exciting sport of catching carp, such as the Carp Anglers Group, the American Carp Society, and the Wild Carp Club.

Carp Are Delicious

Chef gutting carp fish to prepare it later

It’s true; many think carp are rough fish and unsuitable for eating. But hear us out; carp is eaten frequently and considered quite delicious in other parts of the world.

There are many excellent recipes for carp; if you should catch some, consider trying them out. You might just find your next favorite dish is a carp dish. These fish can be deliciously grilled, broiled, fried, or baked.

Frequently Asked Questions

There’s a lot of information, so you may have additional carp-related questions. We’ve rounded up some of the big ones.

Can carp live in saltwater?

Carp are primarily freshwater fish. But they can tolerate some salt, which makes them a candidate for surviving in brackish water. But it’s unusual to find them out in the open sea.

Are carps in the ocean?

Not usually. Carps are freshwater fish that you’ll find in rivers, streams, lakes, and ponds. Some species can tolerate brackish water, so you might find them in the ocean, but it’s unlikely. The grass carp can handle saltwater better than some other subspecies of carp.

Are redfish like carp?

Redfish aren’t carp but have similar behavior in that they’re challenging to hook and reel in. Their behavior, however, is more predatory than carp. They’re also saltwater fish and won’t be found in freshwater like carp.

Are carp and koi the same?

Koi are the domesticated version of carp. They’ve been bred over the years to have the fancy appearance you would expect from the flowing and colorful ornamental pond fish.

Can grass carp live in saltwater?

Grass carp is one of the varieties that tolerate brackish water. Unlike some carp, grass carp can last several days in the water with a high salt content. 

Is carp meat good to eat?

Yes! Many people look down on carp meat, but with proper preparation, these fish are a delicious and savory meal. They can be smoked, grilled, or deep-fried. Across the world, many enjoy having carp on their menu.

What fish is similar to carp?

There are several subspecies of carp, all with varying physical differences. In addition, there are fish that inexperienced anglers confuse with carp. Some of those include largemouth bass, golden shiner, bigmouth buffalo, smallmouth buffalo, creek chub, and white suckers.

What is a carp?

The carp is a freshwater fish from the genus Cyprinus and the family Cyprinidae. It lives in ponds, lakes, rivers, and roots for food. It lives alone or in small schools.

What kingdom do carp belong to?

Carp belong to the kingdom Animalia.

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