What Do Carp Eat?

posted in: freshwater fishing | 0

common carp Cyprinus carpio

The common carp is found across North America, Europe and other parts of the world. The species is popular among freshwater anglers, and can be caught using a variety of techniques. Carp are omnivorous; they eat aquatic vegetation, insects, crustaceans, worms, fish eggs and other food sources.

When fishing for carp, anglers choose a variety of baits. Some anglers use a variety of baits, while others feel there is a single best bait for catching carp. When choosing bait for catching carp, it is important to decide whether to fish for a variety of species, or if carp will be target exclusively.

Some baits will attract a variety of species, while others tend to be ignored by most species, yet still catch carp. For anglers that want to catch more than one species, Nightcrawlers or earthworms are usually one of the top baits. In addition to catching carp, worms often attract catfish, sunfish, perch, trout and other fish. When other species of fish are a nuisance, carp specialists often choose corn, doughballs, cheese, salmon eggs or prepared baits.

Baits for catching carp include:



insect larvae (grubs)


dough balls



synthetic “scented” baits

salmon eggs

chicken livers





Most carp anglers are careful to rig baits so that they are presented on or near the bottom. Top and bottom rigs, bobber-hook rigs, and carolina bait rigs are among the most common presentations. For carp fishing, anglers choose a variety of hook configurations, including live bait, treble, or circle hooks.

Occasionally, carp are caught using artificial lures. They are sometimes caught using soft plastic grubs, worms or other imitations. Scented soft lure bodies are popular as they seem to catch larger numbers of fish that feed by smell.