Different Types of Carps and Where to Find Them

If you’re an aspiring carp angler or are simply in search of information about the different carp subspecies and where to find them, then you’ve stumbled upon the right article. 

What often comes to our minds when we see the various catches of carp anglers is, “how many varieties of carp are there?” To name a few, there’s the common carp, leather carp, and mirror carp, all of which you’ll be finding more about as you read on. And then there are groups that carp anglers aren’t too fond of catching, such as the ghost, grass, koi, F1 carp, and crucian.

Understanding the Carp Family

Carps are known for inhabiting slow-moving rivers and lakes, particularly those that have turbid water.

To help you understand more about the fish that belong in the carp family and discover what it takes to truly become a carp angler, we’ve listed the different types of carp that can be found in our waters. Take note that some of these carp belong to the same species. 

  1. Common Carp

The two barbules on either side of its mouth and regular scale pattern tells you that the carp you’re looking at is the common carp. These longer and leaner carp are not actually as common as their name suggests as most fishers are likely to have more mirror carp in stock than commons. 

Plus, did you know that the chances of finding a big mirror are a lot higher than finding a large common? This makes the latter a true prize for many carp anglers out there. Some of the most massive commons can weigh 60 to 100 pounds.

  1. Mirror Carp

If the common carp has regular scales, then the mirror has irregular ones. Carp anglers, however, have discovered a way to make these types of carp easily identifiable despite their irregular patterns. 

The subdivision of scale patterns allows you tell apart a linear mirror, whose lateral lines hold an unbroken line of scales, from a fully scaled mirror, which has a body that is covered entirely of scales of different sizes.

This type of carp can also reach massive sizes, with some of the biggest weighings at approximately a hundred pounds.

  1. Leather Carp

This carp’s shortage of scales gives it its leather-like skin, which still has its fair share of scales around the dorsal area, particularly at the tail’s wrist. Contrary to what some people believe, the leather carp isn’t just a mirror carp that doesn’t have scales. Science has actually proven this one to be genetically different from the mirror.

A large leather carp is very rare on account of its lack of red blood cells that fuel growth. Minimal information about this carp is available due to its elusiveness. One of the largest leather carp on record was a 54-pound adult named “Heather the Leather.” 

  1. Grass Carp

This is one carp that has been steadily gaining popularity in recent years. Originating in China and Siberia, and introduced to other countries as a means of controlling weed, they are starting to become more and more common these days. 

It was believed that, back then, these types of carp ignored bait and chose to eat plants instead. This was soon debunked after conventional fishing proved otherwise. Grass carp have round heads, long and slender bodies, and a lack of barbules. They basically look like a chub.

In countries like France, a small number of grass carp are stocked in lakes to function as weed control. These fish are basically in charge of housekeeping. 

As far as growth rate is concerned, the grass carp can increase in size at a rapid rate. While they typically gain around ten pounds a year, one of the biggest ever recorded was a mere 54 pounds. These days, however, there are likely to be bigger ones out there that haven’t been caught.  

  1. Ghost Carp

This carp hybrid has also become quite common. The ghost carp is a result of breeding the common or mirror carp with the koi carp. Their scales have a metallic quality to it, appearing in shades of white, gold, and silver. 

A yellow ghost carp is usually produced by a yamabuki koi and a white ghost carp typically results from breeding with a purachina koi. 

Ghost carp are hybrids and are usually meant for decorations, so there is really no telling how big they can grow. The largest on record, however, is an impressive forty-pounder.

  1. F1 Carp

A hybrid of the crucian and common carp, this is one of the most stocked carp varieties in the world. They’re small and weigh only up to six to nine pounds. What’s interesting about these carp is that they’ll continue to feed in cold water when other fish either stop or slow down.

  1. Crucian Carp

The smallest carp of them all, the crucian carp is known to inhabit still waters, like lakes and ponds, instead of running waters. They can also survive in bad-quality water with very little oxygen. 

Final Thoughts

Now that we’ve gone through our list of carp subspecies, we ask ourselves again: what does it take to be a carp angler? We believe that to truly become an angler, you mustn’t only know how to catch carp, but also be aware of the different varieties of carp out there. 

Angler or not, make sure to treat all fish species with respect as that is the only way one can derive the utmost pleasure in the sport.

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