How to find carp in the winter, spring, summer and autumn

Carp have different priorities during the different seasons and these will dictate where they may be hiding and the best places to fish for them. By making a note of the carp's behaviour throughout the year, it is possible to figure out where they will be located for months and years to come, as they are often creatures of habit.

Finding carp in the winter

The carp's main priority in the winter is warmth and finding areas of warm water.

Carp are less active during the winter months and therefore do not use up as much energy moving around as they would in the summer and other seasons. For this reason, food is not as important to them and they feed less often.

Carp do not like the cold and so seek out areas of water where the temperature is higher than in other parts.

Shallow waters that receive direct sunlight, particularly first thing in the morning, are ideal for locating carp in the winter.

If there is no sunlight on a particularly cold and wet day, the carp will stay at the bottom of the river or lake or in deep pools where the temperature remains slightly higher than towards the surface. On such days it may be difficult to catch any carp under these conditions.

Other areas where carp may be found during the winter months are around weed beds and snags. Here, they feel safe and secure and are offered some shelter from the cold temperatures. Weed beds tend to have a constant supply of food in the form of insects and bugs, which could be handy if food is scare elsewhere and the carp are hungry.

Finding carp in the spring

It is definitely easier to seek out carp as the winter draws to a close and the spring kicks in. At this time their movements and habits will often give their location away.

After several months of relative inactivity the carp wake up hungry and head off in search of food ready for the mating period.

The best place to fish for carp during the spring months is definitely around weed beds, which will just be starting to re-grow. These areas are rich in natural foods such as worms, larvae, beetles and other tasty insects.

During the spring carp may often be seen jumping out of the water or swimming through reed beds and snags as they try to remove leeches and other sucking insects that may have stuck to them during the winter. These actions will give their location away.

Carp will still head for areas of warmth during the spring and so shallow waters or areas that receive a lot of direct sunlight will also be good areas in which to locate carp.

Any prolific angler will also know that carp like to follow the wind. This is true in almost every case unless there is an extremely cold wind blowing.

Islands, underneath lily pads, overhanging trees and bushes are also carp hotspots, not only in the spring but at all times throughout the year.

Finding carp in the summer

During the summer months the carp will not be swimming around trying to find waters where the temperature is higher and so its priority changes at this time of year.

More energy is used up as the higher water temperature enables them to move around more and so more food and oxygen is required.

Areas of natural food will attract large numbers of carp at this time, as will fishing "hotspots". Fishing hotspots are places that are fished heavily by anglers and therefore receive lots of food and bait. Over time, carp will gradually work out where these areas are and return to them in search of something to eat.

Although, these areas may be places that carp go for food, if there are too many anglers present their safety may be at risk and therefore some carp may move to areas that are "safer", away from the anglers nets and hooks.

As carp will search for areas of higher oxygen content they will often follow strong winds. Look for carp on any windward bank at any time of year when there is a strong but warm wind blowing.

On sweltering summer days carp may hunt for areas of shade, so that they can keep cool and also hidden from predatory anglers. Don't forget to check overhanging trees, lily pads, snags, islands and other features that offer shade, food and safety.

Finding carp in the autumn

With the onset of winter carp will be looking to stock up on their food supply and build up their energy reserves and so many fish will be out feeding, especially when the temperature first begins to drop and natural food supplies may not be as plentiful. Look for carp in natural food areas such as weed beds or under overhanging trees.

If there is a warm wind blowing, follow this and look to the windward side of the bank for carp, however, if the wind is cold, remember to look on the opposite side.

Heavy winds will also stir up sediment from the bottom of the river or lake and therefore dislodge food that may be located there, enticing carp to the area to feed.

Warm weather will mean that you are most likely to find carp basking in the sunlight and in shallow waters.

Carp do tend to move around according to the time of year and other influencing factors. If you are unsure of where to locate carp in a certain area or see no signs of life, don't forget to ask around in local tackle shops or to other anglers. Just because an area is empty it doesn't mean that there aren't any fish about, especially if this is a secluded and secure spot - this may be exactly what the carp are looking for!

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