The Common Carp or European Carp is a widespread freshwater fish most closely related to the common Goldfish and gives its name to the Carp family Cyprinedae. They have an even regular scale pattern that covers the complete body. Carp are native to Asia and Eastern Europe and have been introduced into environments worldwide. They are very often considered an invasive species. Variants also include the Mirror Carp which unlike the Common Carp has large irregular and patchy scaling along both sides of it’s body making many fish unique and possible to identify by sight. The linear Mirror is scale less except for a row of large scales that run along its lateral line, the Leather Carp is completely scale less, and the fully scaled has a regular pattern of large scales covering the whole body. The difference between Mirror and Common Carp is both genetic and visual – biologically they are similar.

Interesting Facts

Contrary to popular belief, Leather carp are not Mirror carp without scales; there is a distinct genetic difference.

Scientific Name Cyprinus carpio
British Record 65lb 14oz (Simon Bater), Conningbrook Lake, 2005.
IGFA World Record 91lb (Andre Komornicki, UK), The Graviers Fishery, France, 2008
Other Names Karper(Dutch),Carpe (French),Karpfen(German), Carpa (Spanish)


Carp are very adaptable and can be found in rivers, lakes, ponds and reservoirs all across Europe and in many other countries around the world. They thrive in warmer waters and prefer slow moving or still water but that is not to say that they will not tolerate fast flowing rivers as long as there is an abundant food supply and a few places to hide from a strong current. Carp tend to group up in smallish shoals and being a secretive fish by nature it can normally be found under or near cover which could be in the form of overhanging trees, lily beds, depth changes and channels in the lake or river bed, under weed rafts, or close to an inaccessible bank.

Feeding Habit

Being predominantly bottom feeders Carp root around in the mud, silt and weed especially in warmer shallows looking for the next meal. Bloodworm beds are a favourite location for carp, being one of the carp’s staple food items along with snails, crayfish, insect larva and almost any other aquatic insect, creature or invertebrate. Carp also eat small amounts of weed and plant life but have become accustomed to anglers baits such as boilies, sweetcorn and maggots etc.

Tackle and Methods

The tackle and methods we use to catch carp vary drastically from location to location. Lakes in the UK and France for instance will require a different approach to deep fast flowing rivers in Spain, France or further afield, as will the baits, tactics and end tackle. It is therefore advisable to contact one of our experienced guides for advice if you need help or are unsure of what to take with you.

Carp Holidays

Lago di Salasco Fishing Adventure

Lago di Salasco

Lago di Salasco is a 40-acre Italian lake brimming with carp, catfish and trout. This tour offers you a week's fishing at this top Italian fishing destination and a chance to catch plenty of big fish.
Lake Escapes Fishing Adventure

Lake Escapes

Our Lake Escapes tours take you to some of the most famous carp fisheries France has to offer. We take care of the transportation, food, lake booking and all you need to do is just turn up and fish. These trips are not for the inexperience angler and we limit them to a maximum of two