Different Fish, Different Places: Canals in the Desert

Introducing “Different Fish, Different Places,” from the canals to the flats, there’s a growing community of fly anglers taking advantage of the amazingly unique fisheries close to home. The first chapter takes us to Phoenix, Arizona with Kris Bare of the AZ Fly Shop and Derek Rivchin of Lo Water Guide Service to experience fly fishing in a region where temperatures commonly soar to over 100° Fahrenheit, where they are in pursuit of one species, the carp!

Arizona Carp

While some may overlook Arizona carp, Kris and Derek have begun to actively pursue them by poling and walking the canals around their hometown of Phoenix, Arizona. We asked them a few questions to learn a little more.

What made you fall in love with carp fishing? 

Kris Bare (AZ Fly Shop):  I don’t know if “fall in love” is the right term. I saw some carp at a local pond one day while I was bass fishing. So I decided to target them…..I learned quickly that it was extremely difficult and I started to become obsessed with the game…trying to figure everything out. How to not spook them. How to get them to eat. How to keep them from breaking you off. All of it. I fell in love with the challenge. Carp fishing itself drives me crazy most times!

Derek Rivchin (Lo Water Guide Service): The accessibility, their smartness, and their power are why I fell in love with carp. 

What is your setup for carping? 

Kris: My Winston Air Salt 9ft 6wt is my go-to for the canals and most of the ponds. I fish it with a Taylor Series 1 with a SA Amplitude Smooth Bonefish. In these cases, I am usually using Trout Hunter 10ft 3x trout leaders and tippet.

Scott Sector 9ft 8wt does double duty as my flats rod and my “big water” carp rod. I have a Ross Evolution Salt R spooled with a Rio Elite Flats Pro for these situations I tie my own leaders 10ft stepped down from 50lb fluorocarbon to 12lb 

And last but not least is my small water small fish rod. A Marcoflyrods 5 piece 7ft 4wt fiberglass CTS blank. For a reel, I have a Sage Trout with a SA Amplitude trout line. For leaders on this rod, I go with the TroutHunter 10ft 4x leader but I cut about 2 feet off the tippet end and replace it with 4x fluorocarbon.

Derek: St Croix Imperial 6wt Salt. 3d fly reel “el hefe”. WF Scientific Angler AirCel line. 9’ 10# mono scientific angler salt leader. 2-3’ 0x fluoro SA tippet.

Why do you think anglers overlook urban fisheries?

Kris: I think there are a lot of reasons. People don’t know that it is even possible to target some of these fish with a fly rod. 

Urban fisheries have a uniqueness to them not everyone can appreciate….not everyone likes electric scooters and shopping carts as structure. 

Speaking of carp in specific, people don’t know how incredibly challenging it is. I have had guys come into the shop and when I mention carp fishing they say. “Oh, I’m not fishing for them…I could catch all the carp I want in the canal behind my house. I want to fish for trout.”

Derek: It’s easy to look past the concrete jungle and into the wild scenic mountains. But there is a very unique adventure lying in our backyards and it’s 5 mins away with the biggest fish you may ever catch. You’ll spend more time fishing and less time driving and you may even learn a new skill.

What does “Different Fish, In Different Places” mean to you? 

Kris: Honestly when I personally hear Different Fish in Different Places it makes me think of exotic fish in the rainforest or something. What we do in our urban fisheries has become very normal to me now… What I really hope is that other people see how awesome these fisheries are and take advantage of them more. Spread out the pressure on all of our fish a little more especially in these hot months of summer.

Derek: Different fish in different places means the process of scouting new fish in new places and putting a fly in front of a fish that has probably never seen a fly. There’s nothing like it when it all comes together.

Thank you to Kris and Derek for taking the time to sit down with us! If you are interested in pursuing “Different Fish, In Different Places” continue to follow along with this amazing series Loon Outdoors is putting together. It is far from over!

Urban Fly Fishing & The World’s 9 Best Cities to Fly Fish

Fishing Tips: Carp on The Fly


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