Carp Fishing Before & After Spawning NEVER During - What You Need To Know | David Rosemeier

Germany based big carp hunter David Rosemeier takes a closer look at carp spawning, with an insight into how their behaviour changes before and after the act. He also shares his best advice for catching them either side of this crucial period in the calendar...

Nice weather, little wind, sunshine and water temperature of 18 degrees Celsius - that screams spawning time!

At this time of year it can be really tricky to get a fish on the line, because the carp have anything but eating on their minds: "Love is in the air!"

It can still be worth persevering, however, as there is always a chance of hooking a fish that is not yet busy making love or has already done so.

Is fishing during the spawning season acceptable?

Opinions differ widely on this question. While some people stop fishing altogether during this entire period, others use the time on the water to catch a fish or two in difficult conditions as the fish are at their biggest weights.

In general, fishing around the spawning season is ok. However, the carp should NOT be disturbed or caused any further stress whilst spawning is taking place, and it is also good practice to let them rest for a period after before targeting them again. 

If you are fishing a lake and the carp decide to get it on, you could reel the rods in, but at the very least, don't fish exactly where the carp are performing their energy-sapping act or take the boat into these areas unnecessarily often. Admittedly, the carp will usually close their mouths anyway at this time, as they have other things on their minds!

Carp Spawning Credit: David Rosemeier
Keep an eye on the water temperature!

In order to time your fishing around the spawning season correctly, you need to keep an eye on the water temperature and know when carp might start getting frisky.

As a rule of thumb, scientists recommend a constant temperature of 18 degrees Celsius over a longer period of time. This value serves as a guide, but cannot be generalised. Smaller carp can often be observed spawning at temperatures below this - together with bream. Larger fish like to take a little longer.

Changes in the weather, like a cold snap, often lead to the fish interrupting the act of love for several days.

Checking Water Temperature Fishing

How to find the carp...

Location is now the key. Because if you don't fish where the fish are, you will have to wait a long time for bites. The fish are now much more active and like to congregate in the shallows when the weather is nice. Keep an eye out for jumping fish, move around the water a lot, use a drone or search the bank the old-fashioned way with polarised glasses.

Carp Spawning (Credit: David Rosemeier)
Varied spawning sites

Just because the fish have spawned in a certain area in the past, doesn't mean it's set in stone! On the contrary, spawning sites vary more often than you might expect and often spawning takes place in different places in the water at the same time.

There is a good reason for this: potential spawning predators such as bream, eels and other carp find it much more difficult to attack their own offspring.

David Rosemeier Big Carp Fishing

Expect strong feeding phases before the spawning takes place 

The fish are now quite easy to locate. It is not uncommon for the entire lake population to be found in a small section of water. The phase shortly before the energy-sapping love game has already provided for many an exceptional spring session over the years and is a guarantee for great catches.

The fish feed up to store in the necessary reserves of energy required for the spawning process - this phase must be recognised and the bait given to the fish.

David Rosemeier Big Mirror Carp
Spawning time over? Here we go!

Once the fish have finished spawning, they are marked by the effort and really empty. With a little distance, it's time to get back to their old strength - the feeding begins again!

The spawning season is followed by one of the most productive phases of the year. Those who are on the trail of the fish now, chasing them on the move, will get their money's worth!

Carp are spawning predators by nature and it seems that they have somehow built in an instinctive switch that tells them to clear the areas where they have spawned so that their own offspring are not eaten.

Spawning Location

React to changes in the weather!

You know the situation: The weather is warm and constant, you have the feeling that the fish will start spawning any second but nothing happens. Then comes a change in the weather, often with cloudy or even slightly cooler conditions, and a day later the fish escalate completely.

The weather change is the initiator! Have you ever made this observation? Conversely, you can always observe that a severe cold snap or heavy cold rain showers suddenly interrupt the lovemaking. This often lasts for several days. Days in which the fish are definitely looking for a "snack in between." Keep an eye on such phases and draw the right conclusions.

Carp Fishing Scenic

Distinguish between the genders

How do carp actually spawn? Females can usually be recognised by their ample belly girth, whilst males are the ones that milt when they are caught. They also have the typical spawning rash, which is often much more pronounced in scaly carp.

With a trained eye, the two sexes can also be distinguished by their pectoral fins. Male carp often have more pronounced pecs, which can make them far more powerful should you hook one!

During the spawning process, the female carp lay their eggs on aquatic plants and the males add their milt - this can be a real challenge. This also explains why some fish look badly battered after the spawning season and sometimes show severe injuries. The males must compete to be the first to fertilise the eggs - it really is quite the spectacle! 

David Rosemeier Big Common Carp

Rivers & reservoirs have different laws

In contrast to most bodies of water, carp in rivers and large reservoirs are much more influenced by their surroundings when spawning.

In a barren, drained French reservoir, the fish cannot find any weeds, aquatic plants or anything else they would need to spawn. It is not uncommon for fish to
spawn much earlier here if the situation is right. This is almost always due to dammed water areas such as meadows or flooded bank vegetation.

French Reservoir Carp Fishing

Grab their attention with small bright traps

Eye-catching pop-ups, presented on catchy rigs with sharp hooks - this almost always works and is my first choice in the early spring. I've found the Spinner Rig and the Multi-Rig to be particularly reliable.

If the fish are put off by obvious single baits, washed-out pop-ups or 'Snowmans' with small cut pop-ups as toppers can be a catchy solution. Stalking provides
enormously informative observations of how the fish react to your hookbait.

Multi Rig

Migratory routes vs feeding grounds

Before the spawning season, it is worth fishing in the areas where the fish congregate. During the spawning season, you should avoid these areas and position your lures along the carp's migration routes.

Rubbing spots, natural feeding areas and constrictions in the water that fish regularly pass through are the absolute hotspots.

After the spawning season, the big feeding begins. It is a good idea to establish a spot of your own at the same time as fishing the migration routes, to build up confidence and land really strong catches in future here. This hard feeding phase continues well into the summer - the fish are now really active - so go make the most of them!

Carp Migration Routes (Credit: David Rosemeier)
Despite his young age, author David Rosemeier is already an integral part of the German fishing scene and has turned his hobby into his profession. David is passionate about the adventures he experiences on the bank and can always be found on the big waters in Germany and abroad.