Ah, the misunderstood Carp!
The first real fish I caught as a kid was a big Carp. It was in a fast flowing ox bow, on the Platte River in Western Douglas County, Nebraska. I was a pretty skinny, little kid then, and it nearly pulled me and my Zebco 202 into the drink!
While everyone in most places of America bad mouth the Carp as being a useless, trash fish, in Nebraska, it’s considered great eating! There are several restaurants in Omaha that offer it as the premier item on their menu, over the Catfish, Walleye, and other fare. I was amazed to find that when I moved to Missouri, and talked about fishing for Carp, people looked at me like I was from Mars! You should have seen the look on their face when I told them I ate Carp! Carp provides a flakey, white meat I found similar to Pearch.
The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission publishes the Nebraskaland Magazine, and on occasions cookbooks. At their web site, (http://www.ngpc.state.ne.us/nebland/nebland.asp) I’m sure you’ll find articles on ways to cook Carp in various ways. My favorite way is to batter it in cornmeal and deep fry it. The secret, and this is important, is to score the meet between the ribs. This allows the thick meat to cook thoroughly, as well as dissolving the smaller bones that the Carp are reputed to be full of.
Now, as for catching Carp, I have to agree with Stonecrusher, your basic 39 cent canned corn works best for most occasions. It’s great when taking kids fishing for the first time as they (especially the little girls,) don’t get squeamish about putting corn on the hook, and most often it’s successful. Nothing like watching the excitement of a kid when he or she hooks a big, hard fighting Carp!
I’ll have to admit, that since I moved to Missouri, I haven’t fished for Carp very much. I just haven’t had the opportunity. But I can recommend some great Carp fishing opportunities in Nebraska.
About 25 miles northwest of Omaha on US-275, is the City of Fremont, Nebraska. West of Fremont is the State Lakes Park, which is a collection of old sand pits of various size. As I recall, Lake Number 5 is stocked for Carp Fishing Only. During my late 20’s, I’d pick up my Dad, and off to the lakes we would go. During a typical afternoon, we’d each land four or five carp of various sizes, simply using canned corn for bait.
Two Rivers State Park, straight west of Omaha also provides for some great Carp Fishing. …And let’s not forget the Platte, Elkhorn, and Missouri Rivers.