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Spring Carp Fishing Tips: Where to locate them and what baits to use

Spring carp fishing tips

Spring is one of my favourite times to fish. The weather starts to warm up and there’s always a point where the carp seem to wake up and get moving after the slowness of the winter. Finding the right spots and approach in the spring can lead to some amazing results, even in short sessions. Here I’m going to share my best spring tips with you! 

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Top 5 Spring Carp Fishing Tips

1-  Find the shallow waters

When the sun is out the difference in water temperates at this time of year can be stark. The shallower waters warm up faster, especially in clear lakes and the fish prefer to head to the warmer waters and stay there.

In April time, at the lakes I fish, you can often find a number of carp in a shallow bay that’s only a couple of feet deep. Identifying these areas when the carp move will help increase your catch rates. If you know the depths in a lake or have access to a depth chart, I’d always try and book the shallower areas all spring if possible. 

I often find targeting these areas later in the afternoon can be really productive too as that is when the water will be at it’s warmest if it is sunny all day. 

2 – Locate them every time you go! 

It is easy to think as it’s getting warmer they will be on the move as this isn’t always the case – especially in early Spring. At these times of the year, there can still be hard frosts overnight which sends the fish back down in the water and makes them more dormant. It is really important to pay attention to the overnight temperatures and try and locate the fish every time you visit the lake (although this could be a tip all year long)

3 – Move when you see them

I do think a lot of the spring tips carry on from the winter tips. If the lakes are quiet in early spring then moving to showing fish can reap dividends in sessions. If you are ready to move at all times then you’ll find getting on the carp easier than sitting in the same place all day.

Where possible, I like to trickle bait into a couple of spots on the lake and then revisit them a few hours later to see if there has been any activity. I do this in the shallower waters on the warmer days to see if the fish are moving into these areas. I like to feed the sorts with pellets of particles to get them grubbing around. This will stir up the bottom in the clear waters and show you if they have been active. If you have not got the time to fish then prebaiting spots when you get the chance can help with this approach too. 

4 – Surface on warmer days 

At the start of the year, the carp are less wary on the surface than in the middle of the summer as it is a while since they’ve been caught out on the top. On a warm day carry a bag of floating pellets, like Nash risers and put some in on the back of the warm wind. 

A lot of carpers seem to wait for the summer to start surface fishing but a late spring day can be just as good, if not better, in my opinion. 

5 – Follow warm winds & south facing banks

As you can probably tell from these tips the warmer water is the place to fish! On the bottom of warm winds is always a good place to start as this will be the warmer water plus the natural food being pushed down the lake. Bait these areas lightly and fish a bright hook bait for the best results. 

South-facing banks get the sun first in the morning and keep the majority of the sun throughout the day. These will be the warmest areas on the lake and they are good to target for this reason. 

6 – Use naturals

I’m always hearing people using the excuse that the carp only feed on naturals in the water. From my underwater filming I’ve never found this to be true, they’ll always take something. However, if you cannot beat them, then join them. Various companies now offer naturals for sale. Carp particles UK have a range of dehydrated snail meat as well as snail shells and ground mixes of both. These will give your baits a real natural zing in the spring and presented right can cath even the wariest carp. 

Best Rigs For Spring

In spring, I still like to stick with small hook patterns in the early months. I will then increase the size when the feeding picks up. Here are my go-to rigs –

Slip D

I fish D-Rigs and wafters for 80% of my fishing. It’s a pattern I’m confident with and it presents the bait well. 

Small PVA bag with German rig

When the feeding is light a small bag of pellets, particles or broken boilies can be the perfect way to get a bit when it’s tough going. For me, the German rig is ideal for solid bags along with a solid bag stem. 

Spring Baiting Up Tips

Early Spring:

In early spring I like to use little and often baiting techniques. Keeping small amounts of chopped boilies and particles going into my spots. On heavily fished waters spodding lots of baits will still work but I prefer to fish in quieter waters. Little and often works best for me in order to get them feeding and coming back to the spots where I’m fishing. 

If I have 2 rods out then I’m usually feeding 4 spots and looking to move at any signs of feeding on any of them. I like to always feed one in a close margin where I can keep an eye on it for anything getting its head down for a munch. 

Late Spring:

There’s always a turning point in the spring where the fish really get on the feed. Keep an eye on local catch reports to see when this is. I personally find it after a period of between 2 and 4 days of warm weather with mild nights. At this point, I really step up the amount of bait going into the spots and try and get them heads down and steaming through the bait. 

Pre baiting? 

Pre baiting spots is something I’m doing all year round! If the lakes I’m fishing are quiet I’m always trickling bait in to clear spots that I’ve found, usually as I’m leaving the lake. On the lake I fish currently, I’ve got 5 spots on the go, meaning when It’s busier I know I’ve always got a spot to fish to with at least 1 rod where they are used to seeing bait. 


For me, the best bait to use in Spring is broken and glugged boilies along with particles. The boilies have a high level of scent to attract the fish and the particles are excellent to get them grubbing around for food. 

My rig of choice is a D-Rig with a hand-sharpened hook in the spring, usually with a size 6 or 8 hooks depending on where I am fishing. 

I usually find they switch on to feed in April in the UK when the weather has warmed up. This can happen in late march if there is a long mild period of warmer nights. 

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