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Saturday, February 2, 2013

Mirror Carp Are Cool!

Common Carp are usually what I see and catch; they are of course wonderful!  Mirror Carp fascinate me because they are different and because I don't get to see many of them.  The scales are larger.  The scale pattern can be regular and it can be totally random.  They tend to have a row of scales down the top of their backs and some scales around the tail though this is not universal.  They may have other scales along their body; sometimes just a few random ones, sometimes quite a number, and sometimes a Mirror is fully scaled.  A linear Mirror has a line of scales down the side of its body.  Mirrors are unusual; even a small one makes me smile.  

In the book "Secret Carp" by Chris Yates, he tells stories of a day and night on an English Carp lake.  He is a wonderful writer and the book is an enjoyable read.  Thanks to Tony Cartlidge from CarpPro for sharing his copy with me.  On page 124 of the book Yates says, "Nineteen pounds, six ounces--a mirror carp and, despite my slight prejudice against mirrors, a splendid-looking fish..."  I chuckled when I read this because I enjoy the Mirrors so much.  It made me realize that if I always caught Mirrors I would likely be fascinated by by catching the occasional Common.  

I had understood Mirrors and Commons to be able to spawn together but I wasn't sure if one had dominant genes.  I also wasn't sure if a population of only Mirrors could produce Commons or a population of only Commons could produce a Mirror.  Here is what I now (think) I understand based on an exchange with "Dr. Carp" on the CarpPro forum.    A Mirror has a scale mutation.  Mirrors and Commons can spawn together.  A population of only Commons can produce a Mirror.  A population of only Mirrors can't produce a Common.  Mirrors are a little more susceptible to disease and don't live quite as long as Commons.  (Dr. Carp is actually Dr. Nicholas Gidmark, a research fellow at Brown University.  He studies Carp--wow!)

Commons and Mirrors like the same flies by the way.  I think that is darn nice of them.  

A wonderful Columbia River Mirror

Mirrors have larger scales than Commons.

A beautiful sunny day and a linear Mirror from the Columbia River

                              A partially scaled Mirror getting ready to swim back out in the lake.  

The Columbia River--ahhhh; I love my river!

One of the most unusual scale patterns I have seen.  The scales vary in size and in the direction that they point.  It looked like someone dropped a handful of scales on this fish and they just stuck where they landed.

A linear Mirror 

A fully scaled Mirror 

Even though this fish is small it is one of my favorite pictures of a Mirror Carp; he had a prehistoric look to him.  

An almost fully scaled Mirror.  That one spot on his left side was the only place without scales.  

A Mirror Carp with hardly any scales and a pug nose

Another linear Mirror Carp 

A nice, thick bodied Mirror from a central Washington lake


  1. Mirrors are so stunning! Very nice!

  2. I catch about 50/50 commons and mirrors. Chris Yates big fish was full of spawn, but still a record at the time. I agree Chris is a wonderful writer and great fisherman.

    What I love about mirrors is that every one is an individual, no two the same. The grow big in the UK up to and over 50lb.

  3. Mr.P,

    Your prehistoric looking fish looks like my one and only. What a fscinating fish, them, and carp in general. I deal with ponds, in 2 I have seen mirrors, one, never. In the Snake here they are far more common, though not like father upstream.


  4. Right on, Mr. P. Ironically, as you know, commons are not very common out here and I fish for mirrors almost exclusively.

  5. Nice. I kinda got a thing for mirrors myself.

  6. I am a Montana carper with a weekend pass to Portland the last weekend in April. No kids, a big party for a friend with a dude ranch here in Missoula, and a day to fish. can you point me towards some possible cyprinae during that time? we can email or the like if you choose?

  7. Hi Spearyhopper. Message me on Facebook please.