Category Archives: Carp (Karpa)

Bighead Carp ( Hypophthalmichthys nobilis )

carp species in the Philippines

Good sized Bighead caught in the Pasig River

Common Name Carp

Local Name: Karpa, Imelda, Black Mass (Tagalog); ??(Bisaya)

Max Size:   146 cm (40+kgs)

Biodiversity: Freshwater, Benthopelagic

Depth:  1 – ?? meters

Fishing Season:  All Year Long

Minimum Size LimitNone

Recommended Bait/Lures:  masa (dough bait)

IUCN Red List Status StatusData Deficient (DD)

The Bighead Carp is a species not native to the waters of the Philippines.  These fish native to mainland Asia were introduced for use in the aquaculture industry as a food fish.  Because of their rapid growth these carp are ideal for fish pond or fish pen grow outs.  These carp are now quite well established around the freshwater waterways of Luzon including lakes, rivers and reservoirs. Because of they are an introduced species and unknown to most, they are often called by many different names.  Names such as Imelda, Karpa, and Black Mass are just a few.

These carp can be quite a challenge for the sport fisherman because they feed mainly on zooplankton and algae.  sweet scented dough baits that dissolve slowly in the water are often used as bait.  Larger fish do occasionally surprise and take other types of bait and even an occasional lure.  Other methods used locally to catch these fish include Salvage (snagging with treble hooks) and  nets.

According to a recent article in a local news paper bighead carp are now more heavily stocked than milkfish in grow out fish pens in Laguna Lake.  Such quantity being raised shows that this introduced species is now accepted as a food fish on a large scale.


Rohu Carp ( Labeo rohita )

Labeo rohita

Common Name: Rohu

Local Name: Carpa

Max Size200 cm

Biodiversity: Freshwater, introduced

Fishing Season:  All Year Long

This is an introduced species of carp that is now found around the country.  It is found throughout much of South and Southeast Asia and is considered as a non-oily white fleshed fish.  These fish are omnivores and so are easily targeted by angler with bait such as worms, bread, dough bait and more.  This fish was caught in Tarlac on a worm.


Philippines Rod and Reel Record:

Angler:  Jun Davis

Location:  Bustos, San Rafael, Bulacan

Date: Feb. 10, 2017

Weight:   2.84 kgs

Bait:  molasses paste

rohu carp philippines

Spotted Barb (Puntius binotatus)


These small barbs are nuisance when you are fishing for larger fish.  They are small and are greeding eaters.  They usually tear up any live bait you bottom fish.   I have caught them thoughout Laguna in rivers and lakes.  I have seen these fish in the aquarium trade around laguna and manila.  They seem to make nice aquarium fish. They are known here in Laguna as One Spot or Paitan.

Common Carp ( Cyprinus carpio )


Common Name Carp, European Carp, Mirror Carp, Leather Carp

Local NameKarpa, (Tagalog); 

Max Size:   110 cm (40+kgs)

BiodiversityFreshwater, Benthopelagic

Depth:  1 – ?? meters

Fishing Season:  All Year Long

Minimum Size Limit:  None

Recommended Bait/Lures:  masa (dough bait), worms 

IUCN Red List Status Status:  Vulnerable (VU)**

This introduced species can be found all over the country in ponds, rivers, and lakes.  They are bottom feeders that can be caught on worms, corn, doughballs, and other natural baits.

There are many Koi or Ornamental Carp in the Philippines as well.  These fish are closely related to common carp only they have many varied color patterns.  Originally confined to private ponds and aquariums these ornamental fish are now present in wild waters around the country.

Here is a wild caught koi from central Luzon:

carp fishing philippines

**The wild populations of Europe are considered vulnerable not the introduced Philippine population.


Philippines Rod and Reel Record:

Angler:  Franz Villamar

Location:  Bustos Dam, San Rafael, Bulacan


Weight:   6.6 kgs

Bait:  boilies

carp fishing philippines