November 27, 2008

Turkey Time

Happy Thanksgiving to all you fellow brownliners out there!

I am thankful for many things, among others, the opportunity and ability to fly fish and the pursuit of roughfish. Here's a fish to give thanks to, another shot of the beastly buffalo from earlier in the week.

I give thanks to thee.

I'll be back from Holiday after the weekend. Cheers! logo

November 25, 2008

It's all over now...

The 2008 fly fishing season is officially closed for the Roughfisher. While the folks over at Singlebarbed get to enjoy angling year round, we are not so fortunate here up north. I went against my words, and ventured out for one last trip of the season. After all, I had some new flies to field test before the new year. Who in their right mind could sit on those flies for an entire winter without fishing them?

Today's outing encountered air temps in the teens throughout much of the morning, and sustained winds speeds between 13-17 mph. BTW, thanks go out to the NWS for blowing the wind forecast, you jerks. I don't mind the cold, I can handle that, but freezing rod guides are a pain in the ass when you need to constantly clear your rod guides of ice every few casts. When you combine ice choked guides and a relentless prairie wind, it is down right frustrating. I don't know of any other sport where a soul can be perfectly at bliss one minute, and cursing up a storm that would embarrass a drunken sailor, the next. Regardless, you have to pay to play, and I have found that cold temps = big fish.

The first catch of the day started off with a queer fish. It was a quillback, not odd, but its body was strangely deformed, very odd. The fish was missing a pectoral fin, which likely was never formed, and was medially compressed. There was likely an embryonic deformity during development; it is unknown if the cause was anthropogenic.

Deformed quillback.
Deformed quillback.

I managed to spot some carp today up near the shallows, however, the majority of them were fairly small. There were a few bruisers that were taking cover under a large ice shelf. Every once in a while they would poke their head out from under the shelf. I hooked up with one of them for a while, until the hook pulled free. The fish was likely foul-hooked. I did manage to get some sight fishing in for a couple of fish, always a blast when you're able to pull that off.





Flows have dropped steadily over the past week, down 70cfs from yesterday to 500cfs. Still well above the 80th percentile, but more fishable, and the water much less turbid. This allowed for some sight fishing opportunities, as well as making it much easier to spot schooled up fish. I was able to spot a pod of quillback hanging tight to the river bottom. I pinched some extra weight on to my X Factor to hug tight, and got my fly down there. I was justly rewarded.



I spotted a Greater Redhorse mixed in amongst the quillback. I tried drifting my fly through its feeding lane several times to no avail. These fish are so incredibly difficult to take on a fly and are a rare catch. I'll return another day to seek out these fish, but as for today, there were still fish to be caught.

The buffalo were roaming hard today. When I arrived at the river this morning they were everywhere. Maybe I've got this part of the puzzle figured out? I recall catching a lot of buffalo early on in the season, when water temps were still cold. Now that water temps have returned to 39 degrees, they seem to have moved back in and congregated. I took one on a giant zebra midge again. But the most successful fly of the day was the X Factor nymph. Specifically, the eXtreme Factor nymph was hot. I had one tied in green which was a decent performer, but the brown version was on fire. Unfortunately, it got hung up in the rocks and I lost it after a few fish. I'll need to tie up a few more of these this winter.



Interestingly enough, the nicest fish of the day was also the easiest caught. After I caught the malformed quillback, I unhooked my fly and threw it back in to the water a few yards away from me. I released the fish and picked up my rod. When I had the grip in my hand and pulled in the slack line, I noticed the tip of my fly line starting to move/submerge. I strip set the hook only to find one hell of a beast on the other end of the line. It took the Extreme Factor nymph like a champ. When I finally landed the beast, I could barely get half of it in to my landing net. This was the biggest and longest bigmouth buffalo I've ever caught. It also was the biggest fish of the season.

A big nasty beastie!
A big nasty beastie!

A pretty damn good way to end the season. Of course I saved the best for last. I'll have to remember that the tough weather days of late fall/early winter pay off with big fish. Well worth all the work. Hopefully this will hold me over to next spring. March seems so far away. Until the next time in 2009, cheers!

- the roughfisher

November 24, 2008

Tying Trials: craft yarn

Now that I've scored a healthy cache of a perfectly good antron substitute, it was time to hit the vise. What better patterns to trial, than the highly successful X Factor nymph, the antron special, and a basic beadhead caddis pattern. Let's see how it turned out:

The X Factor nymph.
The X Factor nymph.

The eXtreme Factor nymph
The eXtreme Factor nymph, a giant size 6 version of the X Factor.

The Antron Special nymph.
The Antron Special nymph.

Orange caddis nymph.
Orange caddis nymph.

Green caddis nymph.
Green caddis nymph.

Brown caddis nymph.
Brown caddis nymph.

All in all, the craft yarn made for a good tie. It was a bit bulkier tying bodies compared to the antron, but that will benefit in the long run, as less materials will be needed to build up bodies. I made a dubbing mix from the yarn for the caddis patterns. I cut the yarn fibers with some Angelina and blended about a 65/35% mix, respectively. The contents mixed well, but did not spin on the thread as well as a commercial blend. I tried adding some dubbing wax to the thread, but it did not improve much. I will cut in some hares ear to the blend during my next tying session. Hopefully that will improve the adhesion to the thread. Regardless, the teased out fibers on the orange caddis pattern has got to be trapping some air bubbles in it. Fucking dynamite.

Everything looks good, the yarn passed the tying demo with flying colors. Nothing left to do but smile, smile, smile! Time to give these bad boys a field trial and prove once and for all that this stuff is sweeter than antron.


- the roughfisher

roughfisher's vault 2008.11.24

Grateful Dead Live at Winterland Arena, June 9, 1977. San Francisco, CA.

The boys open up a legendary show with my all time favorite version of Half Step. A tight Cassidy, blazing Loser, incredible Help->Slip->Franks and the Terrapin is choice. Phil is launching bombs all throughout the show; one of the best all time performances by the band.

This is what the Grateful Dead was all about.

November 22, 2008

The new front

Craig Matthews of Blue Ribbon Flies, and the Umpqua Feather Merchants may hold the world supply of Zelon, but I'm not going down without a fight. The battle begun, when I began looking for a substitute for antron yarn. The original antron yarn fiber is no longer made, though the INVISTA company purportedly still produces antron. It is near impossible for an layman to get a hold of this stuff outside of the industry. Since BRF and Umpqua cornered the market with their monopoly on zelon, not much is left to the discriminate angler in search of a bargain basement alternative. That was until today.

I had gotten some good insider information regarding a legitimate antron substitute. The downside was that this product has not been produced in over a decade, and can only obtained through eBay. It was a craft and rug yarn, and while I had looked at some different brands' offerings in this realm, nothing thus far had met the quality and characteristics of antron. I visited the craft store this afternoon, family in tow, to pick up supplies for children's activities. My wife asked if I wanted to go through the yarn section to see if there was anything there worth looking at. I pilfered through these aisles nigh on a week ago, unwavering in my search of an antron substitute. Unfortunately, I had shared the same results as the other week's quest, unsuccessful, again. Mrs. Roughfisher made her way over to the fabric section in search of vellux (aka furry foam) for yours truly. What a gal. On the way through, she stopped and looked at some latch hook stuff for my daughter. When I looked on the other side of the aisle, I was in disbelief. There of all places was the craft and rug yarn I'd been looking for all along.

A whole rainbow of flavors.
A whole rainbow of flavors.

The stuff I found was a 2 ply Needloft craft yarn by Uniek, in a 10 yd hank for $0.79. This stuff was a lot like antron, the shape, the texture, the tensile strength. The only difference was that these fibers displayed better body than antron. You get more than three times the amount on a hank than at a fly shop and for less than half the price. Since it is a 2 ply yarn, you basically get twice the amount of antron, essentially 20 yards of yarn.

Which would you rather tie with?
Which would you rather tie with?

Each ply strand of craft yarn contains more fibers than on most cards of antron yarn. You can see for yourself how much more body each strand has. The value per yard really increases, if you purchase a 92 yd skein of this stuff. Incredible. I'll put this stuff to the test and tie up a bunch of patterns this weekend. If the weather holds, I may go against my word and go back down to the Brownline Depot one last time and field test this stuff.

Only one way to find out if this truly is a substitute for antron. My guess is that its not.

It's better.

- the roughfisher

November 21, 2008

R & R

Winter is officially here. I watched the mercury plummet to a balmy zero degrees fahrenheit this morning. Yipes. Even the big lakes locked up with ice overnight. That is officially too cold for fly fishing here in Roughfisher country. I'm glad I was able to savor the season for one last time the other day before reality finally set in.

Instead, I'm kicking up my heels, on the couch with a 2 Below Ale in hand, ready to watch the #1 ranked Gopher hockey squad kick the tar out of the Denver Pioneers. Nothing like a little R&R.

Should be a good weekend.

November 19, 2008

Operation Flyrod Buffalo

I just got off the road for the season.   What to do on my first day home?  Most of the area lakes are getting locked up with ice; some folks will likely be out ice fishing as early as next week.  As for me, I'll wait just a bit, but before I do anything, I needed to hit the river, one last time.

Operating out of the Roughfisher Command Post, I grabbed my cold weather gear and braved the near gale force winds as I headed down to the Brownline Depot. The honkytonk sounds of The Hag, and some cheezy-ass Doogie Howser inspired stylings of Brent Midland era Grateful Dead, circa 1980, filled the cab of the war machine on the way down to the Depot. It was going to be a cold sumbitch today, with highs in the mid 20s and sustained winds in the mid to upper 20s, gusting to the mid to upper 30s. I adorned my Patagonia BDU and settled in for the expedition.

The view from shore at the Brownline Depot, USA
The view from shore at the Brownline Depot, USA.

After I rigged up my service weapon with a Cannonball Caddis, I took the bank and performed some quick recon. Surveillance indicated high flows and icy conditions. The shallow sand flat was now inundated with water, and consequently, several platoons of Charlie. I laid my first cast out on the water, right in to a pod of fish. The first few retrieves resulted in foul hooked fish. Charlie was in here so thick that it took everything I could do to avoid snagging fish. After a few false hookups, I connected with a target, Cyprinus carpio. This was a big fish. Unfortunately, after a several minutes, the fish turned in to the heavy current and headed down stream. I turned it once, only to have it work his way back downstream again. The fish made a hard charge downstream towards some bridge piling, it was now or never, I had to get this fish turned before it entered no man's land. As I pulled the fish up to the surface it turned laterally, only to have the hook pull free. I was disappointed, as that was likely the biggest carp of the season on my line. I quickly resolved, as there were still many fish to encounter back up on the flat. I tied on a lighter caddis pattern, to reduce foul hooking, and launched my line back in to the pack. I ended hooking probably the smallest bigmouth buffalo I've caught to date. Rinkydink.

A little dude.
A little dude.

Looking for something a bit bigger, I tied on a big piece of meat, the Darth Clam. Utilizing a skagit cast, I bombed my fly out to a current seam about 20 or so yards away. I needed to negotiate a section of adjacent slack water, so I heaved a few stack mends to keep my fly from dragging. Since the water was cold, I knew the bite would be subtle. The previous fish were sluggish on the fights, so I knew I needed to use the force to detect any strikes. After what I imagined was a brief hesitation, I stripped my line in only to find some resistance. I set the hook. I had a chunky buffalo on the line and did everything I could to keep this fish from turning downstream like that carp. I eventually subdued the beast and landed it. Mamba Jamba!

A hell of a beastie
A hell of a beastie.

The wind was howling out of the Great White North something fierce. Even skagit casting, I was having difficulty getting my casts to lay where I wanted. I tried to keep my aerialized line low to the water, to avoid having my running line get ahead of the front taper. Casting was definitely challenging, the wind was relentless.

I fished a stretch of fast water, in hopes of finding some redhorse. While I didn't manage to dredge up a Greater Redhorse, I found myself hooked in to a silver redhorse. Even thought this little guy was a runt, I love these fish.

A petite silver redhorse.
Silver redhorse.

I recalled reading the National Weather Service forecast this morning, and allegedly the highs were supposed to be near 34 for the day. Well, they lied. The temp never once budged above 26 degrees, and I constantly fought my rod guides from freezing up solid. I even had a microfilm of ice form on my line at times, fresh after a treatment of Agent X. You know it's cold when your landing net can stand up on its on, upside down.

It was cold, damn cold
It was cold, damn cold.

Even with pocket hand warmers and heat packs, wet hands equaled frozen hands. After handling that redhorse, and the ass-pounding wind, I told myself that after the next fish I was out of here. I fumbled around with my fly selection, careful not to let the wind find its way in to my fly box and take sail of a few nights tying worth of flies. I dug around for a giant zebra midge pattern I tied earlier this fall. I pinched on a small bit of shot to get the fly down and fished a current seam adjacent to the main channel. After a couple drifts, my guides iced up, and I had difficulty roll casting my fly back on to the water. I managed a half decent cast and watched my line drift awkwardly against the current. I sensed something wrong with the force, and strip set the hook. I found resistance and tightened my line up snug. I pulled back on my rod and lifted the fish. Another tank buffalo. I slowly worked the fish towards shore, admiring the beast for all of its beauty. What a specimen. This buffalo was nearly the same size as the one I caught earlier. I struggled to get a good grip around this fish, as it had some serious girth. I finally manged to get my hand around its thorax, and lifted the husky fish for a pose. A grand beauty.

Another fine beast on the fly
Another fine beast on the fly.

I ended the expedition successfully, and on my terms. Always a satisfying feeling. There's rumor of temps rising above freezing next week; just enough of a tease to pique my interest. Though it sounds tempting, this was likely my last outing for the season. Braving the harsh conditions paid off with some beefy fish, some of the largest of the season. All in all, I ended the season on a good note, leaving with some highlights to reminisce over, and promise for next season to daydream over the winter. This marks the changeover to my fly tying period, and the start of hard water season. I'll have plenty to keep me busy with until next spring. See you on the ice.

- the roughfisher

November 18, 2008

the brownline 2008.11.18

  • Arizona protects blue ribbon chub fishery with a C&R, barbless hooks only season. Singlebarbed wants to follow suit with pikeminnow protection on the Little Stinking.

  • Declining corn prices may benefit religious restrictions on the consumption of pork, as well as others that don't eat the swine. Small town Minnesota resident wants to raise corn-fed carp instead.

November 17, 2008

roughfisher's vault 2008.11.17

Ratdog Live at Mahaffey Theatre, November 13, 2007. St. Petersburg, FL.

Dave Ellis is on during Shade of Grey. A nice jazzy Sailor > Saint and Eyes. To Lay Me Down. All good things.

November 15, 2008

caddis nymph time

What do you get when you have high flows, an ample supply of angelina fibers [thanks KB], and 6mm metal beads?

The Cannonball Caddis:

The Cannonball Caddis

This fly was inspired by a great pattern from the late Great Lakes steelheader, Mike "Dr. Steelhead" Bennett, the Dr. Mike caddis nymph pattern. It is quite the simple tie, involving a dubbed body, partridge, grouse or other soft hackle legs, peacock herl head, and a beadhead.

"Dr. Mike" caddis fly nymph pattern

The body is typically tied with a dubbing loop, but I opted for a traditionally dubbed body, since I was using a homemade, longer fibered angelina and antron dubbing mix. Since I like synthetics so much, I swapped out the herl for some more durable peacock glimmer chenille. The original pattern called for a gold or copper bead, but I prefer to use the more subdued gunmetal beads for caddis, and let the synthetic body get all the flash and glory. I tied on the 6mm bead to get the fly down deep during high flows or in faster riffle sections.

A few more alternate ties in different weights and with a black angelina and olive antron body dubbing blend.

The true inspiration behind the Cannonball Caddis.  Cannonball.....Cannonball coming!

November 14, 2008


This colder weather has bitch-slapped the roughfish bite and called me out as having no game. I flailed in my last two attempts to make a fish to angler connection. My shot at Big Stone earlier in the week left me nothing but a few snagged cornstalks and a chill to the bone. My whitefish outing was typical of their short-lived spawning run, a day late and a dimebag short. How much more abuse can a roughfisher take?

High flows suck in the fall. There has been mad precip in the region this fall; Fargo and Grand Forks have reported it as the wettest fall on record. The rivers are swollen and running high in their banks. Many are near or at flood stage. This isn't bad in the spring, because fish are running and are plentiful. They're at least willing to bite and getting all horned up for the spawn. But the fall is a whole different bag. Fish are retreating to winter refuges and are generally unwilling to bite. Many fish go in to a state of torpor during this period, in order to conserve energy in the cold water. Fish are not concentrated and can be difficult to locate, giving off the appearance of a "dead sea". The biggest pain in the ass with high flows is trying to get your fly down.

Short of chucking out an anchor pattern, I could not get my fly down deep enough. Fishing alongside the northwoods for whitefish did not allow for back casts, and my 8 weight wasn't going to handle an additional 600 grains on a skagit cast. I heard reports from other anglers that they feared the run was over, and that fish were coming few and far between. I could live with that. Hard to get fish to move off their redds to take a fly if they're not there. Then, in one fell swoop, the day got worse, much worse.

I mentioned last week that there were snaggers harvesting fish uncontested. Sickening. After I got my rods broken down and put away for the long ride home, a pair of anglers drive up and ask about the bite. After I tell them that I think the run is over, the get out of their truck and head down to the river. They proceed to chuck out heavy hardware and jerk their rods back, in efforts to snag fish. Disgusted, I start to walk away, relieved that the majority of the fish are gone. I hear splashing, only to turn around and watch them snag a beaut of a whitefish. Damn. I watch them snag a few more fish before taking off in a foul mood. Not only were there fish still in the river, these assholes are busy snagging fish out in the wide open. The situation is hopeless.

I know the numbers game. One. That's the number of game wardens that work the area. It is prime in the middle of deer season, so the warden is busy taking care of unethical wood ticks illegally baiting deer. The other problem is that whitefish and other underutilized fish species do not get any respect around here. If the warden won't even bust people illegally spearing our coveted state fish, the walleye, out of season, why in the hell would he care about people snagging whitefish? It pisses me off.

All fish are created equal.

I would have called TIP (Turn In Poachers tip line), but unfortunately I know too well how the system works and know it would be a waste of time. Personal confrontation is out of the question, as there are way too many whacked out dickheads that couldn't be convinced that what they're doing is wrong, and would think nothing of messing a brother up. It's not worth it.

Bottom line, I need to get my shit together and watch the run close next year. I have contacts up there in the know, and need to use them. Next, I have to get back to the vise and tie up some beefy ass patterns that will hug gravel; Tight. Finally, I will pray to the rain gods to take it easy next fall so that high flows don't kick my ass again. Brownliners might not be the fastest learners, but you'd think we'd figure it out one of these seasons.

- the roughfisher

November 12, 2008

time to boogie

Got my dimebags,


Got my shit ready to go.

let's rock and roll

Time to boogie and blow this popsicle stand. See you on the water.

- the roughfisher

November 11, 2008

roughfisher's vault 2008.11.11

Laughing Water live at Colby College, April 24, 1999.

I vaguely remember the show, but I recall being in one of the 5 bands that played that day, as referenced in a review by one of the band mates. Just another typical Dead cover band, but it was entertaining enough to groove to while downing a Gritty's Black Fly Stout.

November 10, 2008

the brownline 2008.11.10

  • 'Tis the season. Ice safety awareness from the Minesota DNR.
    Things you should know before venturing out on this season's ice.

  • Singlebarbed tries to keep up with big brother, only to get owned. He vows revenge for next time with his red fat bastard fly.
    Until then, no cookies from ma.


I got word last week that the whitefish are running. Lake whitefish to be exact, Coregonus clupeaformis. I have yet to add one of these delectable species to my lifelist. What is even more unique is the opportunity to catch one on a fly.

The lake whitefish is a coldwater fish (salmonid to you blueline pukes), native to much of Canada and northern Michigan and Minnesota, including the Great Lakes. The inland variety found in Minnesota (excluding Lake Superior) are pelagic fish which exhibit schooling behavior. These fish are fall spawners; they'll seek areas of high current, often between narrow points in a lake, and even display potamodromous behavior. These fish are moving out of the deep lakes and in to the area river systems to spawn on gravel beds that are utilized by walleyes in the spring. Definitely within reach of the fly angler.

Lake whitefish, Coregonus clupeaformis, image courtesy of

While mostly ignored by non-commercial fisherman, these fish are tasty table fare and are excellent prepared in almost every manner, including smoked. Due to their small, delicate, subterminal mouth, these fish are somewhat difficult to catch on hook and line, even harder to land. Wet flies and nymphing are two of the most effective manners to catch these fish, short of the gill net. Since these fish hug close to the bottom, use of my dredging equipment normally reserved for redhorse and other sucker species should prove effective. This includes, heavy sinking tips or full sink lines, heavily weighted flies, and lead*. Fly selection shall include hare's ear and PT nymphs, soft hackled prince nymphs, antron special, and red san juan worms.

Water temps for next week will be in the upper 30's to low 40's. Air temps will be hovering right around the freezing mark for highs. A greased up fly line and rod guides will help to minimize ice build up. Much like winter steelheading conditions, but with tastier results. I confirmed in the field last week that the whitefish are indeed running. Unfortunately, I saw several anglers snagging fish. Some "sportsmen" they are. One angler was utilizing a spotter overhead on a bridge to locate fish to snag. What was even more unbelievable was the fact that they were so obtuse, that they admitted they were snagging fish, while I was in my work vehicle! That's akin to someone sparking up a doob and blowing smoke right in the face of a law enforcement officer. Brazen.

I'll be watching the weather this week. With a mid-week holiday, I have some time available to run up and get on the stream for some whitefish action. Hopefully all those wood ticks will be in the field chasing bambi and off the stream snagging fish. My next report should hopefully be showing you some fish headed for the smoker. Mmmmm. I can't wait.

*You blueliner types can use tungsten or whatever 'eco-friendly' weighting system you choose Just remember that lead is easier to extract from the earth than tungsten mining.

November 9, 2008


Last week marked the passing of a large pumpkinseed sunfish I had raised in my tank. I returned home from work one day last week, only to find the fish belly up. I had the fish for almost 3 years and it had grown to about the size of your hand. The fish was known to spontaneously leap out of the tank and hit the hood in the middle of the night, scaring you half out of your wits. It had shared the tank with other sunfish, pumkpinseeds, bluegills, and hybrid sunfish, as well as other species like walleye, black crappie, central mudminnow, logperch, black bullhead, spottail shiner and the ubiquitous fathead minnow. The difference was, unlike the other fish, that this fish was able to survive dirty water, brown algae, fasting diets, and a pesky four year old who liked to harass it. It had staying power.

koi, Cyprinus carpio, aka ornamental common carp.

So as we say goodbye to one of the numerous family pets, we welcome two new additions, the koi. I had been wanting to raise the common carp for sometime now; Goldfish wouldn't cut it, I wanted a carp. I don't know if it's the boredom attained through raising game fish, or a deep underlying urge to celebrate a part of my suppressed heritage, but I was up for a change. I'm not sure if I'll naturalize these fish and add other native fish species to the tank down the road. Who knows if these fish are even half as hardy as their wild brethren. They could croak in a week. Regardless, they will provide some entertainment and enjoyable viewing. My four year old is already intrigued. Carpe carpio!

November 8, 2008

readjust your sets

Just a heads up that the blog transition to is complete. Please check your bookmarks and/or blog feed URLs. The Feedburner feed address remains the same.

The site domain has changed from to I've tried to nab the broken links; if you notice any that I may have missed, please point them out and notify me. I apologize in advance for any inconvenience. Thanks.

November 7, 2008

Double Dirty

So you've probably seen the epicurean delight that the Trout Underground uncovered, the bacon and maple bar wrapped dog. Those are some luscious, low-density lipoproteins. A pure culinary delight to any fat-ass. Not to be outdone by a blueliner, I hit the kitchen laboratory and conjured up plate of genius device: The Dirty Dog*.

Pure unadulterated epicurean enjoyment

Inspired by a ghastly creation from a Minneapolis dive featured on the Food Network show, Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives, I took a perfectly good Johnsonville Beddar Cheddar sausage and smothered it in grilled steak and onions, covered with yellow mustard and served in a baguette. I even made a roughfisher version, substituting the Beddar Cheddar for a Johnsonville jalapeño and cheese sausage. That's got bite.

Don't bother sending your angioplasty bills here, those dirty dogs were for demonstration purposes only. And remember to eat your vegetables, even if they were pickled in garlic and mustard spices. Tums anyone?

*Eat at your own risk. assumes no liability for coronary heart disease, indigestion, or diarrhea.

November 6, 2008


The fly fishing industry is currently at a crossroads. An economic downturn has dissolved many anglers 401k's and IRAs, as well as their disposable income, often spent on fishing gear. This is contributing to sluggish sales that have been steadily decreasing since the early nineties. Dirty streams, depleted fish stocks, and a serious decline in youth angling participation all paint a dark picture for the future of angling. Here are a couple thoughts on what "the industry" can do in order to survive.

  • Make gear for the average Joe's. We don't all need $800 titanium-boron-platinum graphite rods. How are youth supposed to get involved in the sport? Make affordable gear, as well as some high dollar gear, so that we all have something to lust after while fishing our Korean/Chinese made rods.

  • Respect. Don't try to make me feel like a dumbass because I fish for carp. Those "monster" browns that you chase are non-native too. If you want to fish for stunted little six inch brookies, that's your deal, but leave me alone and let me fish for what I want to.

  • Fuck glampers. They are not the glue of the sport, but merely a flash in the pan. Besides being a bunch of fags, their one-time purchases aren't sustainable for industry sales.

  • Get real reviews of new gear. Fish and Fly magazine got it right with their risqué, ground-breaking 2007 rod review, however, most manufacturers are in bed with the magazines they sponsor. I want to know if something is real cherry or truly a piece of shit.

  • Screw "Bubba". Don't waste your breath chasing the bass crowd. Mainstream hardware chucking anglers could care less about that Sage Bass rod that hit the market in 2008.

  • Accept the internet. It's 2008 and technology is king. If it's ok for your clientèle to check their failing stock portfolios on their smart phones stream-side, then ignoring bloggers and the world wide web will only create division among anglers. There's a ton of great information and resources being shared out there. And no, it's not all lies.

  • What's up with in-your-face, extreme fly fishing? This is not the X-Games. Adventure fly fishing is partly to blame. It's all about trying to one-up the next angler with braggadocios tales of fishing some far off exotic locale. Great, thanks for dragging that un-nukeable stream nasty from Fantasyland over here to destroy my home waters. If fly fishing is that boring to you, take up a different sport.

  • Embrace brownliners. The industry needs to get off their pedestal and deal with the fact that Salmonids are not the only fish that swim the streams. If the industry wants to keep perpetuating the social elitism currently in place, that's their bag. But quit turning their backs on us brownliners, and accept and celebrate fly anglers of all type. This is a time for unity, not division. We are really not that different from each other.

    • Got something to say? I welcome all other brownliners and blueliners to chime in and share your gripes with the industry. Hopefully someone from within is reading and wakes up. We are real people behind these screens, and some of us might actually have something of value to say.

      - the roughfisher

      November 5, 2008

      the brownline 2008.11.05

      • The Clean Water, Wildlife, Cultural Heritage and Natural Areas Amendment passes in Minnesota.

        Read the asinine comments on the Star Trib from all the nature haters. I guess not everyone appreciates clean water.

      • The Trout Underground's post election DVD giveaway.

        What does the future hold over the next four years for fly fishers? TU readers respond with some grave environmental concerns.

      November 3, 2008


      I finally made my way to civilization last weekend and hit the craft store circuit. One of the stores was in the process of moving to a bigger location, and as a result, everything in the store was drastically reduced. Of course, I had gotten there too late and the only things left of interest were skeins of Bernat boa in colors of little use to me. Hopefully their bigger store will have more finds.

      The visit to my usual craft store went a little better. The beauty of this store, is that almost every time I ever step foot in the building, there is a sale on something that I am buying. You could make the case that perhaps those products are already overpriced and that the "sale" price more closely reflects the true market value of the item. I agree that these prices are already likely marked up, but the other craft stores in the market area don't seem to discount these products for the same amount or as often as this store. Instead, they typically offer a percent off coupon for a single item. Nonetheless, if you know what you are looking for, a good deal can always be had at the craft store, and at dramatically reduced mark ups than the fly shop retailer.

      Recent treasure finds at the Hobby Lobby

      Recent treasure finds at the Hobby Lobby

      Many have made the case that we, as fly fishers, should be supporting the local fly shops, especially during difficult fiscal times such as these. Thats all fine and dandy if you actually live or fish near a shop. The closest fly shop to me is 4 hours away. Not an option. Also, good luck trying to find brownliner gear at a fly shop. They bleed blue. You think John Q. Cahill sitting behind the counter there knows what the hell a Darth Clam is? Not bloody likely, but I bet he'll want to debate the merits of the comparadun versus the catskill dry. Fly shops fit the need of the angler that fits inside the box. Roughfishers do not fit inside the box. And no, it's not because of my buddha belly. The fly patterns we crave and need to catch roughfish do not exist commercially, save for some lame-ass carp flies. They exist in the sick and demented minds of other brownliners like Keith Barton over at The monstrosities created by that madman are almost worthy enough to have that brownliner committed. Who else in their right mind would cast out a 6 inch crawfish pattern to catch a 5 inch pikeminnow?

      The bottom line is, hit the craft store, store liquidations, or even the neighborhood garage sale. Score as much shit from those locales as you can fit in to the back of your truck. Make a second trip if you need. Hell, go ahead and steal candy from a baby. But don't let some limp wristed bamboo slayer guilt you in to conforming to the rules of the blueline. Grow a fucking pair of balls and just do it. As even a devoted trout bum can testify,

      "If people don't occasionally walk away from you shaking their heads, you're doing something wrong." - John Gierach

      The man's a freaking genius. Cheers!

      - the roughfisher

      November 2, 2008

      roughfisher's vault 2008.11.02

      Ratdog at the 9:30 Club, Washington DC. May 26, 2002.

      Karan rocks the shit on this version of Eyes. Chimenti's electric piano is hot. Killer Queen Jane. Mission in the Rain: Need I say more?