April 30, 2010

Sick Bay

These poor bastards got a case of the scoliosis. Good thing the roughfisher is an equal opportunity angler.

curved possies
Compare them to a healthy specimen:

possie bugger
My bet is that fish are equal opportunity eaters too.

April 29, 2010

old standbys

Sometimes the classics get overlooked. If you really want to kick it old school, fish a hare's ear nymph. If you want to merge old school charm with new school looks, tie up some rubber legged hare's ear nymphs and get nasty with some carps.

And that's how we roll.

April 28, 2010


The Possie Squadron is ready for deployment. A bunch of roughfisher branded possies are ready to storm the scene and invade Oregon.

Possie Squadron
UV brown
caddis green
Careful, these babdoys are armed with rubber. Westward ho. Ooh-rah!

April 27, 2010

Eat your greens

swimming nymphs
Some heavy duty rubber legged swimming nymphs for the trip. Olive mohair is the name of the game.

April 26, 2010

tangerine dream

burnt orange & clouser
An emergency session was called to order. The powers that be ran out of Burnt Orange Squirrel dubbing and there was no time to get to a shop to buy some. I was called to duty in order to concoct a makeshift blend of hare, rabbit, squirrel, antron, and acrylic to match the original. Lacking a very necessary ingredient, squirrel body fur, there were a lot of liberties taken at the grinder, substituting materials to achieve a similar blend and texture. Not have fibers dyed in burnt orange posed another problem; I had to improvise to achieve a color match. Shades of rust, brown, black, and fluorescent orange spun round in the mixer, doused with a touch of tabby for good measure. I used no less than ten different shades of yarn to achieve the color blend desired. Alchemy at its finest.

dub and clouser
You can be the judge on whether or not I was able to match the original; I was pretty damn close even if I had to use more synthetics. Of course, no nymph blend crafted at the hands of the roughfisher can be left unscathed without a hit of Angelina. It's gotta have a splash of flash baby, or it just won't swing.

Swimming nymphs courtesy of John Montana.

April 24, 2010

prairie busting

The last adventure before heading West.

I gave it a go at my trusty old spot and after a couple hours of one silver redhorse, one smallmouth, and a hard earned carp, I got in the Conestoga and left Dodge. My home watershed is the only one in the state still at flood stage (at flood stage since Fall of 2008). Since it's quite obvious that flow conditions won't improve in the near or possibly even long term, it was time to bust some sod and and plow some new waters.

SLR mouth
I visited a few waters that I typically don't fish until later in the year. Not because the fish won't be there this time of year, but because spring runoff makes the water unbelievably murky. At this stage of the game, there really isn't much difference between chocolate milk and pea soup save the color of the silt and clays. It was time to play the heron and do some stalking.

Carp were spotted at two of the three spots I scouted. At the first location, chocolate milk flowed out of a wetland adjacent to a lake. I was surprised to not find any white suckers holding in reaches downstream of the wetland, but the water was presumably too turbid and silt laden for their liking. I made my way up a shallow basin of the wetland where I captured a few carp late last summer. Even after an hour of scanning the water, I could not make out any fish near the surface except for the tail of a pike, relentlessly chasing around a school of baitfish. Not tell tale bubble trails were visible, but I did witness silt plumes on three occasions. I was convinced at the time that those were carp plumes, and blindly fished a nymph in the plumes to no avail. Twice, I ended up dredging up a micro perch from the muddy depths. I don't think I've ever caught a gamefish this small, as they barely made three inches in length. In retrospective, those silt plumes were likely from the baitfish and the ensuing pike. Bust.

My other destination involved a prairie slough, a vestige of an old river backwater. Fish were holding near an inlet from another slough, tight to a conglomeration of sticks and branches woven together by a busy beaver. Not only was it near impossible to make out the silhouettes of a fish, those staggered sticks were water hazards, waiting to devour and entangle any fly that came near it. Get fouled up in that mess, and you blow any chance you ever had with those fish. It was tricky, and if it wasn't for patience, I would have left the scene after the first twenty minutes. But I had a manifest destiny with some carp. I tied on a brown Sea Donkey, as rubber legged flies can really help in low viz conditions. And, carp love crustaceans. Virtue paid off, as ten minutes later I was gazing into the golden sides of the ghost.

COP mouth
COP scale
Now that I paid my dues and earned these fish, it's time to go have some fun and slay those beasts out in the wild, wild, West. Manifest Destiny.

April 23, 2010

Friday Fly Porn

olive possie
'Cause it's Friday; you ain't got no job... and you ain't got shit to do ...

Project Healing Waters 2-Fly Tournament

PHW2Fly promo
Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing (PHWFF), in conjunction with Eastern Blue Ridge Fly Fishers, is hosting the 4th Annual 2-Fly Tournament Fundraiser to benefit PHWFF. PHWFF is a nonprofit organization that has been utilizing fly fishing and fly tying in the rehabilitation of wounded servicemen and women at Walter Reed Army Medical Center for the past two years.

PHWFF is expanding and has begun to offer its program to other Military Medical Centers and VA Hospitals nationwide. Please support this worthy effort by joining all of us at the Rose River Farm (www.roseriverfarm.com) on the 2nd of May for a fun filled day featuring a 2-fly tournament with the wounded Vets of PHWFF. Teams will compete on over a mile and a half of the Rose River that runs through Rose River Farm near Syria, Virginia. The fish will be plentiful the action hot, so take in the beauty of Spring in the Blue Ridge mountains while supporting those who have sacrificed for us.

PHW2Fly flies
When our friend Douglas Dear from the Rose River Farm asked us to help out with the 2-Fly tourney, it was a no-brainer. Normally, I'm not a tournament kind of guy, but for a cause like this, I happily made an exception. Last year the PHW2Fly Tourney started a super raffle/auction with boxes of flys tied by great fly tiers like Bob Popovics, raising over $100,000 for PHW. This year's contributors include fly tying Jedis Bob Clouser, Russ Forney, Steve Silverio, Jim Finn, Captain Chris Newsome, and the venerable Singlebarbed. Not bad company to keep.

More information can be found over at the Project Healing Waters 2-Fly Tournament blog.

April 22, 2010

the brownline 2010.04.22

Earth Day edition:

  • Controversy abounds: Two northern Ojibwe bands say it's their turn on treaty rights. The Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe and White Earth Band of Chippewa both have announced their intentions to fish before the legal Minnesota fishing opener, in a plan to reassert hunting and fishing rights they believe are protected by federal treaties from the 1800s. Obviously, there is some opposition expressed by Sportsman's groups. This is going to be a hot-button issue across the state.
  • Man butt, Fat Guy Fly Fishing style. Pinup Simon Graham in a full layout sporting his finest J├Ągermeister wearable. You'll need to a few shots down the ice luge after viewing this one.

fo shizzle

Thanks to brother Chris for fulfilling his end of the bargain on our fly swap. The Creek Addict is a fucking ninja when it comes to the dark arts of tying Czech nymphs. He threw in a few woven body nymphs, in addition to a couple of Rhyacophila, a badass worm, and some tasty looking nymphs that will tear it up with the roughfish.

It's good to have friends in low places.

April 21, 2010

I got a fever! And the only prescription...

...is more cowbell!

I recently got a scrip from the Doc saying I need to curb the gear purchases. Not good. The failing of any gear junky, I went out and picked up a "dirt cheap" waterproof camera, an Olympus Stylus 550WP. At $112, it was a tough deal to pass up, even if I wasn't an addict. 10 megapixels and submersible to 10 feet, sounds like a good investment to me. As far as models go, this was an older model, hence the blowout price. It's not the best camera on the market by far, but it's one I won't cry over if it happens to die out on the water. It still carries most of the desired features of a point and shoot, except the newer models all are capable of taking HD video. This camera still takes standard resolution video, but that's not why I bought it. I wanted a cheap, throwaway, waterproof camera I could take along on river trips and not have to worry about bricking my Canon.

This camera comes with a macro and supermacro function, which is handy for capturing images of macrophytes and other streamside macroinvertebrates. While the features are not as crisp as my Canon in low indoor light, it should be inconsequential, as the majority of the photos will be taken outside, with ample sunlight. The case is kind of a ghey teal color, but again, I didn't buy this for a fashion statement. Function over fashion. I know a few of you guys out there rock the Pentax and Panasonic waterproof cameras, and have definitely captured some nuggets on film. I preferred the operation of the Olympus, as it seems to more closely resemble the operating functions of my Canon.

Olympus Stylus 550WP
I debated long and hard on opting for a camera with an HD video function; I've seen Creekaddict's video footage and it is crispy. I even looked at a few waterproof dual HD cameras like the Sanyo Xacti. In the end I decided that if I wanted to shoot HD video, I'd be better off buying a standalone HD camcorder like a GoPro or Kodak Playsport instead of a camera that can shoot HD vid or a dual camera. But it looks like I'll need to wait at least another 1 to 2 months before I can even think of acquiring more gear. Doctor's orders.....

April 20, 2010

Anywhere but here

A quick update: Fishing still sucks here. High water and seasonal stream closures have effectively kept me off of the productive waters. The closures won't be lifted until May 15, when most of the gamefish species are open to harvest. If stream conditions don't improve by then I'm gonna go postal. This early spring has really chunked things up bad. FML.

the Carpfather and his 25#
On the plus side, John Montana is still kicking ass. A 25 pounder last weekend; the smallest fish coming in at 14. A 30+ pounder was hooked by one of the group that trip, but not landed. Water is a bit cold yet, but the timing should be about close to perfect for when I arrive next week. I need to do some sumo wrestling.

April 19, 2010

ring the alarm

caddis army
Tied up an army of caddis nymphs with the tasty morsels Gary from Switters B passed my way. The UV micro straggle is some mint tying material.

UV micro straggle caddis
fuzzy things caddis
Wisper caddis
Whilst in the caddis tying mood, I whipped a half dozen more nymphs using my Frosty Naval dub, and UV dub. There's just something about tying a soft hackle with grouse or partidge and peacock herl. Beauty is in the pattern's sheer simplicity.

soft hackled caddis
UV caddis
sparkle caddis
These are all a bit on the larger size, a size 12 2X heavy scud hook, but that's what I've been uncovering so far in the streams this spring. I could also take these down to a size 14 or 16, but with the water as high and turbid as it is right now, visibility is a key issue to hooking up with fish right now. The smaller patterns will be money on a smaller spring creek where the water flows clear as gin. Tipped with a tungsten bead, these will make a killer dropper.

April 18, 2010

Three Kings

King Prince nymphs
Thanks to Rod King of the Bozeman Angler for introducing to Idylwilde and the rest of the world the King Prince nymph. Even a two bit hack roughfisher can tie a few of these up and feed them to the royal carp. Making fish bow to their Sensei since '98.

April 16, 2010

silver city

SLR mug
Word to your mother.

The silvers were poppin today. I also caught a delicious bass. That was all. P.S. the water was the color of pea soup. Left the scene and went on a scouting circuit. Found some clear water but spring flows are still quite high. I crept up on a few pods of white suckers but they all had a case of the lockjaw. Stingy bastards.

Not a productive outing, and definitely not a confidence boosting trip. High dirty water is shit and damn near no fish can see through that soup without the aid of scent. To show how fucked up the weather has been this spring, I saw leaping carp and rising silver redhorse. The water temps in shallow bays have already warmed up for moderate sucker spawning. This is a good month ahead of normal. On the plus side, many of the vulnerable sucker species should be done with the bulk of the spawn by the time May 1 rolls around, Black Saturday. May 1 is the spearing and bowfishing opener. I'll be pouring one for my homies.

April 15, 2010

sparkle worm

sparkle worm
Another sparkle worm, courtesy of some glitter chenille. Might be too flashy for carp at times, but should wreak some havoc on some centrarchids. I caught you a delicious bass.

April 14, 2010

PSA #4: DIY dubbing blends

Making your own dubbing blends can be a messy laborious task, running the risk of permanently banishing you from the kitchen and all associated paraphernalia and accoutrement. DIY dubbing can be extremely rewarding activity, and even an essential tool for helping you redecorate the kitchen while minting up a buggy nymph blend that perfectly matches the unique coloration of those caddis nymphs in your home waters. After you are done picking guard hairs from your teetch, clean up your mess, including those stray fibers of Angelina that found their way into the stove drip trays (don't ask), and hide all evidence that you were ever in the kitchen playing with the missus' coffee grinder. Let's see how it's done.

peacock nymph dubbing
I have a Krups 203 blade grinder. The Mr Coffee's are also a good model, but some of the models (like the cuisinart) have a weird looking blade that don't look like they would chop the fiber apart and mix them well. I like the old fashioned sharpened straight edge with (with flanged turn down tips) on those bad boys. They can chop. Any blade grinder should be up to the task of blending, just make sure the top cover is a shape that you can work with and that there is a big enough mixing reservoir to hold fibers in. Add a favorite or sticker or two on the grinder housing, as this not only makes the blending job sweeter and faster, but makes you more awesome.

When it comes to making dry fly dub, I don't know a whole lot except that muskrat, beaver, and any of the other water rodents really work well. You're looking for light fibers that will loft up well in a mixer; hydrophobic fibers are even better, as they won't require much for floatant. Singlebarbed has a few great tutorials on DIY dubbing worth checking out. He is the guru of dub.

Nymph dub. I've visited the topic of DIY Ice Dub on here in the past. I like antron, acrylic, and other similar type fibers (trilobal). I like coarse guard hairs like hare, fox, squirrel, woodchuck, etc. Rabbit and hare underfur serve well for bulk filler. ANGELINA. That stuff is the shiznit. It will add flash and sparkle to any good nymph mix. There are different colors and they all produce different effects when used separately or in conjunction with one another. The violette Angelina gives off a purplish sparkle and is what is added to dubbing to give it that "UV" look.

If you're looking for the brands of synthetics yarns I like to use, then here goes:
MCG Textiles rug yarn
Design Works Craft Trim
Craft and Rug yarn from the Hobby Lobby
Needloft craft cord

Needloft is a great antron substitute, but the fibers can become knotted and tangled. You'll just have to pick the nits apart when blending. I try to alleviate the situation by cutting the fibers down to 1" to 1/2" lengths. Pretty much any rug or latch hook yarn you can find is gonna make some sweet dubbing. They are a lot like the "Sparkle yarn" used for caddis patterns, especially by La Fontaine. I typically try to keep my fibers about an inch or so in length, as the tend to blend and mix a lot better. Longer fibers will bind up and even get caught under the blade, making a natty mess. Dread, Natty Dread now...

Keep the batches in the grinder small, too many fibers at once will bind up; not enough and they won't break apart and mix. I tend to chop each type of fiber one at a time. I'll separate the chopped fibers into a few mix piles with the ratios of fibers I want, then blend. When each pile is blended, I'll combine them into one big pile and mix by hand, if necessary. For fur, I'll cut the amount of fur I need right off the skin and into the grinder, chopping and mixing the hair to add loft. One thing with fine furs like rabbit is that they'll become statically charged, which can become a total mess.

If any of you have a brown (or gray) shorthair tabby, brush the kitty as much as possible and save the hair. Collect as much as possible. Put the fur in a ziploc and microwave for a few seconds, put in the freezer, or both. This should kill any lingering microbes that were hanging out with old kitty. Then proceed to send the bag to The roughfisher Command Post, Detroit Lakes, MN 56501, c/o the roughfisher. The cat will love you, and you'll have a plentiful never ending bounty of the world's best dubbing fur. My old tabby made the best dubbing; I wish she was still lurking around so I could get my hands on some of that sweet, sweet fur. I don't know how a medium or long hair cat would work, but a shorthair tabby is like hare fur, but with tons of sweetass guard hairs.

UV nympho dub
The best advice I can give any of you about dubbing blends is the concept "spectral". Use a composite of colors in your blends to make up one single color. Rarely in nature is an object a single pure color. The object is composed of a myriad of colors that when compiled together blend to form a hue. One example is when I make some orange sow/scud dubbing. The base of the blend is hot orange acrylic yarn and aurora Angelina. I add rabbit/hare (dyed fluorescent orange) for texture and filler. I also add minute amounts of red, yellow, and perhaps another orange colored fiber to the blend. When mixed together, the red and yellow fibers add highlights to the blend, and help complement the overall color base. Same goes for peacock: black fiber base, dark and light green highlights, and peacock and black Angelina. Don't over do it though. A subtle highlight is more effective, as too many extra fibers will dull the base color down.

This Public Service Announcement was brought to you by: the roughfisher.

April 13, 2010

Stella Blue

Stella by Tamm yarn
A nice acrylic yarn that I came across at The Hobby Lobby, Stella by Tamm (Omega). 95% acrylic and 5% metallic nylon. One skein per 371 yards at 3.52 oz. Comes in 25 colors, many of them embedded with a Krystal Flash weave. Plenty of buggy colors too. Under $5 bucks a skein at the Hobby Lobby, same price over at Creative Yarn source. The texture of the fibers would make for nice nymph bodies if the yarn is wrapped straight on the hook, or chopped and dubbed.

April 12, 2010

Easy Money

The Carp Carrot, with a little input from John Montana and a roughfisher twist. Rubber legged and peacock dubbed head for added awesomeness.

roughfisher carrots

April 10, 2010

Color Me Bad

Another trip to the Hobby Lobby, another score. Some new jewelry items showed up on the shelves, ripe for the picking. 4mm colored beads, anodized I believe, then dyed and thermally sealed. Hopefully, this should increase the durability of the finish somewhat as painted beads will flake off down to the base metal on the first bounce off the bottom. Painted beads aren't the right tool for the application, anodized ones are. 40 beads at $4.99.

colored beads
The next item up for bid were some beads with an antiqued like finish, like a tarnished brass. The finish is earthy and will make for some sweet ass nymphs. 200 pieces of 3.2mm beads at $2.99, and 110 pieces of 4mm beads at $2.99.

antique beads
20" black ball chain for $1.47. New ball chain colors red, green, royal blue, and light blue, $1.99 per 16". Not the best of deals, but I have definitely never seen these colors of ball chain before. Again, these are anodized so they should hold up to the rigors of combat. 20" pastel colored ball chain in sage, orange, pink, and baby blue, all for $3.99. I picked up these colors in a previous score, but couldn't resist picking up another package.

colored ball chain
Something about spring in the air; egg patterns and flesh flies are stuck on the brain, even though none of those scenarios are present in the situations I typically angle. Found some bitching colors of rug yarn and I couldn't pass them up. Nonetheless, those of you with the opportunity to fish to a spring run of any of the pacific salmons would enjoy these colors. I'll likely end up using them for caddis and mayfly patterns after I've ground them up with a bit of Angelina. Not on sale, but at a buck a pack they are still a deal. They are so creamy looking.

rug yarn
So now, take everything you just saw above (except the rug yarn) and divide the price in half. That's right, %50 off. YEEAHH-HA!! That's how we do it in my neighborhood, bitch!

April 8, 2010

Gang bangin

UV possie
I've been whipping my posse into shape and cranking out a bunch of possie bugger variations for the trip to Oregon. That's if they even make it that far. These thugs have been banging around the barrio and bustin fools in the grill.

possie buggers
caddis green possies
black possies
Since caddis are the name of the game during this cold water period, these boyz will be rollin in a fresh El Camino. Black, green, blue, it don't matter what your colors are boy, just blast 'em fool. Show 'em who' the real G.

the posse
Today's forecast? Cloudy with a chance of a drive-by. That's how you roll in the hood.