August 30, 2011


Otter Tail River at Orwell There may be hope for 2011 yet. Despite the rain falling from the sky as I type this, a two week dry spell in the region (somewhat of a rare occurrence as of late) has allowed many of the tributaries of the Otter Tail and Red Rivers to finally begin to fall. While nowhere near as low as normal for this time of year, flows are starting to finally approach wadeable and fishable levels, nearly four months after the start of spring runoff. Insane. With rivers finally back within their banks, hopefully these lower flows will start to congregate fish and bring them off of the floodplains and onto their normal flats and other haunts. Lower flows will weaken the strong currents allowing a fly to drift more freely to fish holding in deep pools anr runs without the added burden of excess tungsten and lead. This should give the advantage back to the fly angler. Who knows how long this will last. Time to get back on the saddle.

August 28, 2011

Summer Fields

wildflowers It's late summer and things are beginning to wind down. The arrival of monarchs on their annual migration to Mexico and points south, blooming wildflowers, low temperatures hinting at dipping into the forties, and the rogue tree or two teasing with hints of gold and crimson on their periphery all mark the inevitable change in season. This is also the beginning of prime time for collecting tallgrass prairie and wildflower seeds. Yes, summer is near over and fall is almost here. Finally. wildflower monarch Fall brings many of my fondest memories in the Great White North, often culminating with the first frost of the season. Water temperatures and fall turnover often result in some tremendous fishing. Some of my most memorable fish have come in late fall. In addition, flushing grouse from aspen groves, apple picking and hay rides with the family, and the explosion of pheasants from the remaining crop residue from the fall harvest are all some of my favorite pastimes, not to mention good eats. There's nothing like the smell of roast pheasant, apple pie, smoked duck, wild rice, or the flavors of fresh bratwurst and sauerkraut emanating from the kitchen. wildflower monarch wildflower Sending the kids off to school in the little yellow bus is just a few days away, which begs the question, has anyone every come up with a monarch butterfly fly pattern? I bet the bass would hit that! And then my next question, how much vacation leave do I have saved up?

August 22, 2011

Reader Mail

Dear Roughfisher,

We haven't met, but I received your card with fulfillment of an initial order for your Carp Crack ties - which are nice by the way. Thanks for getting them out to me. They work on NC carps.
bent seeya forRB caudalscales slimeddeck
That particular eat was exceptionally cool. On Lake Norman (NASCAR country) on a rocky shoreline 50 yrds from Matt Kenseth's dock (a driver), the fish was a cruiser and I laid the fly about 10ft off its bow, gave it a twitch when he was at 5ft and he rifled in and pounced with a clockwise swirl of green, gold, and orange. Visually, as cool as any gamefish eat......

Thanks again for the sweet ties.

August 14, 2011

Kitty Kats

Channel Cat Channel Cat Day two on the water was considerably different than the day prior. Fish were present but were busy "sunning" themselves under the ironically cloudy skies. Perfect casts to slow cruisers resulted in no takes, nary even a look. Frustrating to say the least. Moving on to some backwater bays found some active fish. Tails could be spotted and even a few dorsal fins breaking the surface. Still tough conditions with the clouds on the sky, but with the surface breaks we were able to locate fish. In between a break in the clouds, we were able to find a bunch of large bigmouth buffalo filter feeding. Unfortunately, fishing to buffalo when they are feeding on plankton and filamentous algae is for naught. I have yet to catch a buffalo under these conditions, other for casting a fly directly into their gaping mouths and snagging the hook inside their throat. Hardly sporting at all. At one point, a lined fish erupted in a chain reaction of spooked fish, much like nuclear fission, resulting in a tsunami like wave over one foot high and sixty feet wide. The tip of the crest was so powerful on this wave that it even broke like a wave hitting the surf. An unreal sight. Channel Cat The day was saved after dredging up a very healthy channel cat from the bottom of the mud flats. A stripped fly was taken by the cruising cat whose dorsal fin was ripping through the surface like a shark. An easy five pounds for this fish. And now for the obligatory Hero Shot Gone Wrong shot: Hero Shot Gone Wrong Even under high water, it's always a great time out on the backwater flats. Good stuff...

August 13, 2011

home on the range

XD9SC My XD45 just got a little brother, the Springfield Armory XD9SC, a sub compact chambered in 9mm. The 9mm round is not my ideal cartridge for a service weapon, as I would favor the .40 S&W instead as it is a ballisticly superior round. Cost, however, is a main concern these days, and with many law enforcement agencies switching back from .40 S&W to the 9mm, ammunition for my XD9SC has just become a lot more affordable than for the XD40 I used to own. Add to the fact that my XD9SC is going to be primarily used as a conceal carry weapon, it's small frame and high capacity magazine will prove to be more effective than the XD40. XD9SC brothers A little carnage at the range, 350 rounds of cheap russian steel and some american brass. anti zombie unit training Besides, if I ever need to pack some big heat, I'll just carry my .45.

August 12, 2011

Running and Gunning

Mustache Ready Took a client out this afternoon, Mustache Ride ready and prepared to deal with the onslaught of high water and heavy flows. When we arrived streamside, we were met with cloudy skies and water outside of the stream banks. Not ideal carping conditions by any means. Inundated flood plains can typically be a productive piece of water, unfortunately, with the water as high as it is, the river is deep and many of these flooded reaches are unreachable by foot. Bank Cover micro drum After busting through some heavy bank cover, we managed to pull up some micro slabs, including a few juvenile smallies and a small freshwater drum. Some carp, redhorse, and buffalo were spotted but there weren't there in their usual numbers and there weren't many takers. My guess is that these fish are spread out throughout the river system out on the flats and flooded fields, far downstream.One big carp was hooked, by eventually lost after heading downstream into the heavy current of the main channel. Bummer. Bank run Smallie Carp Crack once again saved the day. A long but lean smallie was brought to hand, providing some salve to the day. After moving around to a few different spots, we settled upon a small outlet feeding a backwater slough. I spotted a few carp clooping just outside the outlet and set the client right up on the spot. After some coaching and a few missed tries, we got hooked up with a small male carp. Maybe not the biggest fish, but rewarding nonetheless to sight fish to a few cloopers. pocket water fighting the catch carpface We'll be back at it again tomorrow. There'll definitely be a bit more investigation of those backwaters, and we'll come armed to the teeth with an entire arsenal of Carp Crack. Game on.

August 11, 2011

Down, But Not Out

police lineup I may have been out of the scene for a bit, but I'm not dead. Besides obscenely high flows on the Otter Tail (still) and some difficult missions to carry out back on the home front I haven't had much time to focus on the sport of roughfishing. Not to worry, though, I've still got a few tricks up my sleeve. Hopefully I'll still be able to salvage the fantastic fall fishery around here. I plan on getting my boots wet this weekend after a long hiatus. Wish me luck.