April 28, 2012


The beauty of working in streams most of the summer is that I get an in depth look at the diversity of macroinvertebrate life and streamside ecology. Performing stream restoration and habitat improvement projects allow me to witness insect hatches alongside excavators, loaders, and ASVs moving rock and placing in rock riffles, weirs, and coarse woody habitat. This knowledge helps me place when and where I'll find certain insects and where they'll emerge. Know where the bugs are, and you'll find the fish.

case builder caddis
Turning over stones will give you an indicator of what bugs are present and where. Kick seining is also a useful tool, though sometimes you may catch drifters from a reach upstream that may not be entirely indicative of the assemblage under foot. Regardless, getting this involved in investigating what's going on in the stream bed is a hell of a lot more useful than approaching a reach blind, especially when there is no apparent hatch going on. Even more so when approaching new waters, and not knowing whether or not that section of stream possesses the water quality necessary for many species of mayflies and stoneflies, as well as other macroinvertebrates.

I found a treasure trove of stonefly nymphs the other day, ranging in size from microstones to golden stoneflies and brown willow flies. Plecoptera provide some of the biggest meals for many fish, especially those that prefer invertebrates without claws. They are also an excellent indicator species, intolerant of water pollution. Seems that Skwalas are the buzzword lately, especially among folks in the PNW. Whether or not it's the hip fly for you to fish or not, stoneflies are big meaty morsels and fish do eat them.

There are a ton of different patterns you can fish as stonefly nymphs, ranging from attractor patterns like yellow sallies and prince nymphs to skwala skaters. I typically rely on my Fresh Pimp Nymphs to get the job done when fishing stonefly waters. This is probably my most fished pattern in the spring, next to the Thunderbird. They both are great attractor patterns worthy of fooling fish feeding on stonefly nymphs, hellgrammites, or large mayfly drakes.

fresh pimp nymphs
Tough to beat big meat.

April 23, 2012

Monday Fly Porn

My bi-tone version of a Ruffian. Oddly enough, the rabbit hair throat appears so coarse in this photo it almost looks like elk hair. I bet you could fish this as a sinking hopper pattern in a pinch. I'll probably be working a few different color variations to see what the carp prefer but this one looks like a winner.

April 20, 2012

Targhee Fest & Fly Fishing Vacation Sweepstakes

Targhee Fest & Fly Fishing Vacation Sweepstakes
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Winner: (1) Grand Prize Winner plus (1) Guest
Promotion Period: April 3 – April 24, 2012! * Winner will be announced April 25, 2012
Prize Package Date: July 12-16, 2012
Prize Package Value: est $4658
Prize Package Details:
• Grand Targhee Resort: (1) room for (4) nights based on double occupancy, July 12-16, 2012; (2) 3-Day “Targhee Fest” Festival
passes; (2) 5-Day Lift Passes; (2) 1-Day Mountain Bike Rentals
• Mountain Khakis®: (4) MK Pants or Shorts of Choice, (2) MK!Shirts of Choice, (2) MK Belts of Choice, (2) MK Hat or Visor of Choice & (2) MK T-Shirts of Choice
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• Osprey® Packs: (1) “Stratos 24” Pack, (1) “Sirrus 24” Pack
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*Winner & Guest responsible for all travel-related expenses and make their own arrangements

Full Rules and Regulations.

Sweepstakes ends at 11:59PM EST on April 24, 2012. Enter now!

April 19, 2012

The Dirty Hobo

Dirty Hobo
The scaled down, dirty drifter version, based off of the Ruffian. No need carrying around a beard and trench coat when you can crash in a boxcar. Simplify man.

April 18, 2012

Ruff and Ready

Some more tweaking with my Ruffian pattern. I played up on the two tone look with the pheasant hackle and dubbed the body in peacock instead of the same color of the body. I also added a couple more strands of midge flash to the tail section and added dark tipped rabbit to the throat instead of the single hued fur. Looks pretty tantalizing if you ask me. Let's see if the carp and smallies agree too.

Ruffian, rear entry
I'd hit that.

April 17, 2012

Roughfisher's Ruffians

Roughfish Ruffians
Triple the hackle for triple the pleasure: grizzly marabou tail, hen pheasant and ruffed grouse double thorax.

Roughfish Ruffian
Roughfish Ruffian
Carp, beware of brass knuckles hiding beneath their trenchcoat and fists underneath their beard. These are the toughest flies I know.

April 12, 2012

More Fan Mail

Dear Roughfisher,

Here's a picture of an admirer of your carp crack! I hooked the fish for her and then let her fight it! She could barely hold the thing!!!!

Image courtesy of Bennett Muraski
Image courtesy of Bennett Muraski
The fish was caught on a size 8 orange carp crack, the fish was 32"L and 19"G. no scale though...

-- Bennett Muraski

Thanks for the note and photo Bennett. Well done! I love seeing photos from my readers with fish they've caught on my patterns. Even better when a kid is involved! If you've got any fish porn to share that was caught on one of the roughfisher's patterns, send them my way. Use the contact me form and send me a note.

April 10, 2012

Flats of the Third Coast

Flats of the Third Coast from FP Media on Vimeo.

Check out the new Beaver Island video from Caleb of fishpornfix.com. You might even catch my ugly mug if you look close. Makes me want to go back and cruise the flats again.

April 3, 2012


Continuing on with the odd weather as of late. One day, seventy degree plus temps, the next, barely breaking fifty. The ice is gone, the snow has been long gone for over a month. Water temperatures in the main river systems are still fairly cold, with barely a sign of walleye spawning activity. Soon after the walleyes spawn, do the suckers. Places where you'd think you'd see fish are devoid of any life. Went up to the carp flats at mid day and nothing. Then the sun came out and fish were jumping, spawning, everywhere. Weird.

I decided that it was time to give a few Critter Gitters their first taste of action. I wasn't gonna throw them into the shit right away, but give them a few exercises in less of a hot zone. First few casts into some rocky pocket water and picked off a few smallies. Not that I doubted their potential, smallmouth are simple greedy pigs, quite stupid really, fun to torment with rubber, fur, feather and steel. Time to move on to some real targets.

critter gitter
First drift through a promising run and I hook up. All I saw was a dorsal fin break the surface and I couldn't tell if it was a carp or a buffalo. After a couple large pulls upstream and then down, I scrambled to get my freshly stripped line back onto the spool. As I pulled the fish against the current I manage to bring it to the surface, a decent sized bigmouth buffalo. Had a brand new net with me and even remembered to use my digital scale. I put the netted fish on the hook, something I have rarely done in the past, scaling out at 10.5#.

Hopefully next time I'll get the carp to play. I only had an hour window between when the sun came out and when I had to leave. Foul hooked a few tailers in the mud, visibility worse than that of chocolate milk. Saw a couple of nice spawners, but mostly small little punks. Hopefully the weather will become more consistent. Until then I'll keep dreaming of chasing tails...

April 2, 2012

Live Más

More fly porn: the Critter Gitter in my Super Squirrel brown spectral dubbing blend.

Critter Gitter
Critter Gitters
Between, my hot orange, olive, peacock, and squirrel brown variations, the carp should be on a feeding frenzy this season.

fly box
Let's roll!