2004 Roughfish.com Root River Roundup

This year we caught our first sturgeon from the Root.  The river was flooded and muddy, but still productive.  Andy bagged a big gobbler, and lots of trout and redhorse were caught.

 

Shovelnose Sturgeon Head

 Once again, we made our pilgrimage to the Root River for the roughfish.com roundup.  This was another difficult year, since it overlapped our turkey hunting season so we missed out on most of the good fishing.  Plus, recent rains had left the rivers high and muddy.  But we scored a couple of new species in the Root this year. 

 

Wednesday - Friday

Whiskey

Wednesday we found ourselves in Turkey Country around noon.   We secured the traditional meal of trout in short order, fishing over a magnificent, blizzard hatch of #14 Charcoal-Grey Caddis.  Red, the landowner, gave us free rein over his bountiful asparagus patch, which really made the meal something special. 

 

Andy Geving, Wild Turkey Hunter

Andy bagged his bird on opening day! The same location where he had been completely bamboozled last year paid off right away this year. This bird weighed 21 pounds and had a six-inch beard.

 

Corey Shorthead Redhorse

After hunting comes fishing. We headed to the Root River. The river was extremely low, and our favourite spot was not fishing very well. Still, I managed to land an 18.75 inch shorthead redhorse, a golden, and a few silvers.

Fighting a Redhorse

Recent flooding had left the banks of the Root River covered with six inches of slimy mud that you were constantly sinking up to your ankles in.  The flood also knocked a lot of trees into the water, which made playing and landing these big, hard-fighting fish even more difficult than usual.

 

Feeding Grass to a Pregnant Cow

We had to take a little time out on Friday to mingle with the locals. Bessie was just about ready to give birth, and really appreciated the fresh grass.

 

Saturday

Northern Hogsucker

We met up with the rest of the roughfish.com crew at Eagle Cliff. The river had already produced a big surprise for Rich, who closed out the midwestern sturgeon category with a big shovelnose sturgeon. I'd never heard of shovelnose being caught in the Root, but with it's lack of dams and clean water, it's little wonder that they'd be found there. With the prospect of catching a sturgeon before me, I started fishing in earnest. My first cast produced a big, beautiful Northern Hog Sucker. What a way to start the day! Later on I caught a second one - a cute little Pugamoo about nine inches long. Both of these fish were released unharmed.

 

Releasing a Hogsucker

Here, I release this beautiful hogsucker back into the Root.

 

Fly Redhorse Silver

 

I handed off my roughfishing rod to my Dad and picked up the five-weight. Although most of the big silver redhorse in the area were too busy spawning to look at a fly, I managed to find a few that seemed to be grubbing around in deeper water. One of them inhaled my dayglow pink squirrel fly and the fight was on! After a great fight, Andy snapped a photo of this fine fish. 

 

Shovelnose Sturgeon

 

Then Dad hooked into a fish, and I knew right away it was a sturgeon as it rolled and splashed at the surface. After a brief struggle, the fish was landed, photographed, and released. What a great catch - this fish measured 30.5 inches long, and was quite a sight for sore eyes! Populations of these fish are declining throughout most of the United States, so it's wonderful to see them finding a home in the clean and beautiful Root River. We carefully released the ancient fish back into the crystal-clear water.

 

Common Carp

Late in the day, a fierce hit on my crawler convinced me I was finally going to catch my long-awaited shovelnose. But the determined fish turned out to be a big, spunky common carp. Living in some very swift currents, this fish was a real battler and put my tackle to the test.  Carp are not common in the Root River, especially this far upstream.

Rich Trout Stringer

Rich came up the river soon after, with a nice brace of trout for his evening meal. 

 

Well, the next morning I failed once again to get a gobbler within range, so we had to settle for only one bird this year. It was a great trip, with great fishing. Many thanks to everyone involved, and thanks to Jodi who bought me a Renzetti Traveller for my birthday. Fish beware - I'll be cranking out some deadly flies with my new vise!

 

 

Species Covered: