Roundup 2015 was an event unlike any other.
If you missed it, you should really consider your choices in life more closely.
This year's Roundup was held May 8-10, 2015. A mandolarian showed up with a hooligan. A few morels made an appearance. Mandolarian Morel Hooligans might just make a good bluegrass band name. Weather was great, and lots of folks made the trip. It was great to see all of my fellow Roughfishers again for our unnoficial Rite of Spring. Fishing started out pretty good, but got tougher as time went by. The golden redhorse of the Root are getting bigger every year, and this rang true with the 3rd state record from this stretch of water in the last 8 years.
Superfrog started off the Roundup by breaking his own record! This huge golden redhorse was half an ounce heavier than the previous state record. How cool is that?!
Friday at noon, a few of us grabbed our canoes and kayaks and drove into Lanesboro. We put in just below the dam on the South Branch of the Root and floated down to camp, which is about a 6-mile trip.
The Traditional Friday flotilla sped down the Root which was in great shape for paddling and fishing.
I caught this chunky rainbow for dinner.
Then a nice golden redhorse. It was a fun float back to camp.
Fishing had been pretty good so far, and as more folks arrived at the campground Friday afternoon, fish were coming in fairly regularly. Goldens were biting best, followed by Hogsuckers and a fair amount of shortheads . Nothing else was really that consistent.
Tony with a large golden redhorse. This was the first fish caught on the custom-built fishing rod he'd won in the 2014 Spring Species Contest. I bet a whole lot of fish are going to follow...
It's safe to say that Jason E hand-picked the nightcrawler that tempted this golden.
Sea Monster caught her first golden redhorse, a 20" specimen that was over 4 lbs and dripping eggs. The Root keeps cranking out huge goldens, and we release most of the big ones so a true behemoth may be caught any time.
Matt with a hogsucker
Heidi caught a fantastic shovelnose sturgeon! These awesome fish have become a fairly regular catch the past few years - yet only a handful are caught. Heidi's fish was a real specimen, and I believe it was the first one she'd caught (that's why she's smiling so big).
Just before dinner, a few anglers noticed something - the river was turning cloudy. It was an almost imperceptable change around dinnertime, when most were chowing down trout and burgers and brats and whatnot. Folks that had fished through dinnertime noticed the change, and bites slowed. A few hours later, bites were few and far between for most.
After dark, Rich caught one of the most finicky and hard-to-catch fish that swims. It was also caught under tough conditions. This quillback carpsucker made a nice addition to his lifelist.
Storms with heavy rain hit the upper branches of the Root, but they missed us at Eagle Cliffs completely. This explained why the river started to dirty up and rise. We all hoped that it would pass overnight and make for big numbers in tomorrow's Species Derby. I'm sure folks fished after dark, but nobody shared any photos of it and I'm pretty sure I was content sitting by a roaring bonfire per usual.
By the next morning, the river had changed character. Not many fish were caught by early risers, myself included. Up early, I fished a rock point and caught only one small trout and two hogsuckers.
There was a single morel at my fishing spot.
Fishing was just plain slow for most of the anglers this morning. However, spirits remained high as the weather was nice and it was almost Derby Time. Here's a few shots pre-derby.
The prize table was chock-full of awesome stuff.
At High Noon, the Species Derby began. Contestants spread out all along the river and started plying the water. I set up around a whole bunch of other anglers, and didn't get a bite for the first hour. It was very slow action for this group, with only a few fish landed. Seeking better action, I headed upstream. Along the way I passed many anglers and inquired about their luck - but reports weren't stellar. Everybody was struggling. Below are some shots of competitors trying to figure things out during the Derby -
Despite the overall lack of action, everybody was joking around and having a good time. Some folks did find success, and nice catches were made -
Dutch caught this beast of a Root River carp. The carp in this river are well-known to battle like crazy and use the strong current.
Jenny landed this beautiful quillback carpsucker! Congrats again!
A nice carp for the defending Species Derby Champion Outdoors4Life
The Mandolarian with a shorthead and Jknuth with a monster hogsucker.
Rich caught a rock.
Thankfully, the group still accumulated enough suckers for the annual Sucker Ball Feast. It was a mix of Goldens and Whites, mainly.
Well, I never caught a fish during the Derby. Thankfully I wasn't alone in my futility and many experienced Roughfishers failed to enter any fish. There were a lot of low scores - many had caught one species and those that had 2 were a select group who thought just maybe they had earned the right to compete in a sudden-death fish-off for the title. The crowd milled around the registration table and inquired about everybody's luck. One staunch competitor kept a poker face and would not reveal his tally - D.T. When it finally came to be his turn to show his catches to the Judges, murmurs spread throughout the onlooking crowd. Sure enough, D.T. had caught 3 species (hogsucker, golden redhorse, brown trout), and won the Derby outright! A record low tally to win the Derby. This is the second time D.T. has hoisted the Silver Trophy. Congratulations to the Champion!
Outdoors4Life, 2015 Champion, shows utmost respect to the new Champ. The two fished side by side during this year's Species Derby. It is said that D.T. should have had ANOTHER species as well, but he mistakenly released it without a photo. If he would have photographed that fish, he would have bested the entire field by TWO. It was a very impressive win!
D.T. will have his name engraved a second time on the traveling Silver Redhorse Trophy.
Everybody got to choose some great prizes from the table, even if they didn't catch any fish - like me. Of course, after the Derby was over it was time to get down to the business of sucker balls. With everybody chipping in and helping, we put together a fantastic feast! The food spread keeps getting better and better each year. I think this year's sucker balls were the best yet too. Cooked to perfection by Frymaster Angry Mongrel.
Jackie took the two photos below - one with Roundup in full swing and one after everyone had left. Thanks again to everyone for making sure we leave the campground in better shape than when we arrived!
Well, that's about all I've got. Please, if you have any photos that you'd like to see added to this write-up send them my way. I only had a few people's to choose from because not many were posted after the event. Anyway, Roundup was an absolutely great time in 2015 and maybe the slower fishing allowed us all to socialize a bit more. I can't wait to do it all again in 2016! Keep It Rough!