2007 Roughfish.com Root River Roundup

World Record Golden Redhorse


 Roundup 2007 was probably the greatest roundup yet!  Not only did we have 22 hardcore roughfishers attend, AND great weather, AND an incredible number and variety of species caught, but Andy also managed to break the Minnesota state record, as well as the all-tackle world record, for Golden Redhorse.  We didn't get a group photo, which is a shame.  PEOPLE - we really need to stop fishing for a minute and get everybody together for a group photo.  I know it's hard to stop fishing, but it really helps having a photo for posterity.  Someone, please remind me next time!  Anyway, this roundup featured a float trip down the Root River, a spectacular species contest, a plethora of northern hogsuckers, and an all-tackle world record caught.  It will be tough to beat! 


Kayaking the Root River


 This year, we had an advance party doing a float trip down the Root River on Friday.  Heath and his father paddled a canoe, Rich was in his Pelican Castaway fishing kayak, and I was in my Manta Ray kayak.   What a blast!  I'd never been paddling on this water before, but I highly recommend it, especially in the spring when the redhorse are spawning.  I highly recommend a spring trip down the Root in whatever human-powered craft you can find.  We caught all kinds of fish on our float trip:  big browns, huge silver redhorse, dozens of shortheads, smallmouth bass, and even mooneyes!


Roundup Folks Fishing


Saturday, the main roundup began, with people spread out all over the riverbank. Leakywaders had graciously donated a whole flat of nightcrawlers to The Cause, so fish were coming in left and right.  Somebody even caught a hornyhead chub while fishing an undercut bank!  Giant holes started mysteriously appearing in the sandy riverbank.  At first, we blamed it on Konrad's dog, but because of the strange pattern of the excavations, I suspect it was an undescribed species of large, burrowing creature.  I guess it will remain a mystery ... until next year, when we will try to obtain a voucher specimen of this mysterious burrowing creature for science.


Spawning Redhorse


The river was clear as gin and chock-full of fish.  We couldn't ask for better conditions.  We had hit the tail end of the shorthead spawn, and the goldens and silvers were just getting started.  Underwater filming conditions were also perfect, so we hoped to catch these noble fish on video.


KPE Silver Redhorse


KPE Caught this hefty silver redhorse.  He once again brought his award-winning jerky, but there were so many people this year that it had to be strictly rationed.  Some of it may have been pilfered by the M.B.C. (Mysterious Burrowing Creature)


Northern Hog Sucker


Hogsuckers started coming in like crazy.  Here, JK shows off his first-ever hogsucker while Captain Rainbow looks on.  This was the best hogsucker fishing I have ever seen!  We caught about 20 of these amazing little fish.  They were a little on the small side, just under a foot long - but they will grow up quickly in the Root's fertile waters.  After learning to look for the "black lipstick" on the mouth of these fish, Rich and his buddies started calling them "Northern Goth Suckers", even though none of them were wearing Egyptian ankhs or listening to The Sisters of Mercy on their Ipods.


Northern Hog Sucker

A Northern Goth Sucker in the hand. 



Mark Shorthead Redhorse

Shortheads were found in plenty.  Here, Mark shows off a really nice shorthead.  Mark had one of the highest species totals of the roundup.


Fishing the Root


John, Ryan, Andy, and Tyler were brave enough to fish Hogsucker Beach, even though it was a hotbed of M.B.C. activity.  They reaped the rewards, with ten different species of fish, including Ryan's first salmonid and Justin's first mooneye!  No M.B.C. attacks occurred, although Andy claims to have seen a badgerlike creature, between 40 and 60 pounds, with yellowish matted hair, glowing eyes, and huge, serrated claws. The creature disappeared underground before he could snap a photo.


Fisherman on the Root


Soon it was time for the Species Derby to start.  The rules: catch as many species as you can in two hours.  Whoever gets the most wins the prize. 


King of the Root Hat Prize

This was the prize.  A nice fishing hat, with a picture of a silver redhorse on it, emblazoned with "King of the Root".  It's the only one of its kind (mainly because I'm the only one who ever bought one).


Contest on the Root Species Derby


Competition was intense.  I barely had a chance to sit down, because the fish were coming in so quickly.  I netted, identified, photographed, and released so many fish that I lost count.


Fishing on the Root

The tension was so thick you could cut it with a knife. 


Species Derby Winner JK

Finally, a turkey call sounded, marking the end of the Species Derby.  The winner was JK, with a whopping total of six species (Golden Redhorse, Silver Redhorse, Shorthead Redhorse, Brown Trout, Rainbow Trout, and White Sucker).  JK's winning tactic is displayed in this photo - roughfishers around the world take notice!  When you are restricted to using only one rod (like in Minnesota), keep a second identical rod fully rigged and ready for action at all times.  JK did this, which meant that whenever his primary rod got tangled, broken off, or needed re-rigging, he deployed the backup immediately, keeping a line in the water at all times.  Sage advice from a true roughfishing warrior.  His six-species two-hour derby score is now the roughfish.com record.


Fishing The Root


After the contest, I was finally able to relax.  Andy, Rich, and I shot some awesome video of redhorse fishing.  Andy expertly deployed an underwater camera to catch the redhorse spawning.  Then Rich headed home.  I had business in Lanesboro the next day, and Andy had the day off, so Andy and I stayed an extra night on the Root.  That night, we cooked bratwursts on Hogsucker Beach to celebrate the most successful roundup ever.  Little did we know, the best was yet to come.  There was no sign of the M.B.C., so we felt safe.  This water had already been fished by dozens of people for several days, so we didn't think there were any big fish left.  The sun began to set.  Andy hooked a fish, which we assumed was yet another big silver redhorse.  Then it sloshed, out in the river, ten feet in front of us.  


It was a golden. 


A really, really big golden.  Impossibly large.  Andy and I looked at each other.  Could this be really happening?  Finally, we got it in the net.  It was a massive female golden redhorse.


All-tackle world record Golden Redhorse Andy Geving

We weighed it on Andy's digital scale - which put it several ounces over the Minnesota Record. By the time we weighed it, it was dark. We would have to wait until morning to weight it, since nothing stays open down here past eight o'clock. We put the great fish in a cooler, and slept fitfully.


At the DNR office in Lanesboro the next morning, the local Fisheries staff was as excited as we were.  They agreed it was the new record, but their scale was not certified.  Andy got the fish weighed in Lanesboro, but their scale was out of date, invalildating his record catch.  We needed a certified scale, and fast.  The next town was Preston, Trout Capitol of Minnesota, where we were rebuffed by a grocery store manager who refused to put this amazing record fish on his certified meat scale. I was very angry, and Andy could've bored holes in solid rock with his glare. Preston, Minnesota, is officially Dead To Me. We went to Chatfield. They cooperated wholeheartedly, and before we knew it, Andy had his fish officially weighed, the record fish form notarized, and willing witnesses signed the official documents.  The next day, a fisheries biologist positively identified the fish, the forms were signed, and history was made.  Andy submitted it as the new Minnesota Record.  Then, we found out what the all-tackle world record was, and realized he had broken that as well.  


Months later, Andy was honored with an official announcement of his record fish from both the Minnesota DNR and the Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame.  He sewed the record fish patch onto his favorite fishing shirt, sent the historic fish to a taxidermist, and went on tying flies, ALMOST as humble as before.


world record holder patch


Almost ...

Here's our video-montage from the 2007 Roundup.  The music is a catchy tune called "Rifflin' Hitch" written and performed by Andy, combined and remixed with another of Andy's original tunes, "Rifflin' Hitch Reprise".  Enjoy. 








Species Covered: