Anderson: For Roaches, fishing is a family affair

  • Article by: DENNIS ANDERSON , Star Tribune
  • Updated: March 23, 2014 - 12:05 AM

As a kid, “Mr. Walleye” Gary Roach spent his spare time on the dock or in the boat. He says he was “always fishing” — as is nephew Tony Roach.

hide

Professional angler and guide Tony Roach, left, with his famous great-uncle, professional angler, guide and Minnesota fishing legend Gary Roach. In the foreground is the object of their common affection: a big walleye.

Photo: Photos courtesy of Tony Roach,

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

Gary Roach, 76, of Merrifield is a Minnesota walleye fishing legend, and his nephew, Tony Roach, 36, of Moose Lake, is following in his footsteps. Both will appear on the seminar stage at the Northwest Sportshow, which opens Wednesday. In the interview below, the legend and the legend-in-the-making recount their lives in fishing.

 

Q How did you get started fishing?

Gary I fished first from a dock, and I started as soon as I could walk. This was on Upper Mission Lake, where we lived. I fished with a cane pole, and when I was big enough to row a boat, I headed onto the lake. Upper Mission was good for crappies, bass and panfish. We had to go to Pelican Lake for walleyes.

Tony I also started fishing on Upper Mission, and also from a dock. A dock is a great place for a kid to learn. I grew up in Moose Lake, and every day in summer I’d walk the shores of Moosehead Lake, fishing for smallmouth bass, northern pike, panfish and walleyes.

 

Q When did you decide to make a living fishing?

Gary I got out of the Navy in 1959. After that, I did a lot of different things. I owned a gas station, and I was in a band for 15 years, playing three nights a week. But I always fished. On nice days I’d get to looking outside when I was at the gas station, and I’d tell the guy who was working for me I needed to make a service call. And I’d go fishing.

Tony I started fishing for money when I was 18. I was lucky and landed a job guiding on Flag Island, on Lake of the Woods. I was in college at the time.

Gary I was guiding on Upper Mission when I was 12. … Later, I’d fished all the lakes in the Brainerd area many times, and one day a guy told me I should go over to Marv Koep’s [bait and tackle shop near Nisswa] and see about being a guide. I didn’t have a boat. But I did have a motor. And Marv gave me a Green Box depth finder. It wasn’t long before I was taking clients out and catching limits of walleyes at a secret lake I knew about that didn’t have a public access.

 

Q How’d go you from being a guide to being in the fishing promotion business?

Gary While guiding I met Al Lindner. He and his brother Ron were getting In-Fisherman magazine going, and I started traveling, promoting fishing for them. … Then I started promoting on my own. I had as many as 17 people on my “Fishing Promos’’ team that I started with Randy Amenrud, who also traveled to promote fishing and the fishing business.

Tony I studied construction management in college. But I was always fishing. When I got out of school, Gary asked me if I wanted to be on his Mr. Walleye team to fish and promote fishing. It was a great opportunity to show how hard I could work. I wanted to prove myself.

Gary It didn’t take long before people were talking about Tony. If he guided them, he caught fish. He’d always give everyone the best time of their lives.

 

Q Tony, did you start guiding first, or fishing tournaments first?

Tony I started guiding on Mille Lacs and fishing tournaments there during the monster bites of 2003 and 2004. … But fishing turned pretty tough over the next couple of years, and it was then that I started getting more attention, because I was still catching fish.

 

  • related content

  • Northwest Sportshow highlights

    Saturday March 22, 2014

    What: The 82nd annual Northwest SportshowWhen: Wednesday through SundayWhere: Minneapolis Convention CenterHours: Wednesday and Thursday, 1-9 p.m.; Friday, 11 a.m.–9...

  • Tough winter taking its toll on Minnesota fish

    Sunday March 23, 2014

    Low oxygen levels in lakes are resulting in significant winterkill.

  • Professional angler and guide Tony Roach with his son, Robbie. The younger Roach is learning to fish from a dock, like his dad did as a kid. That's where Robbie's great-great uncle and famous walleye angler Gary Roach first fished, too.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

Click here to send us your hunting or fishing photos – and to see what others are showing off from around the region.

ADVERTISEMENT

Los Angeles - R. Hernandez 12:05 PM
Chicago Cubs - F. Doubront
Detroit - M. Scherzer 12:05 PM
Kansas City - J. Shields
Philadelphia - J. Williams 3:05 PM
Oakland - D. Pomeranz
Toronto - M. Stroman 3:05 PM
NY Yankees - C. Capuano
Arizona - T. Cahill 3:10 PM
Colorado - E. Butler
Boston - R. De La Rosa 6:05 PM
Baltimore - C. Tillman
Milwaukee - M. Garza 6:05 PM
Pittsburgh - E. Volquez
Washington - J. Zimmermann 6:10 PM
Miami - J. Cosart
NY Mets - J. Niese 6:10 PM
Atlanta - M. Minor
Chicago WSox - H. Noesi 6:10 PM
Tampa Bay - C. Archer
Cleveland - T. House 6:10 PM
Minnesota - T. May
Seattle - C. Young 6:10 PM
Houston - D. Keuchel
Cincinnati - M. Leake 6:15 PM
St. Louis - M. Wacha
San Francisco - Y. Petit 7:40 PM
San Diego - A. Cashner
Texas - C. Lewis 8:05 PM
LA Angels - J. Weaver
San Diego 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Buffalo
Dallas 9/21/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis
Washington 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Houston 9/21/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Minnesota 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Tennessee 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
Baltimore 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Cleveland
Green Bay 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Detroit
Indianapolis 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Oakland 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New England
San Francisco 9/21/14 3:05 PM
Arizona
Denver 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Seattle
Kansas City 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Miami
Pittsburgh 9/21/14 7:30 PM
Carolina
Chicago 9/22/14 7:30 PM
NY Jets
NY Giants 9/25/14 7:25 PM
Washington
(5) Auburn 20 FINAL
(20) Kansas State 14
Connecticut 14 FINAL
So Florida 17
Old Dominion 11:00 AM
Rice
Troy 0 1st Qtr 14:00
(13) Georgia 0
Georgia Tech 0 1st Qtr 12:52
Virginia Tech 0
Eastern Mich 0 1st Qtr 14:13
(11) Michigan State 0
Iowa 0 1st Qtr 13:31
Pittsburgh 0
Bowling Green 0 1st Qtr 14:17
(19) Wisconsin 0
Maryland 11:30 AM
Syracuse
Tulane 11:30 AM
Duke
Hawaii 1:00 PM
Colorado
Marshall 1:00 PM
Akron
North Carolina 2:30 PM
East Carolina
Army 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Virginia 2:30 PM
(21) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 2:30 PM
SMU
Rutgers 2:30 PM
Navy
Central Mich 2:30 PM
Kansas
Utah 2:30 PM
Michigan
Florida 2:30 PM
(3) Alabama
Louisville 2:30 PM
FIU
Fla Atlantic 3:00 PM
Wyoming
Indiana 3:00 PM
(18) Missouri
San Jose St 3:00 PM
Minnesota
Texas State 3:00 PM
Illinois
Massachusetts 3:00 PM
Penn State
Georgia State 5:00 PM
Washington
Appalachian St 6:00 PM
Southern Miss
Miss State 6:00 PM
(8) LSU
Northern Ill 6:00 PM
Arkansas
Middle Tennessee 6:00 PM
Memphis
Utah State 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Miami-Ohio 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Idaho 6:00 PM
Ohio U
Ball State 6:00 PM
Toledo
(14) So Carolina 6:30 PM
Vanderbilt
(4) Oklahoma 6:30 PM
West Virginia
Ga Southern 6:30 PM
South Alabama
UNLV 7:00 PM
Houston
(22) Clemson 7:00 PM
(1) Florida State
Miami-Florida 7:00 PM
(24) Nebraska
New Mexico 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 9:00 PM
Arizona
Louisiana 9:30 PM
Boise State
(2) Oregon 9:30 PM
Washington St
San Diego St 9:30 PM
Oregon State
Texas Tech 9/25/14 6:30 PM
(25) Oklahoma State
Appalachian St 9/25/14 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
(12) UCLA 9/25/14 9:00 PM
(15) Arizona State
Middle Tennessee 9/26/14 7:00 PM
Old Dominion
Fresno State 9/26/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico
(1) Florida State 9/27/14 2:00 AM
NC State
Duke 9/27/14 2:00 AM
Miami-Florida
North Carolina 9/27/14 2:00 AM
(22) Clemson
Vancouver FC 4:00 PM
Portland
Houston 6:00 PM
Philadelphia
New England 6:30 PM
Columbus
San Jose 6:30 PM
Montreal
Seattle 6:30 PM
Red Bull New York
D.C. 7:30 PM
Chicago
FC Dallas 9:30 PM
Los Angeles
Toronto 40 FINAL
Brt Columbia 23
Edmonton 6:00 PM
Hamilton
Calgary 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Montreal
Ottawa 9/21/14 3:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Montreal 9/26/14 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Saskatchewan 9/26/14 9:00 PM
Edmonton
Hamilton 9/27/14 5:30 PM
Winnipeg
Brt Columbia 9/27/14 8:30 PM
Calgary
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Should the lake where the albino muskie was caught remain a mystery?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close