All I can say is thank you.
You folks are the best. The kind phone calls, visits,
handshakes and e-mails have been overwhelming. It remains
to be seen if my appearance on the television will bring
me any further riches, but I'll tell you this: I'm a rich
man already because of you kind folks.
A few observations from both episodes of Fly Fishing America
with me and my Blackfeet cousin Joe Kipp fishing in Montana and
Just for the record, those waders were borrowed, and were
for a man about six feet tall, so they kinda bunched up
around my midsection, which made me look kinda like an
Oompa Loompa. Now, that's not to say I haven't a midsection.
I wish the show had been done before I stopped smoking, but
the first segment in Montana was filmed about three months...
no, let me put it this way, about fifteen pounds into my
non-smoking life, and the Louisiana segment about thirty
pounds into my non-smoking life. Oh, well. I don't smoke
anymore, but for a cigar now and then on the water, and
that's a good thing.
I also want to note that in the interview segments where
I'm sitting on the log, that was the last day and I didn't
know I was going on camera for that interview, so yes, I
had not shaved. Since Indian men most often don't have facial
hair to speak of, and since I'm a mixed 'Breed, what whisker
growth I have is sorta random and unpredictable, often
resembling maps of unstable third world nations, i.e.,
Just after the first show the phone started ringing. The first
caller said, "Rog, can I have your autograph?" in good humor,
and I said, "You shoulda asked yesterday. It was free then.
It's ten bucks now!"
The second caller was greeted by my answering the phone and
saying, "Hi, this is the publicist for Roger Stouff. Mr.
Stouff can't come to the phone right now, can I take a message?"
I kept hearing the theme to the "Bugs Bunny and Road Runner Hour"
in my head:
"Overture! Curtain! Lights
What, ya'll got a problem with Bugs? My number one hero, bar none.
Second is Bogie, third is the Duke.
"This is it, we'll hit new heights
"And oh what heights we'll hit
"On with the show, this is it!"
Anyway, if it hadn't been for those midsection-jumbling waders,
I still don't know why I had to wear waders, since we never got
in more than mid-thigh deep water. I figured it was so the bears
would have something to use as a napkin. Anyway, if it wasn't
for those waders and I had looked dashing and thin...well, it
would have been an episode of "The Twilight Zone," wouldn't it?
The show did not include footage of the two big cutthroat trout
I caught in Goose Lake, but I have photos to prove it. They are
in my columns on the Montana trip in the archives here, too. Joe
Kipp, my Blackfeet cousin, is a trout fishing guide and there
ain't none better in Blackfeet country. If you wanna go, give
him a call or visit
Yes, it's true, my friend Sheriff Naquin was baitfishing. I
have told you kind folks repeatedly: In this exact geographic
area of mine, fly fishing is a rare thing. Go fifty miles east,
west or north of me and you see a lot more of it, but right
around me area, there aren't many of us who throw flies. The
sheriff was throwing bait shrimp trying to locate fish, but
nobody on the bay was catching that day, so you can't blame
it on the fly fishermen! The wind was up twenty-to-thirty miles
per hour, a minor cold front came through, and a major one that
night. The timing was just all wrong, but hey, that's Hollywood!
Yes, it's true, the baitcasters among us believe the best water
depth instrument is not a Lowrance but whatever rod we happen
to be using. And yes, it's true, Joe's a far better fly caster
I'd be remiss to not mention Barrett Productions and the awesome
job they did with the whole thing. A great crew to work with on
both fronts, Montana and Louisiana.
Many of you have commented on the camaraderie and sense of kin
between Blackfeet and Chitimacha, and I'm glad it was so evident.
I hope it won't be my last trip to the Backbone of the World,
and I'd like to eventually get Joe onto some redfish down here.
But note also the distance we've come among the larger community.
Two Indians, both reservation Indians though we've both been on
and off for long periods of our lives, both connected to our waters.
One of us is further removed from his ways after more centuries
of assimilation, but regaining it one step, one battle, at a time.
But the larger whole is that the perception to the non-Indian
community here. We're friends who happen to be Indians, and
there comes a point among friends, in time, when you just don't
even think of the adjective anymore, they're just friends. Among
my friends, like the sheriff and the other kind folks who ran boats
for the camera crew and cooked incredibly awesome suppers for us
after the fishing, when the whole proposal of this shoot first
came up last spring, there was a feeling of, "Oh, yeah, that's
right, you are Indian."
I'm reminded of Drew Hayden Taylor, an Ojibwe 'Breed who aptly
titled his first book, Funny, You Don't Look Like One:
Adventures of a Blue-eyed Ojibwe.
It's not because I hide it, or don't talk about. Hell, I write
newspaper columns and books about it! But the mark of true friends,
I think, is when you don't think about it, and those kinds of
friendships are banners that, after all our cultures have been
through after five hundred years, we can make it together after
all, with all our individualism and uniqueness as people and
as a culture intact. ~ Roger