Re: How important is rod length?
I always prefer longer. Cast farther, easier to mend. If you fish real big water you may even want to consider a spey rod. I started spey casting with a 15' Meiser. I can cast way farther than I can with a single hand rod and I need almost no space behind me. If you like the 9' rod you have now, an extra 6" or a foot are not going to be that mch improvement on distance. The spey rod will be. I noticed you are in MN, me too.