Wednesday, January 10, 2018

The Ninja Midge


      Hello friends and thanks for checking in at the O’Grady Fly Fishing Adventures. I have had quite a few requests lately to post a “how to video” of the Ninja Midge. The Ninja was developed many years ago after a particularly frustrating evening on the river. Cat and I were fishing with a few friends and my usual flies were not working even though I saw swarms of little white fluff balls flying around. It was the first time I think I had ever felt like our fish were keying in on a certain bug. I looked through all my boxes and I didn’t have anything that looked like the swarming bugs. When we got home that evening, Cat showed me some pictures of what an emerging midge looked like and then I sat down at the vice and tried make something close. After 24 dreadful hours of anticipation I headed back to the river and the little white fluff balls were out in force. I pulled one of my new inventions out and as I was tying it on, it slipped and fell in the river. I quickly picked it up but could not find the eye….then I realized that I picked up a real one. Nailed it !!!!!

     The Fly has been tweaked several times over the years but is still my go to fly every time I see midges. As I was posting the video I noticed a few peacock fibers hanging out and that was not by choice and were trimmed out. The fly will be great in sizes 22 and 24 between now and March and going into late spring I fish it in 18 and 20’s. We have all you need at the Drift for your tying needs. As always, Connell, Cat, Winston, the Ninja Midge and the Drift Fly Shop want to thank you for reading…..

Thursday, January 4, 2018


            Hello friends and thanks for checking in at the O’Grady Fly Fishing Adventures. Like most of you, the last few weeks have been so busy that I haven’t found much time to fish. Cat and I were sitting around the other night and she reminded me that the last time we had fished together that she out fished me, so I was itching to restore the order. Cat had to work today so I was on my own, I guess I needed the practice.
            Walking to the river today I started thinking about how awesome it has been to be part of this addiction for so many years. Over the years, Cat and I have met so many awesome people that if it wasn’t for fly fishing, our paths most likely would have never crossed. We have friended people that are worth more money than I could ever imagine, we have rekindled high school friendships, and last year we even met the Speaker of the House, after his wife noticed our Fishpond rod case. But even with all of the really important people that we have met, nothing quite compares to the personal friendships we have made over the years in the shop.
            When Cat first began working in the shop twelve years ago, one of the first people Cat met was an older gentleman named Ed. Ed would come by the shop once or twice a week and loved to tie. He was so proud of his flies and almost every time in the shop, he would give us a choice of what we wanted. He had gotten into parasol dries a few years ago and the look on his face after Cat caught a fish on one he tied was absolutely priceless. He got into wine making a few years back and I was a little worried that he was turning Cat into an alcoholic, but luckily, he switched to brewing beer. We tried getting Ed on the river a few years back but a storm and then a water increase foiled the plan. Ed’s health deteriorated over the last few years but his quick wit and caring heart never wavered. Ed and his wife Barb are probably people that we would have never met if it wasn’t for fly fishing and I am so glad to have spent time with the two of them. Ed left this world on Monday and will spend an eternity in heaven and even though I know he is in a better place, I will miss Ed. I am so lucky to have met and friended so many awesome people.
            Now I have to talk a little about fishing. I got to the river just a little before 11:00 and the fish seemed hungry. I got into one run and a few casts in I hooked a fish that had some serious weight. It was a quick battle and the fish won. I looked at my rig and the unthinkable happened, yep me a professional guide tied a poor knot and I was looking at a curly-que. I re-tied and started catching fish. I landed several smaller fish and a then a few over seventeen inches. I moved up river but had a hard time finding fish again. Just after two, the smaller fish began drilling the surface. I put on a small BWO and trailed a size 24 Ninja and had an absolute blast. Lots of fish on both the dry and the dropper and as the hatch slowed, I put the nymph rig back on and landed another seventeen incher to finish off the day. As I was walking back to the car, I was thinking that if Cat really wanted to fish, she could have quit her job, so I’m going with the I out fished her today. hehe

            Fish really seemed to be schooled up today and when I found them, they would eat. Many of the fish were in slower water today so I went to the New Zealand Strike indicator and it really made a difference. The bigger fish today all took a size 22 FOD or a size 22 New Moon and the smaller fish were eating a smaller Bling. The fly fishing show will be going on this weekend so this might be a great time to hit the river. Stop by the shop and pick up the New Moon and some FOD’s and enjoy the nice weather. As always, Connell, Cat, Winston, Ed, and The Drift Fly Shop want to thank you for reading…

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Laying Tracks.....

           Hello friends and thanks for checking in at the O’Grady Fly Fishing Adventures. I wasn’t planning on fishing today but when I was walking the dogs and saw the snow and the clouds, my mind was changed. Pooh-dog could sense it as well and telepathically told me that he was not quite ready but if I were to give him a half a dozen or so pot biscuits, he would give his knees a try. No matter how much I love fishing with the pups, I just can’t be part that game. Yep, today was a solo day.
            With the snow and clouds, I expected to have the river to myself. Driving by Valco I was a little surprised by the number of vehicles. I got ready and walked down to one of my favorite runs but someone was already there. I was worried that it could be difficult to find quality water but the next run was open. I landed a couple of the 12 inchers and then moved down river. The next run I landed a half a dozen of the same sized fish so I kept moving down. There were lots of other anglers out but I felt a little like Moses today, every time I neared a run, it just opened up. My third run is where most of the excitement came. I landed an 18 incher a few casts in and then it felt like every six casts, I would hook another. I hooked one really big male and after his third time going air born, I felt the dreaded Ker-chunk, and the fly buried in his tail. I gasped and then luckily, it popped out.                                                
            As I made my way down river, it seemed every run produced fish. The majority of the 11 to 13 inchers I landed today I would guess had to be naturals. Even at those sizes, they had a beautiful red stripe and many of them had orange fins. I got into one run and first drift through, my indicator shot up river. I set and immediately felt that it was a toad but he popped off pretty quickly. I casted again and not sure if was the same fish, but what a beauty, a big, fat, red striped 20 incher, my fish of the day. I continued down river and finally, I got to a run that was occupied, my friend Sam was beating up those fish. I went a little further and as the hatch began to ebb; I realized I was at least a mile and a half from my car I started working back up. Every stop seemed to produce a fish or two and at 2:45, the river just shut off. By the time I got back to the car I was hungry and exhausted. Tomorrow might be a great day to weigh in.

            Conditions right now are not easy but there are some great fish to be had. I wanted to throw out a few little tips for this time of the year. I spend a lot of time watching clients and other anglers and one of the biggest problems I see, is people wasting a run with a nonchalant drift. When the fish are gorging, very often, if your first drift is perfect, the fish will eat. Today, many times it would be the fifth or sixth, drift that would get the take. And keep in mind, one poor drift can spook the whole run. Also, keep moving, the whole river is great. A few weeks ago, while making my way through the river, I saw a guy that fished the same run for over five hours. This weekend will be the start of the busy season on the river. I have been informed that the CPW has heavily stocked the river at Juniper Bridge and also Valco bridge. If you have a kid or anyone that just needs to find out what it is like to catch a fish on a fly rod, get to those spots. Catch some and then move on so someone else can enjoy, heck it is the giving season. Most of the fish today were taken on a size 22 FOD and a size 24 Bling. As always, Connell, Cat, Winston, Moses and the Drift Fly Shop want to thank you for reading…..

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Throw Them Bones

          Hello friends and thanks for checking in at the O’Grady Fly Fishing Adventures. As many of our readers know, Cat and I had our 13th anniversary last week and we decided to celebrate it by the two of us getting away to a secluded island and figuring out how to catch its fish. This was our first time out of the country and even though we were a little or even a lot scared and totally out of our comfort zone, we were going to get some learning. Usually when writing about our trips, I give some type of play-by-play but this blog I wanted to write differently. The video shows a lot of the fun, but this blog will be about some of what we learned. Some of our learning will be explained, some you may have to use your imagination…or come by the shop.
          First and foremost, we were reminded that bone-fishing is not easy. After having such a difficult time hunting bones in Hawaii last year, we were hoping to find “San Isabel” type bones in the Bahamas. We have heard about people catching 20 or 30 bones a day and that is what we expected. What we found was that these fish were almost equally as feisty. I’m going to throw out a quick excuse, we battled clouds, and huge tide swings all week and that didn’t help. The fish themselves, out in the Cay’s, would school up and the most difficult part was finding them on the enormous flats, luckily our guides were really good at that.  In the connected flats, the fish seemed to pair up and if you could find them, the cast needed to land softly a perfect three feet in front of them. On day three, I found out the hard way that a good cast was more important than a quick one. Yep, the only fish I saw that day was thirty feet and coming right at me… and me, a professional fly fishing guide, panicked, dropped my back cast, and left the cast woefully short. I promised myself that no matter how excited I get, I will NOT put another poor cast on a fish.
          Next, we found out what an incredible rod can do. I fished the 7wt Sage Salt HD all week and after the previously mentioned error, the rod worked flawlessly. What a treat. Also, we learned that it doesn’t matter how awesome your 8 wt X is, don’t lift a bone out of the water with the rod…nuff said.
          Next what we learned will be in several parts. There are a lot of sharks in the Bahamas and although they seem pretty harmless, they can still make you need a change of shorts. We saw probably thirty or so swim past us and you could just slap the water and they would move away, but one day, Cat and I were walking a flat about twenty feet apart and Cat was about mid thigh deep. The sun all of a sudden appeared. I looked up and a four or five-footer was about thirty feet out and coming right between us. I asked her if she saw it and just as she said yes, the sun dipped behind the clouds and he disappeared. A little panic set in, and after a minute of neither of us getting eaten, we walked the rest of that flat in ankle deep water. Not all of our shorts made it home with us….nuff said.
We also found out that between a shark and a barracuda of similar size, the cuda is a Bad Dude. Cat had a throw down between a 40 inch cuda and about the same sized shark about ten feet in front of her and the shark made a swim for the border. Also, I think the Barracudas understand that the guides we hired know where the fish are. Several times we had big cudas circling us and when the guide would go back to get his boat, the cuda followed him, and no, I did not mind.
And lastly, how in Gods holy name did the Crocodile Hunter die from a stingray? They are the calmest and most polite creatures in the ocean. I can’t tell you how many times one would swim up to us, lift an eyebrow, flutter his front side and then gently mosey off.
          Now I want to get a little away from the fishing and gab a little about our learning from the island. On this trip we found out what conch is, and in addition we found out how delicious it is. Conch salad and fritters are absolutely delicious. We heard that at the place we liked the most you could watch the owner remove the conch from its shell, pull out the eyeballs and then watch him tenderize and chop it up and put it in your salad. No thanks; I also don’t spend time at the stockyards watching my next steak come to life…yeah poor choice of words. We also had our first lobster burger and it was the best one we have ever had, who would have thought you could make a burger out of lobster.
          The next section will be a bit of a hodgepodge. First, we learned that no matter how many pics you take, the actual colors of the water don’t show accurate; we wish we could take the real colors and implant them in your minds. Secondly, NoSeeUms suck. Our first evening we were fishing from the bank and we knew something was chewing on us. When we could stand it no longer, we called it a day and headed back to the car. I wore out my fingernails and Cat woke up looking like she had the chickenpox. We also learned what Diet Coke from 2006 tastes like today. I think they saw us coming…nuff said. We found a quaint little deli and the special of the day was the “Holliday Club.” I was intrigued so I asked the gal what was a Holliday Club? She looked a little annoyed and grumpily answered, “it’s a club, you know….turkey and ham.”  I must have gotten the extra special one because mine had bacon as well. I also learned that driving on the left side of the road was a lot easier than using the correct turn signal. I can’t tell you how many times I went to turn and turned on the windshield wipers. I guess now I know why I never saw another car use a turn signal the eight days we were there.

          Now this last section is going to get a little mushy. I learned, oh who am I kidding, I have always known, that even when fishing conditions are difficult, there is no one of the face of the Earth that I would rather spend eight days struggling with than my wife. Thanks for thirteen incredible years. And lastly, on a difficult trip, one day can make a difference. We loved fishing with our incredible guides Elvis and Dwayne Knowles but we really wanted to catch a few fish on our own. On our last day on the island, the conditions were almost in our favor. The tide change was a little later than we had hoped, but the sun actually shined all day. We had picked the prettiest place on the island because we wanted to leave with a beautiful picture in our minds. We hunted like every other day and all the weeks learning paid off, we got three of the nicest fish of the week. The beauty of the area was a little humbling and the sense of accomplishment was incredible. Not that the whole week wasn’t great, but the one day made the difference. As always, Connell, Cat, Winston, Christopher Columbus and the Drift Fly Shop want to thank you for reading…..And please enjoy our video posted below.

Click It To See It...

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Ode To JD !!!!

            Hello friends and thanks for checking in at the O’Grady Fly Fishing Adventures. When your favorite college football team is sitting at 4 up and 6 down and the team just got routed by Golden Gophers then you probably don’t have a lot to be positive about. As a Husker fan, I can’t say enough about one of the smallest and toughest guys on the team, J.D. Spielman. I remember when J.D. first committed to the Huskers and all I heard was how underrated he was and that he should be a 4 star recruit. During his first practice season he was the talk of camp and his name kept coming up as the freshman to keep an eye on. Well an injury squashed his first year and he ended up red shirting and before this season his name was in the spotlight again. It didn’t take long for fans to see that he was special, his first touch against the “mighty” Arkansas State, went 99 nine yards for a touchdown. The games that I got a chance to watch he was clearly the best player wearing red. He blocks, he makes both the tough and the easy catch and is definitely the bright spot of the Huskers. Now there are some other fun to watch players, not saying any names but number 15 and 8, they seem to make a great play but then follow it up with a dropped TD catch. I have heard that one of his nick names is mighty mouse and I can see how that fits so well.
            I got a chance to fish today and on the way to the river I began thinking about this blog, I was planning to talk about the WKRP Thanksgiving episode but after fishing my first run, JD was on my mind. I covered a lot of water today but on my first drift and in the spirit of JD, my indicator shot up river. He was quick and powerful and spit the hook almost immediately. I fished that run for twenty minutes and hooked probably a dozen fish, none were big but they sure were fun to play. I moved up and it seemed that every riffle had a take or two. As a professional fly fishing guide, I like to think that I should be able to land all of the smaller fish but I had my tail handed to me more than my share today the JD sized fish were the best players in the river today. I made my way into a really technical run and landed an 18-inch bow, and shortly after a 20inch Brownie. I hooked another big fish but was handed a beat down. I headed back down and continued to catch the smaller fish all afternoon, I got into one run and after playing with several JD sized fish, I hooked one that felt very different. He tried taking me back into the rocks but even as flashy and awesome as he should be(maybe like numbers 15 or 8) I worked him to the net and it was another beautiful 20 inch Brown. I continued to hook the smaller fish all the way back to the car and it sure was an awesome day, JD all day long.
            The flows dropped yesterday but that was my day to mind the shop so today was the day to check it out. The smaller fish were eating all day but the toads way more techie. A lot of the smaller fish were caught on an egg and the bigger fish were taken on a purple Juju Baetis and a Fod. If you don’t mind the wind, I have an opening for tomorrow but you will need to call me on my cell phone. 719-568-4927 . Next week will be very crowded on the tailwater so my hope is that we can keep a courteous river. Please fish a run and move on. As always, Connell, Cat, Winston, JD Spielman and the Drift Fly Shop want to thank you for reading and always remember to “Throw The Bones” !!!!

***There are several pics of the big browns and bow and also a few of the JD fish.

First Brown

Second Brown

The Bow and a few of the JD's

Monday, November 6, 2017

Good Times...

            Hello friends and thanks for checking in at the O’Grady Fly Fishing Adventures. Now that we are nearing the end of 2017 I wanted to share some good news for the year. As our readers know, this has been a very trying year for the O’Grady household. Now sure, there were plenty of good times but it was one of those years where every time I turned around, life felt like it was giving me a swift kick to the jewels. Now several months back while I was throwing the ball to Winston he dropped and had a hard time putting any weight on his front legs. He would rest for a few days and just as I thought he was fine, he would go back to a severe limp. Now in most cases, a limp for a dog is not a bad thing but for my first Golden, he began to limp and we found out it was bone cancer and the fear of cancer seemed like an appropriate end to the year. Over the last month I noticed that he had made a turn for the worse and he even lost interest when he watched me put my fishing gear in my car. I wanted to take him to the vet but was too afraid of what it might be. I finally made it to the vet last Friday and after a thorough exam and x-rays, it is only arthritis. I can’t tell you how relieved I was to hear, arthritis can be managed, heck from a personal level I know that.
                Winston will be put on a monthly anti-inflammatory injection along with a Hemp and glucosamine supplement and should be back on the river in no time. Now I will have to say with the Hemp oil, next time you see him he may be wearing a flat brimmed hat and barking out, “Sup Brah”.
                Now that I knew Winston was okay, I made a trip to the river. The first hour was quite a struggle but when the Bwos began to hatch, the river began to turn on. I landed a few 15inchers and hooked a few smaller fish and then as I was walking up, I saw a bright red stripe come out of the water and looked as if he took a fly that was still in the air. 
           I hurried over and began to drift my flies where he was and after several drifts, the indicator shot up river. I set the hook and the fish freight trained across the river, I was a little confused because the air born fish only looked to be about 16 or 17 but this was a tank. He worked himself into a lower pool and I got a few looks at him as he would surface. I know he was over 20 and just a complete fatty because every head shake I could feel up my arm. I had him in the perfect place and as I was going in for the win, he had a huge head shake and he popped loose.
          In the old days, a rather colorful expletive may have echoed through the valley, Steve could attest to that, but today I just had to laugh. Now I’m sure the fish is telling his friends how he kicked Connell’s tail, but to my friends, I’m calling it a draw.
                I jumped back into the run and hooked a few more fish and got a chunky 18" to the net. The hatch was a little short lived today but it was fun while it lasted. The bigger fish of the day were landed on a Grey Darth Baetis and the smaller fish were keying in on purple.

                The 15th is just around the corner and when the flows drop, the crowds will follow. We have another 9 days of a rather quiet river so if you are thinking of getting in a quiet guide trip, now is the time. Tomorrow is calling for rain and snow and might be incredible. If interested call me on my cell, 719-568-4927 or call the shop. As always, Connell, Cat, Winston Cheech Marin and the Drift Fly Shop want to thank you for reading…….

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Reason Number 38....

           Hello friends and thanks for checking in at the O’Grady Fly Fishing Adventures. There must be thousands of reasons to hire a professional fly fishing guide and if there was a list, then reason number 38 would state: Professional fly fishing guides spend lots of time on the river and know, and even in murky conditions, where to and where not to walk. Today I learned a new place not to walk.(hehe) With that being said, what a great day on the river.

I got to the river at around 11:00 and fish were eating, first two takes ended up straightening the hook but the rest of the day almost every run had fish munching on the A&W. The construction below the damn had plenty of debris and a little mud but the fish didn’t seem to mind. I don’t think the construction is going on during the weekend so if you get a chance, get here Saturday and Sunday. I was going to be sitting down tonight and tomorrow and tying up a limited number of A&W’s and will have them in the shop. The fly should be awesome until the next serious cold snap. As always Connell, Cat, Winston and the Drift Fly Shop want to thank you for reading…..