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…..








Sunday, October 15, 2017

Perspective....

                Hello friends and thanks for checking in at the O’Grady Fly Fishing Adventures. I know it has been a while since I have sat down and pecked out my thoughts and this is the reason why. You may find it a little hard to believe but I consider myself a very positive person and I love to relay that in my writing. This fall has been very disappointing to me; my Huskers have become fodder for not only the best, but the mediocre college football teams as well. The NFL, the true epitome of capitalism, has become a bunch of unwatchable cry babies. It seemed every time I turned on the news, I was disgusted by how humans were acting in the world, and to top things off, one of the great musicians of my era passed away. My favorite escape is spending time on the water with my wife and my dog, and this fall’s fishing has been extra difficult for me. I like to pride myself by the amount of big fish that I land and it has been over a month since I have landed anything huge. With that kind of fall, I found it difficult to sit down and write.
                On Tuesday, the Drift hosted a corporate guide trip and we got to guide several clients that had never touched a fly rod. I was expecting a difficult day but I also remembered how awesome it was in the beginning of my fly fishing journey. The smell and sound of the water, the trees rustling in the wind and with every cast, the excitement that this just might be the drift. I could spend hours casting over and over and if just one fish ate my stuff, it was worth it. The guide trip consisted of manly men but every hook up brought a squeal that sounded like a nine year old on Christmas morning. The little fish were landed with glee and the break offs, brought a yelp, a quick what did I do and ended with laughter. We finished off the day with them all swapping stories in the parking lot and I realized that maybe I had been missing what Fly Fishing is all about.
                Cat, My American Girl, was stuck in the shop today so Pooh-dog and I were on our own for fishing. My main goal for the day was to keep in mind, what fishing can do for the soul. I got to the water at around 10:30 and the water was a milky green. As I stepped in, last night’s drubbing from OSU disappeared. I began to cast, and The Waiting Is the Hardest Part when my indicator shot up river. The fish took me around the rocks and I said “Don’t Do Me Like That” and after making an incredible line throw over the rock, the fish headed down river. I started chasing, being very careful not to be Free Falling, and after working him into the perfect landing spot, I could almost hear him say that He Won’t Back Down, and the hook pulled from his lip. I thought “You Got Lucky” and I started to laugh. The river felt like home again, Even the Losers Get Lucky Some time. I spent the next two hours hole jumping and landing several dinks. I didn’t squeal but every drift felt like this could be the one, and for three hours, my mind was at peace.

                It was sure great to have the river in a proper perspective today. Conditions were not great but a great time was had by all. If you are planning on making down to the Ark then there are a few things you need to be aware of. Just above Juniper Bridge, there has been some construction making the water muddy up at different times. Alex is trying real hard to get some type of communication going so that we have some sort of idea as to when we will be expecting the mud. They were not working this weekend and the water is green from turnover but not brown from construction. Keep checking with the shop and hopefully we will have a clue as to the clarity. Fish today were all taken on a beaded soft Hackle and a Whisker nymph. As Always, Connell, Cat, Winston, The Late Tom Petty, and the Drift Fly Shop want to thank you for reading…




Wednesday, September 13, 2017

There's No Place Like Home...

            Hello friends and thanks for checking in at the O’Grady Fly Fishing Adventures. Before I go into our latest adventure, I need to explain why we were so excited about this particular trip. Eight or nine years ago, Cat was asked to be part of a wedding in Nucla, Colorado. I did not get to go with her, and when she got back all she could talk about was the beauty of the river she passed on her drive. As Cat went on and on about the scenery, the bug life, and all the awesome people she had met, I began to wonder if she had accidently driven through the Emerald City from The Wizard of Oz. What she described sounded too good to be true, but she assured me that someday we would make it back and fish the river so I could see it for myself. Now a few years ago, by chance, I began following a guide out of Ridgeway and once a month or so he would post a pic of fish that were just enormous. Needless to say, I would drool and dream of one day fishing the area. With our Arkansas Tailwater having an off summer, Cat and I started thinking of places we could go and when we realized that our two fantasy rivers were so close to each other, there was no other option.
            We headed out Sunday morning and made it into the Ridgeway area early in the afternoon. There was a storm building out to the west, but we got a chance to look at the San Juans. I had seen them once before many years ago and had forgotten how breath taking they were. Now I’m a SOCO guy and I love the Sangre de Christos, and it may be blasphemy, but the San Juans absolutely blow the Christos away when it comes to scenic beauty.
As we pulled into Paco-Chu-Pak state park, the rain began to come down. We got ready and started fishing. The stretch felt a little manufactured but still had a fishy feeling. The first hour or so was a struggle with Cat catching a couple of dinks. We eventually found a hole and while working it, we began to see little fish eating. Now these little fish initially looked to be of the variety where you can throw anything and they eat it, but very quickly we learned that these fish were smarter than they appeared. We changed weight, depth, flies, drifts and finally, whatever I did, worked and I got a 12 incher to the net. We figured that we now had it all figured out and we were wrong. We went back to changing up and finally I caught the fish of the trip. Not a Paco trophy, but a stout 18inch brown. We started working our way back up and that’s when the excitement of the trip came. Cat spotted the only real monster we saw the whole trip(a thirty plus inch brown), and just as her second drift went passed the fish, a little rainbow grabbed her fly. Before she could scream noooooo, the big brown turned and ate her rainbow whole. Cat stood stunned and said what the heck and started to lift, the flies popped back at her, and the brown leisurely swam off, never to be seen again. We fished until dark but only caught a few dinks and a 17inch cutty. On our way to the hotel, we began to plot the next day’s tactics but quickly got lost in the beauty of our surroundings.
            Monday morning, we got back to Paco at around 9:30 and covered a lot of ground. We tried taking our time and looking for fish but all we could do was hook a few dinks. Lighting rolled in at around three so we took a break until around four. We started working our way up river and only hooked a few fish. As evening rolled in, Cat found a 18inch or so brown and after trying many different things, I hooked him but, after a fairly quick battle, he beat me like a drum.
            We were feeling a little dejected, so Tuesday we decided to go explore Cat’s “Emerald City” river. As we were driving toward the San Miguel, I was hoping it was as magical as she remembered. We got just a few miles from Ridgeway and looking to the south found it to be as picturesque as any place on the face of the earth. The river was just a quick thirty-minute drive and seeing Cat’s smile, it was indeed as pretty as she remembered. We jumped in and after the first ten minutes, I began to wonder if I had forgotten how to fish. Cat had landed three and started feeling sorry for me and then the groove hit. We started hooking fish on every other cast and the “ciggle”, could be heard through the whole valley. The lighting rolled in at around 2:00 and we decided to take a drive into Telluride. As we were just getting into town, I looked around and was thinking if I were a little younger this place would be awesome. We walked through town and found Telluride Anglers and were blown away by the friendliness of the shop. We try to go into every shop we ever go by, so that we can steer our customers into the best situations, and this shop gets the A++++++++++++ designation. So, if you are ever in the Southwest area, make sure you stop by Telluride Anglers. We headed back toward Ridgeway and decided to give Paco another try. Tuesday was the toughest, we saw a few fish in the same places they were the night before but we could not get them to eat anything. We got back to the hotel and while sitting in the pool we discussed why Paco was such a difficult place to fish. We have some theories but then the conversation shifted to our hope that our home river never changes. I know this has been a difficult summer for our Ark but after fishing so many other tail waters over the years, I am always reminded how great we have it. We were trying to decide what to do on Wednesday and we just missed our river too much.
            We got up this morning and after packing the car, Cat and I stood, hand in hand and admired the beauty of Cat’s Emerald City, but were also thinking about how much we missed home. We closed our eyes, clicked our heels three times and said, “there’s no place like home, there’s no place like home, there’s no place like home,” but when we opened our eyes, we looked at each other and said, “crap, we still have a long drive home.” So, what’s next for the O’Gradys, the fall looks pretty busy for guide trips and then we are heading to the Bahamas in search of the next Emerald City, or maybe the Fountain of Youth. As always, Connell, Cat, Winston, Dorothy & Toto, and the Drift Fly Shop want to thank you for reading……





















   

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Trout Lives Matter !!!!!

            Hello all and thanks for checking in at the O’Grady Fly Fishing Adventures. If you have been following my Facebook feed then you know that fishing on the Ark has really improved over the last few days. This morning I got to the water at around ten and just a few drifts in, my indicator shot up river. The fish made a couple of pretty strong runs and then I worked him just below me. He was a solid 18 or 19 inches and as I was lifting his head, my set up shot back at me. I knew there was no way that it was my fault(hehe) so I checked my rig and there was the problem, my hook was bent out.
               I can’t tell you how many times over the years I have had customers, in the shop ask me if the more expensive hooks are worth the extra cost. My normal answer is that size 18 and smaller, the Tiemco hooks are must but 16 and larger, you can go cheaper. After bending two separate size 16 hooks on fish today, I may have changed my mind. The flies I was using today were tied probably ten year ago and I won’t say what brand they were, but they weren’t Tiemco.
               I went on fishing today and landed several chunky, 12 to 14 inchers and at around noon, the river shut off. I fished for another 45 minutes or so and as you can guess, my mind began to wander. I began thinking about the cheap hooks and I realized that they could be advertised as the “Trout Lives Matter” hooks. Yep, all you have to do is fish a crappy hook and you may never have to worry about over working a big bow again. The big fish should be safe forever.

               Most of my smaller fish today were caught on the Whiskey nymph and the two biggest fish took the TLM Caddis. The flows were bumped just a little today but clarity was not bad. At one point, I was standing in mid-thigh water and I could make out structure on the bottom. I have openings for guide trips this weekend. As always, Connell, Cat, Winston, TLM, and The Drift Fly Shop want to thank you for reading…..



Wednesday, August 30, 2017

I Shall Not Lie....

              Hello all and thanks for checking in at the O’Grady Fly Fishing Adventures. If you are thinking it has been a while since I have posted anything, then you are absolutely correct. When I first started working with the Drift, I promised myself that I would never be one of those “get here the fishing is always awesome” people. Many years ago, I had contacted a fly shop and was told that conditions were awesome but when I got to the river, it was a mess. I love fishing too much to ever do that to anyone.
               Now on to the Ark conditions, the flows have been teasing us gauge watchers all summer. The river one day will seem to be on the way down and just about the time you get excited, it goes back up and clarity has not been pretty. Today the river was down to just over 700cfs and clarity was just a tad better than last week. Cat and I decided that even difficult fishing would be better than sitting on the couch. We got to the river around 9:30 and the day started pretty slow. After an hour or so of nothing, we hooked into a few smaller fish. We were hoping the river was beginning to turn on and the it went back into shut down mode. We continued to explore and I made my way into an old favorite run and first cast, I landed my fish of the summer. I muscled him in as quickly as I could, and was thrilled when I got him netted. He was just a tad under 22 and solid as an ox. We fished for a while longer and then decided to work back to the car.
               One of the things we noticed today was the amount food we saw that was available to the fish. There were broken crawdad shells everywhere and we saw lots of midges and caddis. The fish today were not easy but they were sure healthy. With the flows dropping, we were able to explore around and we noticed that with another extended runoff, we are seeing some changes in the river.

               People are always asking me in the shop when I think that the flows will drop and although it is just a guess, I am optimistic for the near future. I think with the amount of food in the water, is would behoove you to cover as much water as possible. The best way to do that right now would be by taking a float trip with Cody, four hours of hitting every good run on the river. As the river continues to drop and clear, I will continue to explore and get this year’s river figured out. September should see some really good fishing and I will start excepting walk/wade trips after Labor Day. Fish today were landed on Zipps Whisked Nymph and the Beaded Soft Hackle. I probably wouldn’t make the drive from Denver but if you are in the Springs or here in P-town, get out and give it a try. I also got to play with my new Sage Spectrum reel today and although I didn't get a lot of action, so far, so awesome. A full review later. As always, Connell, Cat, Winston and The Drift Fly Shop want to thank you for reading….