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….







Thursday, July 6, 2017

Taylor River 2017...the Evolution...

            Hello friends and thanks for checking in at the O’Grady Fly Fishing Adventures. As we were on our way home today from our annual Taylor vacation, I began to reminisce of the twenty plus years of this trip. The early years were my brother Hugh, Jimbo and myself and we were all throwing spinning rods and wearing our rubber “Michelin Man” waders. I was looking through pics a few months back and I saw one of me standing on a rock with my tennis shoes and my brand new purple inaugural Rockies shorts. Other pics from 1994 had my four and five-year-old sons fishing and playing in the river. Over the years my father, my mother, and several nephews and nieces have made the trip. It’s hard to put into words how the Taylor has imprinted itself on my family. It was around the year two thousand when I first began to get enamored with the C&R section of the Taylor. I remember staring at the fish and being completely amazed at their size. I would spend three days in the section without ever bumping a fish and while driving over the bridge to go home, I would throw a little despairingly sign language and say I’m never coming back again. And after reviving my spirits on the Ark, I would begin to plan how to do it differently next year. It is interesting how our view of the C&R section has changed over the years.
            After last year’s June back surgery canceling our trip, Cat and I were really chomping at the bit to get back on the Taylor. In addition, many of our shop friends have told us that the fish in the Trough are looking big again. This year’s trip had all the usual suspects: Cat, Jimbo, Brandon, Winston and Myself and in addition this year, Brandon’s wife Liz, Charlie and Abril all made the trip. This was Liz’s first extended time spent around the O’Grady family and we figured if she makes it through the week she is definitely a keeper. Congrats Liz, now you’re an O’Grady! Hehe Anyhow, Charlie and Abril made it up a few days early and when we saw him we asked how the fishing was and he said, “it’s the Taylor.” That was all that needed to be said. Monday afternoon, while walking the bank, Cat looked at me and asked where I thought all the “big fish” are. I’m not sure if it is my perception of the fish or if actually, the fish have changed, but I just don’t see the monsters of yesteryear/yore. What has changed is the way Cat and I view the water. Even if we’re not seeing the hogs, every fish poses its own challenges. Spending all day looking for the giants has changed to just looking for fish that are actually eating. One of the most difficult parts of fishing the Taylor is the amount of foul hookups we seem to get. This year I was trying something a little different to alleviate the foul hookups up by making really light hooksets. My landing rate was pretty lame but I had a lot less foul fish.                                                                                 The biggest fish landed this week was a rainbow that went just a tad over 21 inches and we really didn’t spot anything any bigger than that. The most enjoyable part of the trip was watching Brandon and Liz and Charlie and Abril fishing together. It was funny listening to Brandon talking to Liz and it seemed every time Brandon told Liz to be careful, she would slip and go down. On the third day, Liz landed her first Taylor River bow, now it wasn’t a monster but it was a Taylor Bow! The nightly campfire gab sessions will live in O’Grady infamy. Now even though it was awesome having Liz and Abril there, I don’t think Cat’s job security will be in jeopardy. On the Fourth afternoon, Cat and I decided to stay back and just fish the section across from camp. That part of the river is really moving so wading can be a little difficult. It is the perfect spot for the Sage MOD. We started by tossing a caddis and a dropper and my first take was a brown that barely made it across the width of my hand. The next take was a huge 9 incher. I started seeing a bunch of giant stoneflies so we switched to match, we got several hits but I don’t think any of the fish were big enough to get their mouths around the fly.
            Cat and I were planning on doing a video of the trip and even had some really great new music ready to go, but after getting home and looking through the footage, we just didn’t think it was up to our specs. Our most exciting clips ended up with lost fish shortly after. Every fish landed this year was earned but the fish just weren’t the fish of yore. Maybe it’s the Ark, Spinney, or Antero fish of recent but the Taylor trip was more about the company and less about the fish. We did include lots of pics below, enjoy! As always, Connell, Cat, Winston, Jimbo, Brandon & Liz, Charlie & Abril and the Drift Fly Shop want to thank you for reading….