Thursday, April 27, 2017

I Saw It......

                Hello all and thanks for checking in at the O’Grady Fly Fishing Adventures. I’m not a big fan of commercials when it comes to watching TV, but one of the more amusing ones is the ad where two women are looking at a couch and one holds up a credit card and says, "I saw it and I just had to have it." The scene next switches to a couple of burglars and one is holding a crowbar and says, "I saw it and I just had to have it." I’m not sure if it was pure genius or complete idiocy, but while I stood in the river today, the commercial kept going through my head and I was busting my brain trying to remember what credit card the commercial was for. That’s when it hit me, it wasn’t a credit card but actually an insurance company. Well since I was thinking about it in the river today than it may be genius, but since I don’t remember who they were advertising, well you get the picture. If you are regular reader than you know that my introduction almost always has a story to go with them.
                I had a newlywed couple out on the river yesterday and as we were nearing the end of the day, Jerod hooked a fish and as it came out of the water, even I got nervous. Definitely over twenty, I could see the big hook jaw and the bright red side. Jerod perfectly worked it across the river and just as I was pulling the net, I heard a gasp, followed by a few Shucky Darns and then it just went quiet. There must have been a nick in the line because the line broke half way between the two flies. Well after we all had calmed down and got a pretty good laugh, I started thinking about that fish. I could see myself standing next to the river, holding up my X Fly Rod, and saying, "I saw it and I just had to have it." 
                With that in mind, I knew I was heading to the river today. I fished my way to “the spot” and while walking the shore I just happened to catch a glimpse of something really big cruising the bank. I could see right away that he was the biggest fish I have seen in several years here in town. Now he was a far cry from Red October of yore, but I would have guessed him to be in the twenty five to twenty six inch range. I tried to sneak in below him but he disappeared after my initial move. I headed to yesterdays battlefield and landed a few but nothing like yesterdays foe and nothing anything like this mornings. I couldn’t get that fish out of my head, I just had to have it, and so I headed back up river. I fished his spot for half an hour but never saw him again. I had one take that headed straight down river and when I saw my backing flying out of my reel I thought maybe this is the one. It was the first time on this tailwater that my backing had ever seen the light of day, but when the fish was landed she was only a hair over nineteen, her power came from her girth because she was built like a Delaney fish. I fished the rest of the afternoon and every rock cluster seemed to produce two fish, but I just couldn’t shake the thought of the monster fish.
                Shortly after this blog goes public this evening, page hits will go over the one hundred thousand mark. I’m not sure if I should be completely humbled or terrified by the thought of the number of crazies taking time to read these. It sure has been an enjoyable ride and I hope I can keep the entertainment rolling for years to come. As for the conditions on the river, as you all know, spring is my absolute favorite time of the year and this year has lived up to and even exceeded expectations. Fishing has not been easy, but it has been great. A good cast, a great drift and a little luck on the battle has been the key for great fishing days. The spring season is nearing its end so if you aren’t having the kind of success that you want, then get a trip booked now, this is by far the best time of year to get it all figured out.
               I don’t ever remember seeing so much moss in the river this early in the year, but even though it hurts the sight fishing a little, it hasn't dampened the fish appetite at all. Fish have been eating FOD’s and Black Tube Wing Midges and Ninjas. Even as I am writing this post, my mind keeps wandering to the shadow I watched today, I saw it and I just had to have it. If any of you see my wife tell her hello for me, I will be at the river until either I or one of my clients catches that fish. As always, Connell, Cat, Winston, State Farm, and The Drift Fly Shop want to thank you for reading…….

Saturday, April 15, 2017

A Positive Reflection....

                Hello all and thanks for checking in at the O’Grady Fly Fishing Adventures. If you are tuning into this blog looking for my typical hodge-podge of goofy humor, or for my incredible fishing genius, then I’m afraid I need to tell you to stop reading now. I remember when I was in grade school and I heard the By, By, Miss America Pie song and I had a music teacher that began to cry when they sang “the day the music died”. She explained to us that it was a song about the death of Buddy Holly and that she would never listen to music in the same way. I guess I had never really understood how anything could be so powerful and today it all made sense.
                I have had so much fun writing these blogs over the years and hearing people’s reactions but I think this edition will be written just for me. My wife has often told me how much my humor comes from my father and I just smile and thank her because even if others don’t laugh, in my own mind, I am hilarious. Now my father was far from perfect, he came from a different generation, but to me he was awesome. From September until January I always knew that our conversations would be about how awful the Huskers were, about our up and down golf games, the weather, and then he would always finish by asking how Cat was getting along and if I was keeping her in line. Soon after the bowl games, the conversations were all about the nasty cold weather, that he tried to play golf but the greens were frozen, and then he would finish the conversation by asking about Cat, and if I was keeping her in line. Late spring and summer the conversations were about how poor he thought the Huskers would be next year, and then he would tell me about the one week that he broke 80 three times and that now his game was back in the crapper and then he would finish off by asking how Cat was and if I was keeping her in line. My dad very rarely told real jokes but he was king of the one liners. When we would go back to Omaha we spent a lot of time playing pool or golf and my dad’s favorite saying was that there was no shame in being beaten by the best, with a little O’Grady smirk. Several years back, I took him down to the tail water and somehow he managed to land a 21 inch brown. He was so excited but as things sunk in and his picture made it on to the shops wall of fame, he had to ask Cat every time he saw her if she had caught one as big as his yet. Now that was my dad’s usual behavior but I will say this, when I went through one of the most difficult times of my life, my dad began calling and checking on me all the time, and in his typical O’Grady humor he asked if he could send someone to get the problem in line.
                I am writing about my father because he left this world on Thursday, April 15th and I hope that I can somehow keep the O’Grady, stupid humor tradition going. I know the song talked about the day the music died, but right now I feel like a part of the humor has left. On Friday I had Joe, a repeat client on the water and after he landed a fish, and while still fighting while I was trying to remove the hook, Joe remarked that the fish didn’t like being caught. Without hesitation, I told him that the fish should have no shame in being beaten by the best, I then had to walk away to wipe the tears. It was a start and I hope I can somehow be a positive reflection of my dad. I am happy to say that I have absolutely no regrets now that he is gone, we talked at least once a week and we had the bonus talks after every new Husker recruit, and every time Cat and I left Omaha, our last stop would be with Dad and Dee to tell them how much we love them.

                Tomorrow is Easter and a great time to spend with the people you love. Because of Easter, I am sure that my father will spend an eternity in heaven thinking of new one liners for when we meet again. I will be out of town this week but back next weekend and hopefully we can finish off spring with some great fishing. As always, Connell, Cat, Winston, Hugh Arther O’Grady and the Drift Fly Shop want to thank you for reading….

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Yep, It's That Time Of the Year...

              Hello friends and thanks for checking in at The O’Grady Fly Fishing Adventures. I’m guessing that my neighbors think that I am 100% bat-sh** crazy after listening to me sing this morning. I stepped out on my back porch just as the sun was breaking through the clouds and I saw the trees blossoming and turning green, two turtle doves were snuggling up to each other and you could almost see the grass coming up. Now I know that as a human being I should wait until December to sing “it’s the most wonderful time of the year”, but as a fly fisherman, I had a pretty good idea what was about to transpire for the day, and those magical lyrics echoed through my mind all afternoon.
                I had a repeat client today and we got to the river at around 11:00. We worked on a few techniques and then the river just came alive. Feeding lanes had fish going crazy and it seemed like every good cast and drift got a take. Now I would love to say that every take was a success but then I would be another one of those truth bending guides. We started measuring every fish and at one time, Glen looked at me and said that he now realizes that his San Juan guide is either a great embellisher or the measuring sticks in NM are a little different. Fish gorged on FOD’s and grey emergers for a few hours and then they moved back into the rock structures. Glen did enter the 20 inch club with one male that just tipped the 20mark.
                Water temps coming out of the dam are just a little over 45degrees and on most days the water will warm a little and get the BWO’s going. It appears that the spawn is reaching its end; we only saw two fish paired up, I guess they wanted one last ride and I don’t blame them. So to sum up what is going in the world of fly fishing, we have to go back to the Christmas song “it’s the most wonderful time of the year”. Spinney opened yesterday and I have already seen some incredible pics from up there. The Ark ought to be fantastic from now until run-off, usually around Memorial Day and then I guessing we will be seeing another prolonged run-off. There is a lot of snow up in them there hills and when the heat rolls in, so will the water. The Drift has run a Spinney special the last few years and it will run from now until July 1st. If you have seen our videos then you have seen how awesome lake fishing can be. We know that it can be intimidating so with the purchase of any Sage Accel rod or Outcast/Fishcat PONTOON boat, you will get a free sit down with Cat or I and we will go over safety, accessories, rigging, and how to hunt a lake and hopefully get you started with confidence.

                Now if you have been considering taking a guide trip with me, now is the time to call. This week only has one spot left on Friday but next week is fairly open, come see what this river has to offer. As always, Connell, Cat, Winston, Bing Crosby and the Drift Fly Shop want to thank you for reading……

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Stage Four Plus...

               Hello friends and thanks for checking in at the O’Grady Fly Fishing Adventures. As I was driving to the river this morning I couldn’t help feeling giddy for the day to come, and how after eighteen years of fly fishing, I am still completely elated with the sport. When Cat first started working at the fly shop, our river was for the most part a “put and take” river, and so most of our fishing was on the upper Ark and smaller creeks. We made yearly trips to the Taylor’s Hog Trough but the fish were usually better than us, but we kept trying. One year, all of our reading and listening finally took hold and we began to catch large fish on the Taylor. We were so excited and every big fish landed grew our obsession for bigger and more. I remember talking to some fly fishing old-timers and they explained to me that there were four stages of fly fishing. I was intrigued so I listened; the first stage was simply just catching a fish on a fly. The second stage was to catch huge numbers of fish and the third stage was the big fish stage. The final stage was not caring about anything but just enjoying being on the water with a fly rod, a type of fly fishing Nirvana.
               Cat and I have talked about these stages over the years and this blog will be all about a made-up stage that we will call Four Plus, which is the sight fishing phase. Our sight fishing stage began several years ago when we just happened to meet up with a friend on the Dream Stream. I felt I was pretty good at catching big fish in holes and that day I started by landing few really nice cuttys and then I got to watch Anthony(Ants) just take over. As the sun got higher he continued to put the river to shame. Finally, I went up next to Ants and asked what the heck he was doing. He began pointing out the fish and I was lost, I could not see what he was seeing. He had me move down and as I was waiting he said there were several coming right at me. Once again, I saw nothing. He told me to cast and shortly after my rig began to drift, my indictor shot up river. The battle was fun and I landed a twenty-two-inch bow. I was excited but the feeling that I couldn’t shake was that my fly fishing arsenal was seriously lacking. When we got home the next day I bought a new pair of sunglasses and I began going to the river almost every afternoon for an hour or so looking for fish. At first the only fish I could see were from above but as the days became weeks and then months, I began to see fish everywhere. A whole new world, or four plus stage was born in me and I began to find the other stages a little boring. We still have fun hitting the lakes and we even still hit a few of the smaller creeks but nothing compares to stalking a fish and beating them head to head…
               With the river coming up last week the phone has been ringing off the hook with people wanting to know how it has affected the fishing. This has been a really difficult question to answer because to me the fishing is incredible and the most amazing it will be all year. However, after hearing quite a few frustrated anglers on the river and in the shop, it may be a little more difficult for many anglers. With the extra water the fish have more room to move, people fishing their normal spots are still somewhat successful and happy, but nothing like the faces we see of anglers that have learned how to sight fish. I got to spend today on the river with a friend that is usually pretty successful but today we were trying to open a new stage for him. We got to the river just after 10:00 and seeing the bump in the river and the high clouds, I knew that would put a damper on the sight fishing. We hooked a few right off the bat and then we started scouring the river for feeders. Fish were a little scarce and then I found what we were looking for, I found a pair of fish tucked away and eating in a corner. Mike came over and after setting up a plan he took the shot. I was watching one of the fish when Mike lifted and said he had one, I was looking at the wrong fish and then he shot across and under a tree. Some people would be upset with the five second breakoff but to me it was the fish of the day. We moved around and Mike landed a few more. The sun broke out for a little while and I was able to sight out and land a few and then we fished our way out. It wasn’t the killer day we were looking for but just watching the one fish eat was pretty cool.

               So, to finish off this blog I want to plug my abilities as a fly fishing guide. Over the weekend, Cat and I have spent a lot of time talking and selling flies to people wanting to catch fish on our river. We have sold FOD’s, Ninjas, True Bloods, Tube Wings and basically everything I have caught fish on over the last few weeks and we have had a little bit of everything coming back in the shop. We have seen people catch their first big fish ever, we have seen people that have had their best day ever and unfortunately, we have had people in saying that the flies we sold them didn’t work. I have warned people that fishing at times right now can be technical and the fish don’t get that big by being stupid but I feel they think we are holding out on them. My push now is if you are not a proficient sight fisher, look for a sunny day, higher me for a day and come learn the most incredible way of catching fish. I spent months learning to see fish and years learning how to use those abilities together. Guided trips right now will be working on finding the fish and then how to feed them properly. We can only help so much in the shop, but it kills us when people think we are holding out on them. With the amount of snow in the high country and the lack of moisture down here, we have no idea how long these conditions will remain awesome. Call the shop or call me and get your trip booked now. Just be aware, you may be stuck in the four plus stage for eternity.  Shop 719-543-3900  Cell 719-568-4927.Pics are from today. As always, Connell, Cat, Winston, Ants and the Drift Fly Shop want to thank you for reading……..

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Arghh Matey....

   Hello friends and thanks for checking in at the O’Grady Fly Fishing Adventures. I think the best way to share todays fishing shenanigans would be to take a step back in time to our early years of fishing. Prior to our river becoming so awesome, Cat and I used to spend a lot of time fishing the mid to high mountain lakes with various success. I remember one such time when Cat and I had been fishing San Isabel and it was a very difficult day. I had landed a few and Cat after a few hours landed her first fish of the day and after removing the hook and taking a second look, Cat says “unbelievable, I finally catch a fish and he only has one eye.” Now being the all-loving and comforting husband that I am, I asked her which side of the mouth the hook was in, was he hooked on the side with or without the eye. hehe

            Cat was stuck in the shop today and I really wasn’t sure what I was going to do and then I got a call from half of our Taylor crew. Charlie and Brandon were on their way to the river, so Winston and I headed out to meet up. I jumped into a run right away and hooked and lost a fish on the second drift. Next cast went bingo and the indicator shot up river. After seeing the bright red stripe of the fish, I gave him an extra few extra runs and he sure was worth it. He was just a hair under 20 and if he were an e-bay listing, his color and shoulders would be listed as *mint*. I then slowly worked my way up to the boys catching a few smaller fish on the way. I got above Charlie and hooked but lost a stud and then landed a 15 incher. I looked down and saw Charlie was fighting a fish and after netting it I could see him and Brandon talking. Their expression was a little odd and I couldn’t figure out what was up and then I went on fishing. Brandon came up by me and jumped into the run I was working and he landed a beauty right out in front of me. We snapped a few pics and I asked him how big Charlies fish was and he started to laugh, he then went on to say it only had one eye. I couldn’t help myself so while walking past Charlie and in my best pirate voice I said “Arghh matey, have you seen my eye patch? I was looking for my rum and your hook hit me in the mouth.”

Well we started working our way down river and I jumped into a deeper run that I had busted on earlier. I could see a couple of bows working but my flies went right past them. I was getting ready to recast and my indicator shot down. The fight was really strange where it felt like dead heavy weight and I didn’t even have a guess as to what it was. When I eventually netted him, I was really surprised, he was 21inch walleye. I headed down to the run I started in and hooked another absolutely gorgeous 20 incher, and after checking the pics, it was the same fish from the morning. Well on the way out, One-eyed-Charlie got the last laugh; we hit one last run and we could see several fish working. He took several casts and then hooked and landed a beautiful 18 incher. I hooked another cherry bomb right after that but his second run into the rocks snapped my line. I expected a little jab from Charlie, but in his calm confident way he just said better luck next time. What a day!

            As far as we know right now, there will be a water call tomorrow morning and the river will increase by 180-190 cfs. The 15th is Wednesday and were not exactly sure what is going to happen, but I certainly don’t see the river blowing up. The spawn should last for another week or so, so if you are out please be careful and allow the fish to make more. There are lots of fishing eating and the BWO’s are a few short weeks away. Fish today were on eggs, FOD’s and the walleye took a j-bomb. I forgot my camera today so pics were all taken from my Iphone, sorry about the framing. Sight fishing right now is off the hook so now is the perfect time to book a trip, come and learn the awesomest way to attack this river. As always Connell, Cat, Winston, Brandon, Charmander and the Drift Fly shop want to thank you for reading….

                                         Four hours later.


Thursday, March 9, 2017

Halleluiah, There Is Water In The River !!!

                Hello all and thanks for checking in at the O’Grady Fly Fishing Adventures. Now I know it has been a few weeks since my last post and I wanted to let you know why. In my many years of acquiring so much knowledge and ever changing truths, maybe the best way for me to pontificate is by using the “glass half full” mantra.  About the time we got back from Hawaii the fish on our river began to make their way out of their winter holding spots and were either eating or spawning. Now I have given my personal opinion on spawning fish in the past and ask people to think of fish as their friends, and if their friend’s wives were only in the mood once a year, wouldn’t they do everything they could to stay out of their way. Over the last few weeks on the river I have had a great time sighting out feeding fish but have seen so many conventional and even fly fishermen standing over redds that I have been too annoyed to write. So here is where the halleluiah comes into play, the river was brought up to 395 today and finally the spawners have a little protection. Now a little sadly, but still in the “half full” frame of mind, Cat and I road our bikes to look at the river and along with the dirty natural debris, the river was doing its own job of cleaning the banks.(sorry John Martin for the trash)
                Now about the time I was totally rejoicing for the water protection for the spawners, I was informed that the increase is supposed to be temporary and at some point in time the flows will drop back under 100cfs and then increase again on the 13th. Water temps out of the dam have been steady between 41 and 43 degrees and even with the warmer temps we seem to be on track for seeing the BWO’s serious hatches late in March.
                Now to think ahead a little, after seeing the snowpack in the Arkansas River drainage at around 130% of normal and the reservoirs already full, this could be another extended runoff year. Now if you love fishing as much as we do then there is no reason not to fish during the runoff time. If you have seen some of our Spinney or Delaney videos than you have seen how awesome fishing those mid level lakes can be and we think we have a pretty good idea on how to be successful. We at the Drift are aware of how intimidating trying to get into a new way of fishing can be. To try and help, with the purchase of any Fishpond or Outcast pontoon boat, or Sage Accel fly rod you will get a free sit down with either Cat or I and we will go over rigging, safety, bugs, and hopefully give you a great start to spending the runoff fishing and not home bored.

                I wanted to finish the blog with a few pics of fish from the last few trips out and a few of mine that were all caught in the mouth and nowhere near redds. Okay, enough pontificating, fishing over the next few weeks should be good and as we roll into April the fish ought to feed like crazy. Get your trip booked now and come and enjoy the best fishing of the year. Fish were feeding on eggs, FOD’s, Ninjas, and J-bombs. As always, Connell, Cat, Winston, Confucius, and the Drift Fly Shop want to thank you for reading…..

Sunday, February 19, 2017

The Omen....

            Hello all and thanks for checking in at the O’Grady Fly Fishing Adventures. I’m not sure how old I was the first time saw the movie The Omen but what I remember is that it scared the absolute tar out of me. Even to this day when I hear the theme music is makes me shutter. Winston and I got to the river around 10:00 this morning and on my first cast I landed a chunky little fifteen incher. Immediately I began thinking about what kind of omen it could be. I remember years ago, on my “glass is half full” days, I would think that this would mean that the day was going to be the best ever. On the “half empty” days I would think that it might be the only fish I would catch that day. As I was pondering the fate of my fishing day I began to laugh at how differently I look at fly fishing today. In my early days of fly fishing, my success was measured by the number of fish I caught, regardless of the manner in which they were deceived. Case in point, one of our favorite places we used to fish was San Isabel lake. We would take our float tubes, tie on foam caddis and go to town. A fifty plus fish day and we felt like we knew what we were doing and any number less than twenty and it was time to rethink our strategy. These days my measure of success is not so much about numbers, but being able to beat any particular fish that I pick out, nonetheless, I decided the name of my first cast fish shall be Damien.
            After landing and releasing Damien, I spent another ten minutes in that run and then began to move down river. I was thinking about a pig that I had spotted on Thursday and on my way, I started seeing other fish. The first few attempts were futile with the fish just sliding out of the way. I changed up my rig with a New Zealand strike indicator and less weight and still found fish just moving out of the way. I moved a little further down and saw a whole group of active trout on redds, a whole new meaning to the word troutporn. I spotted a few smaller fish under a tree and was able to catch a few of them. Next I hooked another beauty but he popped off quickly. I made it to the spot where the piggie was from the other day and saw nothing so I moved into a deeper run. After getting smoked three times, I managed to land a couple of big fat p-town bones and about a sixteen incher. While eyeing the river on the way back to the car I got a glimpse of something in the middle of the river. Nearing it I could see the purple hue and got a few casts off, he moved up a little but after he stopped I cast again and hooked him. He took a minute to land and he absolutely made my day. He was a stout, cherry red twenty incher. My day was a success and even though the Omen theme was in my head all day, every fish is a different adventure.
            Fishing today was not easy and the river is quickly transforming into our most technical season. I saw several fish on redds today and expect the spawn to really increase over the next week. I know I have pleaded before but please leave the future of our river alone there are plenty of feeding fish to play with. If you are not sure what to look out for please call the shop and we can key you in on what to look out for. Also when handling fish please be gentle and quickly snap a pic and release the fish. All but one fish today was landed on the J-bomb and big fish was landed on a simple black midge. If you have been planning on a guide trip this spring that now is the time to get it booked, fishing is not easy but a good cast and drift will equal success. As always, Connell, Cat, Winston, Damien, and the Drift Fly Shop want to thank you for reading…