Monday, May 26, 2014

Delaney Butte's Memorial Weekend Extravaganza 2014!!!!!

Veni, Vidi, Vici, Fishies

     Hello all, and thanks for checking in on the O’Grady Flyfishing Adventures Blog. Since this blog will be posted the day after Memorial Day, I want to start out by thanking all the brave men and women of the military that have given their lives so that I can live in a free society.
     If you have been a long time follower of this blog, you will remember me talking about a longtime friend of mine named Mark. Many years ago Mark gave me my first taste of Flyfishing by taking my father and I to the Frasier River. That was a long time ago, and my friend Mark has evolved his addiction to spending most of his time fishing on the Delaney Butte Lakes in North Park Colorado. When Mark and I reacquainted ten or so years ago, he raved so much about the Delaney’s that my interest was definitely peaked. Now Cat and I along with my brother in law, the “infamous” Jimbo, have been making the trip the last five years, and learn a little more about the lakes each year. Every visit has brought new experiences, from being totally blown off the water, to a really bad sunburn, to so little wind that nothing was feeding, and the fishing itself seemed different every year. Last year’s trip was so fulfilling that Cat and I had been tying for the whole last year in anticipation of this year’s trip. In addition to Cat, Jimbo and I, this year we would also be fishing with Jim’s brother Doyle, a relatively new flyfishing addict. I bought a new Winston B-3X (imagine that) 9 and a half foot 6 wt. just for the trip, and had been watching the weather anxiously the last few weeks. May saw some warm days and the beginning of the early season feeding and then ten days prior to our arrival, Mother Nature dropped 16inches of the white stuff on the ground, keep in mind, we sleep in tents on the ground while we are up there.

    Last year’s trip was so much fun except for one problem, by the time we made it to the lake, all the camp sites on the South side of the lake were taken and we ended up camping on the North side. The morning’s calm row was manageable but the afternoon winds always seemed to make the row back miserable, but we went because all the fish were on the South side of the lake. This year I was determined to get the right camp site and went up a day early and nearly pee’d myself with glee when the site I wanted was open. Cat and I set up camp and before doing any fishing did the only thing any semi-sane angler would do when fishing the Delaney’s, go talk to Mark. Now Mark was extra busy this year because his sister and brother in law were there to see him. When we got over to Mark’s trailer and even before our hellos, Mark said fishing had really been sucky and the water was still too cold, he was hoping that by Friday, maybe the fish would start eating again. Being that this was my second day off of work this year, I wasn’t about to let the conditions ruin my trip. After a quick reunion, Cat and I headed over to the lake. We found a few cruisers and jumped in. We had only been fishing a few minutes and we both landed a couple of huge fish, could the master of the Delaney’s be wrong? (hehe not likely) We headed back to our camp site and jumped in our pontoons and fished the next few hours. Only one dink was brought to the net and I began to worry a little. Cat threw streamers that evening and the colors of the evening were breathtaking. No photo shop was done on the colors in the video. Thursday morning Cat and I made the short row over near the dam where all the fish were last year. We fished most of the day with two dinks and one quality fish to the net and when we got back to camp I came up with one of the dumbest things I have ever said to make us feel better, “It doesn’t take great fishing to make a great fishing trip.”  Okay, dumb but really true when you are with the right family and friends. Jim and Doyle showed up and headed over to South Lake and we followed suit. We caught a few good fish but nothing like the feeding frenzy of last year. While heading back to North, we stopped and talked to Mark and he said he actually did pretty well on the North side of the lake, “you got to be kidding me” I thought. Friday morning Cat and I decided we would row all the way to the North end of the lake and search for fish (a twenty five minute row, one way with no wind). We zigzagged back and forth for a few hours and ended up at the other side of the lake when we started to see a little action. A quick breakoff followed by a few dinks and then we found the MOTHER LODE. For an hour and a half it was hard to throw your junk in the water without a beast of a fish trying to pull you, your rod, and your boat under water. At one time I knew exactly what chief Brody felt when he said “I think we are going to need a bigger boat”.

     As the clouds built we decided we better get back before the lightning came in. That evening Cat wanted to throw streamers and she landed an absolute horse of a fish. Saturday morning we made the long row again and saw that a few of the boats that had seen us catching fish the day before were sitting in the spot where we had been. I’m not sure if I was flattered or irritated but we ended up anchoring about forty yards over. My flies had barely touched the water and my indicator exploded underwater, I set the hook but nothing was there. I put a huge smile on my face, but it was ten minutes before my next take. Then the flood gates opened and the next two hours produced takes almost every time our flies hit the water. I talked a little about the strength of these fish last year, and it seemed that the fish had roided up even more this year. The fish would dive and with no current, they would use depth to their advantage. I tried to land every fish as quick as possible, the 22inch brown out of the Arkansas a few weeks ago took one minute and twenty two seconds to get in, but one of these bows over the weekend took over three minutes to land. He was tired when I got him to the surface and so was I. With the fear of wind coming in Sunday and missing our dogs so much we thought about coming home a day early. Rowing back to the camp site we saw five guys screaming and jumping about the “Huge” fish they caught on the “brown” one after catching the morning fish on the “tan” one, they pulled it up on the shore and on to a stringer, we knew it was time to go home. Such is fishing on the holidays.

  The trip was another AMAZING experience in North Park. Jim seems to really be getting the hang of lakes and Doyle landed a few as well, a new addict for sure. The pelicans were thick, the surrounding mountains were breathtaking, the company was amazing, and we even had a giant brown “in respect for Winston” photobomb a video clip.  Our Memorial weekend (unofficial start of summer) drive home consisted of five hours of rain, two snow storms, and three hail storms (thank you Al Gore for ending global warming). The video is a little long but we think it is well worth your time to watch.  In the past I had used hard rock, but in searching for this video I learned something, I like some Folk and therefore must be getting up there in years.

The rivers should be unfishable for a while so hopefully this video will inspire you all to get to a lake. As Always, Connell, Cat, Winston, the Greshams, want to thank you for reading….


Monday, May 12, 2014

The On Switch.....

  One of the truly great things about flyfishing is that if you want to, you can always learn something new. It’s funny how I spend so much time on tailwaters that at times I begin to think that I know it all. Luckily for me I get to hear so many different flyfishing idealoligies that I hope I will continue to learn new strategies till the day I die. Many years ago in my pre flyfishing days I spent a little time at the reservoir and found it to be a really difficult place to fish. I would go for hours without so much as a bump and even though I would get frustrated, I couldn’t wait to give it another try. After moving strictly to flyfishing, I kind of lost my desire to fish the reservoir until the last few years of listening to our lake guide Cody talk about the reservoir. Cat and I were lucky enough to meet Cody several years back and Cat and I had the pleasure of teaching and learning from him over the years. Cody and Alex were part of a DOW video a few years back and the action of the video totally peaked my interest. Cody offered to take us anytime we wanted but the conditions last year just never turned on. Cody was expecting this year to be good, and advised the shop employees that hopefully by mid May the Reservoir should turn on. He had been out several times and in April and early May and said the water just hadn’t warmed up enough. On Friday, Cody walked into the shop with that big old grin, which can only come from two things, and said that today was the day. He went on to tell me that the fish that were nowhere to be found five days prior , had began to move into a place where they can be caught. Saturday evening he invited us to go out with him on his boat.
  Cat, Brandon and I accepted the invite and met him Saturday after work. Cody treated us like clients and said he had everything we needed. I would love to say that I wasn’t skeptical due to my earlier years attempts on that piece of water, but I thought even if we didn’t catch fish, I couldn’t think of better company to spend my Saturday evening with. Once in the boat, Cody sped us over to the spot he wanted us to begin and my family was to prideful to start and asked him to show us the way to catch these fish. He casted twice and then with a quick strip set, the rod bent over and I just smiled, it was so awesome to watch someone truly masterful at his craft. Cat was so excited that she jumped up next and a few casts in she hooked and landed another smallie. Cat then went on to land a few more and then it was my turn, a few casts and my first reservoir, flyfishing smallie. Cody set up another rod and got Brandon into the action as well. Cody reiterated to us about how late last week the switch just turned on and everything changed and the next six weeks or so should be very productive. We fished until dark and had an absolute blast, we caught lots of smallies, a large mouth and I even landed a walleye. I have to admit, on the drive home that evening, buying a boat bounced around in my head a little. I don’t think that will happen so I will make sure we stay on Cody’s good side.
  If you have ever considered learning to flyfish the reservoir, I think this is the time to call the shop and book Cody for a trip. It looks as if the river will have a little reprieve this week but we don’t really think that will last very long. I know Cody’s time is filling up fast so set your trip quickly. I wish we had more pics from the other night, I can’t believe I forgot a camera. Maybe it was my subconscious skepticism, I won’t make that mistake again. As always, Connell, Cat, Winston, Cody(the res whisperer), and The Drift Fly Shop want to thank you for reading…..
To check out the video of Cody and Alex slaying the fish on Pueblo Rez click HERE

Friday, May 9, 2014

The Kinks.......

  Yesterday on the river sure felt like a trip through memory lane. I was quite a fan of music when I was younger but things were so different then. We didn’t have i-pods or music playing cell phones so our  music listening consisted of sitting at home with our 33’s, the radio, cassettes, or the best of all going to seven dollar concerts. I was a huge Zep fan followed by many others including Skynard, AC\DC, Rush and even a little lesser know band the Kinks.  I remember the Kinks announcing they would be in Omaha and I was definitely excited but not sleeplessly fidgeting waiting for the concert. It turned out that just before the concert I found out that a few friends were going to be there so I hooked up with them. We got to the concert and actually made it close to the stage and only about 7 or 8 rows of people in front of us. It seemed that every concert I had been to at this point was either incredible or a total bust and I was just waiting to see what the night would bring. I don’t remember the opening act but when the Kinks came out we were thrilled to see we were on about ten feet or so from Ray Davies. From Ray’s very first words I could tell that he was there to entertain the crowd. The songs pounded out loud and perfect and the entire crowd was jumping with the band. After just a couple of songs, the auditorium went quiet and he strummed the opening lick to Lola and the crowd roared even louder. As the crowd quieted, Ray looked at his brother and said “ they are not ready for that one yet” and then went on to play something else. Well a few songs later they played Lola and it just seemed to put us all over the top.

  I don’t remember how long the concert actually lasted but I remember having a difficult time getting back to my car because I was so exhausted from screaming, dancing and just jumping around. At that time the Kinks became a close second in my book to Zep.

  I was sitting around Wednesday evening and I saw that Thursdays weather was looking to be rainy and then I looked at DWR website and saw that the flows had been dropped. I was interested but not through the roof excited because the higher flows sure have put a slow down on my favorite way to fish, sight fishing. I got to the water at around noon and went straight for the brown I have been stalking for the last few weeks. He was not there so I then moved into the next spot. I could see fish and so I slithered in below them and presented my flies. First cast of the day was a hookup and a quick long distance release. Two casts that produced zilch and the third was money, a hard take, a quick battle and one of my best bows in a while to the net, a 21incher. It felt a little as if Ray had gone ahead and played Lola as the second song of the evening. A few more casts in that run and a 17incher to the net. I moved back up river and got a glimpse of the brown but before I could get in place he was gone. I moved into the next run and first drift was another fish. I sat in that run for an hour and it seemed that every other cast produced an All day and All Of The Night, Superman, Pressure Pressure, Paranoia. When I began to get a little tired I moved down river and jumped into another one of my favorite runs. Cast after cast it was Low Budget, Destroyer, 20th Century Man, and You really Got Me….

 Well around three or so the fish finally began to slow and I was worn out. I’m not sure how many fish I actually got to the net, I will make excuses and blame my poor landing percentages on the faster water but the hookups had to be in the thirty or forty range. Only saw a few other anglers on the water but I really left the river yesterday with that same feeling I had that night long ago when I left the Kinks concert…Ahhhhhhhhhh, I love this river and can’t wait to get back.

  We have no idea how long these flows will last so if you get a chance to get out do it. The flows are still pushing 600cfs so be extremely careful while wading, don’t become a statistic. Fish were on FOD, and a Ninja all day yesterday. Not sure why but when the BWO’s were popping the hardest, the fish moved exclusively to the Ninja. Hope you all have an incredible mother’s day and as always, Connell, Cat, Winston, The Kinks, and The Drift Fly Shop thank you for reading…….

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Find the Fishie....

  Hey all, just a quick update on the river. Fished on Thursday when the flows were around 500cfs and did quite well. Even at 500 please take every step cautiously, 500cfs can pick you up and chew you out in a hurry. Flows were pushing 600cfs today and I didn’t want to push it so Cat and I took the pups to play in the river, Cat brought a rod just to toss streamers in the ponds but we came across this bow feeding against the bank, look closely and watch him eat. Water is still very clear but please be very cautious, walk the banks if possible. Mid mountain lakes are beginning to fish well so stop by the shop and we can send you in the right direction. As always, Connell, Cat. Winston, Mushka and The Drift Fly Shop want to thank you for checking in….

       A few from Thursday...