Thursday, January 3, 2019

New Year, Same Awesome River!!!!!


           Hello friends and thanks for checking in at the O’Grady Fly fishing adventures. I wanted to start by wishing everyone a Happy New Year and hope that 2019 is your best year ever. The last few weeks have been a little strange for me watching more college football than I have watched in years. The house was really quiet for the Holidays and although I really enjoyed the together time with Cat, I was beginning to feel a little stir crazy. I figured the river would be crowded today but there was no way I was going to spend another day wasted in front of the T.V., so today's plan was to walk the river, look at fish, and occasionally throw a fly.
            I got to the river a little after 11:00, and it already seemed crowded. I started walking up and noticed the dinks were going crazy. I jumped in and the first ten or so were a blast. I started moving and checking out all the rock piles and then I looked down and saw one of my favorite Winter holes was open. I jumped in and after several drifts, the indicator moved and it was on. 
            My first thought was that it was a giant sucker but after a few seconds I could feel the head shake. As he neared the surface, his cherry red side flashed and I knew he was a special fish. What went through my head, was Alex telling people that this is the time of the year when most people land their biggest fish. I was fishing 6x and one 22 and two 24 midges so I was a little nervous, but my Igniter won the battle. Now here is where thing got a little funny and hoping its not an omen for the year. 
          I moved into the shallows with the fish and net in the water and removed the hook from his jaw. I snapped a few pics of him in the net and then tried to move him next to the rod (the winner), but he was a little difficult to get my hand around. After fidgeting for a second, I got him in place and did two quick cluster pics, set him on the net for a measurement and set him free. I was elated he measured off at 23 inches and I don’t remember the last time I caught a fish that big. 
        The sun was perfect for the pics and my fish was going to be the envy of the river. I casted a few more times and hooked and landed a chunky 14 incher. As I was releasing him a friend came up and we got to talking. I hate the old (check out my phone) thing but I planning on showing it off anyway. I looked through my pics and had to laugh, I had two pics in the net and a dozen or so pics of my palm. I had to rethink the old joke about having a picture of my palm in my wallet.
            Anyway, I fished that spot for a little longer and landed a few more nice fish and then it felt like they were on to me. I headed down river and found another great winter hole open and I jumped in. I hooked and lost two more tanks, and then finished by landing an absolutely perfect 18 incher. What a great day on the river!
            Over the last few weeks the river has moved into complete winter conditions. What does that mean? The little fish are extremely active for a few hours most afternoons and the big fish are sitting in the slower and deeper runs. There were lots of people on the river today but the spots where the fish are seemed to be open. I saw lots of midges and a few bwo’s. We should be seeing the same conditions for the next six weeks or so. If you are thinking about booking a trip, it’s a great time of the year to work on technique and learn how to read our river, and I promise that if you land a really big fish, I won’t screw up the pic. All fish today was on either the New Moon or Chocolate Noon Midge. As always, Connell, Cat, and Winston want to thank you for reading….




Friday, December 14, 2018

One Shot at Glory....


Hello fiends and thanks for checking in at the O’Grady Fly Fishing Adventures. I wanted to tell a little story about my chance at glory. I don’t talk about it much, but at one point in my life I was a pretty heavy smoker. I quit in the spring of 1991 and after gaining 30 pounds in three months, I knew I had to find something to keep my weight down. I began playing a little basketball and keeping true to my personality, I was immediately hooked. I started playing several nights a week and even though I couldn’t shoot worth a darn, I loved playing D and outworking the big guys on the boards. I worked on my shot over the years and finally began to feel pretty comfortable shooting the rock. I began playing in city league and slab league and the competition was addicting.
One season while playing with one of the best teams in the league, I got my chance. It was a back and forth game all evening long and it seemed the last team with the ball was going to win. Our team was up one and with about fifteen seconds left and the other teamed got a lay-up. We didn’t have a T.O. and began to push the ball up the court. I made my way to the wing and our point guard started to drive, he had been unstoppable all night. His path to the rim was blocked and he quickly drew a double team and the ball came flying out to me. We were down to six seconds and so I felt for the seams, jumped and gave the little flick of my wrists. The ball came out with the perfect backspin and I held the follow through. It was as if time had stopped and all I could hear was my heartbeat as the ball was nearing the rim. I heard a loud clank, and the ball hit the back of the rim. The ball bounced straight in the air and then off the front of the rim. One of our players grabbed the rebound but the buzzer had sounded before he was able to get off another shot. I was devastated, I think it was the only shot I had missed that night but it was my chance at glory. We finished out the season without a loss and beat the same team in the playoffs by 20, but the one miss was the shot I couldn’t get out of my head and I never had a that shot for glory again.
The last few trips to the river have made me think about that missed shot from many years ago. One of the best things about writing the blog is that I basically have a diary of fishing conditions over the last several years. I know I have heard a lot of people recently talk about the low water this year being why the river is acting so technically finicky. Now I know the fish are a little more packed in than usual but more often that not, this time of the year you have to make the first shot count. Yesterday I fished with my brother and after I got him set up, I moved to the tail end of the run and made my first cast. The drift was perfect and after about ten feet the indicator shot down. Today, in my second stop, I took an extra second to examine the water and when ready, I made a long cast and let the river take the indicator. It was another long drift and at the tail end, I caught my fish of the day. I spent another half hour in that run and only managed one more dink that ate the fly.
This is my guide trip for this time of the year. When you get into a run to fish don’t be over anxious. Take a second to figure out how you want your flies to drift through the spot and secondly make sure you have enough line to use. I can’t overstate enough how important that first drift is this time of the year. One poor drift and the big fish are out of there. I have plenty of openings over the next few weeks so if you want to get out and try some really fun and technical fishing, give me or the shop a call. If you catch one of the piggies right now, you have earned it. I still fret over that missed shot so many years back and even if I had made it, my life would not have changed a bit. Today when I need that shot of glory, I make the first drift perfect. As always, Connell, Cat and Winston want to thank you for reading….

Monday, December 3, 2018

End of the Season.....


         Hello friends and thanks for checking in at the O’Grady fly fishing Adventures. I have been wanting to write this blog for the last few weeks but have had a hard time finding a connection, todays trip to the river cleared it up. As most of our readers know, I am both blessed and cursed to be a Husker fan. At one point, the Huskers were the envy of every college football fan in America, but as of late, my team has really fallen on hard times. This year was going to be different, our Prodigal Son coach was back and the hope of a “real” football team was back.
            The season could not have started worse. Opening weekend, I got to spend with my son fishing and then back to his home waiting for an opening win. New coach, new QB and a new season, I could hardly contain my anticipation. The game kicked off and then quickly went into a weather delay. We waited and waited and after several hours, it was announced the game was canceled. The following week, CU came to town with a game already under its belt and the during the first half, you could really tell that it was the Huskers first game. It was fun to watch, and really felt like the Huskers were on the right track and then, the new QB got hurt. The next several games looked like the Huskers of the last few years and then finally, in week seven, things began to change. The offense began to click and the D became serviceable. They won four out of their last six but came up short in getting back to a bowl game. The season had plenty of highs and plenty of lows.
            Here is where the connection comes in, I’m not sure if football has always been this way, but modern football really doesn’t have an off season, and this is the time of the year when both the Huskers and fly fishermen can get better. There was definitely improvement throughout the season but this is now the time to really get back to being dominant. First is recruiting, my wife can tell you that the last several years I have probably spent more time reading and following recruiting than actually watching football itself. Now I’m not a coach but I really enjoy watching recruiting highlight videos just to see how great the new recruits will be. Yesterday the Huskers got a commit from a giant defensive end and after watching his film, I can’t wait to watch him terrorize QB’s the next several years. Another way the players get better in the offseason is with workouts and technical training. The players won’t be back in front of huge crowds until Spring but they are already back in the weight room getting stronger and I’m sure the QB’s and receivers are already running drills.
            Today I went to the river and started in one of my favorite runs. On my second drift my indicator bounced and I set, I could feel the fish but he very quickly popped off. A few more drifts and then I landed my fish of the day, he was only about eighteen inches but the day was just beginning. I fished that run for another half hour and only hooked one more smaller fish and I knew this was not going to be the day I was hoping for. At that point it hit me, like my Huskers not going to a bowl game, maybe I should just spend the day getting better. Now lifting weights is not going to help my fishing but really paying attention to my technique can. I next walked into an area that gives me a chance to observe fish, not quite like watching recruiting videos but if you take the time to watch fish, you can learn so much. This morning the fish seemed to be holding in slack water and barely moving. I headed up river and began to watch a few fish move into feeding lanes and then I worked on how I could get the best drift to them. I continued to cover water and when the BWO’s began to hatch, I started looking to see if any bigger fish were rising. I saw one that seemed a little bigger than the rest and after getting into position I dropped the flies perfectly in front of him. The fly only moved a few inches and he grabbed it. He was only about thirteen inches but there is something special about landing a natural fish on a dry. The hatch was short lived and as I headed back toward the car, I couldn’t take my eyes off the river.
            The last week or so I have heard many people talk about how difficult the river has been. We should still see BWO’s for the next few weeks and some days should still be good. If your fishing prowess is not where you want it to be, maybe now would be a great time to book a guide. Spotting fish and seeing how they act and in what type of water will give you a whole new appreciation for fish. When it comes to technique, you can never know it all. Even as a guide, it is always fun learning something new. Now is the time to get bet better. As a husker fan, the glory of the spring game is just around the corner and as a fly fisherman, the fish coming out of their winter holding spots is just around the corner. Fish this morning were eating FOD’s and the Darth Baetis, the sippers were eating Cat’s Zombie Apocalypse fly. Also, I have noticed that the blog is disappearing on some Facebook pages. If you love the blog and don’t ever want to miss a post then please subscribe to my blog page. It is simple and I promise I will never sell your info.  Get your trip booked now and learn why you catch or don’t catch fish. As always, Connell, Cat, Winston want to thank you for reading…….


Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Tis the Season.......


Hello Friends and thanks for checking in at the O’Grady Fly Fishing Adventures. We have talked a little about it in the past but since I am such a difficult person to buy presents for, Cat and I very rarely exchange Christmas gifts. With that being said, it doesn’t stop the constant flow of gifts and oddities that friends and clients bring Cat.  One of the latest oddities was a dead rattlesnake that one of our friends brought her. I truly hope that our home never becomes a crime scene because there is no telling what CSI people would find in our home and buried around our yard. Anyways, the rattlesnake has yet to make it to the yard and has been sitting in our garage in an open box. The funny thing is that even though I know exactly where it is and that it has been dead for at least a few weeks, every time I walk near it or reach over it, I catch it out of the corner of my eye and it makes me jump.
If you are looking forward to the Holiday season and are thinking about gifts for friends and family, …and if you don’t have a dead rattlesnake to give, then maybe the perfect gift for fly fishermen are guide trips. Even after being a guide for several years, I still learn something new each time I book a guide.
This is the perfect time to bring up what is new in O’Grady Land. I have recently been able to expand my guiding horizons by having the ability to be booked both through the Drift, and also now Angler’s Covey in Colorado Springs. So, if you are looking for the perfect Christmas gift for the novice or even seasoned Fly Fisherman, give the gift of a Guide Trip. Trips can be booked online as well as by phone and please ask for Connell. I promise I will do everything I can to make it the best gift you have ever given. As always, thanks for reading……

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Hook Sets.......


         Hello friends and thanks for checking in at the O’Grady Fly Fishing Adventures. I wanted to write this blog today because on the way to the river I began to feel a little somber. Now how in the world can a guy be heading to go fishing feel a little sad, well its because I once again thought about how much I enjoy guiding. This Fall has been one of the best guiding seasons I have had, and it hit me that today I was on my own. The last two days I have watched client fish come out of the water, and my heart has nearly jumped out of my chest. Tuesday, we had an eighteen or so incher completely breach and yesterday we had a brown well over twenty come completely out of the water as if to say, I’ll show me mine, now whats you got!
          Today's plan was to really hunt the river and hit a lot of structure that I normally bypass. When I first hit the sidewalk and looked down at the river, I noticed a big redd that was hosting several browns. I wanted to point them out but after looking around, I was by myself. I watched them for a while and then headed up river. I stepped into the first run and my first drift hooked a fish, he was only about thirteen inches but I was on the board. I hooked five more in that run but none of them made it to my net. I walked up to the next run and lost two more fish. I continued to make my way up and finally I hooked one that got my attention. It was a quick battle that made my reel scream for a second and then he popped off as well. I began to question my abilities and I started wondering why I kept losing them.  Over the years, I have noticed that one of the most common errors that clients make are the up-river hook sets.
          I thought about it and really thought I was making good hook sets but decided next run I would really pay attention. The next drift hooked and landed a dink and then the next drift was a quick take and the fish was gone. I casted a few more times and then noticed something didn’t look right. My line had been sheared off right below my egg. I walked to the next run and while re-rigging, I could feel my annoyance beginning to grow. I knew this run had a snag but, I also thought it was usually good for a fish or two. On the first drift my indicator jumped and another fish was off. I knew the hook set was good and just scratched m head. I casted again and my indicator sunk, I snapped up the rod and felt a thud. It was the snag. I stretched my arm out above the snag but it wouldn’t pop loose. I hopped off the weir and with my line stretched out, I walked down and as far and across as I could, trying to pop it loose. It began to get to deep and I had to turn back. I thought about just breaking the line but I had just finished putting on new flies. Now I was determined and decided to try to get above the snag. I don’t think anyone was watching but if they were, they may have thought I was doing some sort of Pagan ritual like the kids circling the May Pole. I got all the way around and crawled back up and over the weir and after getting as deep as I felt comfortable, I stretched my arm all the way out and jiggled. I began to think why in the heck does an up-river hook-set come out of a stupid fish mouth but gets stuck on a stupid rock .........and then it popped loose. Makes sense and all is well.
          I fished a little further up-river and then back down hooking several and landing some and then finished the day catching dinks on a dry. The day was great but just not the same as sharing it guiding. I absolutely love guiding, not enough to do it for free, I still have to keep the lights on. If you are thinking about booking a trip, I would suggest you get it done now, our busy season is just around the corner. You can always book the old-fashioned way and call the shop or me, but now the shop has the ability to book on line from our web site. It was just over a year ago when Stan landed the 24 inch brownie and the season is upon us. As always, Connell, Cat, Winston. And the Drift Fly Shop want to thank you for reading…..

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

25 Again....


         Hello friends and thanks for checking in at the O’Grady Fly Fishing Adventures. Cat and I were planning on fishing today and before we left the house I checked the river flow. 25cfs out of the reservoir. My first thought was ughhhh and then I told Cat about the drop and she had the same expression. It’s kind of sad here on the Ark because every time the flows drop below 75cfs and then when it goes over about 250cfs, the phone is in a constant ringing mode with people wanting to know how the fishing is. Cat and I took one for the team and went fishing anyway.
          We only hooked a few dinks in our first run and then we headed up and found a run in between a few other anglers. I heard Cat tell me that she had one straight in front of her and the next noise I heard was the fish dancing across the top of the river. It was a quick battle won by the fish. A few seconds later and another tail dance and another battle won by the fish. We hooked a dozen or so and actually landed a few before the fish had finally had enough and were no longer interested.
          As we were walking toward our next run I told Cat that the blog name was going to be 25 Again, she got a strange look and wanted to know if the CBD oil was making me feel a little spunky. I laughed and explained it was about the flow. We made it into the next run and while fighting a few fish I got to thinking about being 25 again, and I remembered how utterly competitive I was just about everything. If Cat had out fished me when I was 25, I’m not sure our marriage could have handled my competitive nature, then again, I probably would have been thrown in jail since She would have only been 6. We hooked several and then began to head back.
          We had a few runs we wanted to hit on the way back and then we ran into one of the more well-known guides in Soco. Now to protect his innocence and identity, we shall call him Guide X. We chatted for a while and once again I started thinking about the 25 Again. Guide X is a guide and so are Cat and I, I must no longer be 25 because I didn’t feel like I had anything to prove. We laughed and talked a little about the day and I looked over and noticed several fish rising. I told them to give me just a second and got into position. I began to think about some of the great competitors of our time, Manning vrs. Brady, Lebron vrs. Curry, Magic vrs Bird. Guide X and Cat were behind me watching and there was no ESPN or cameras on us, but I sure wanted to beat those fish. I casted and dropped the fly gently in front of the fish and as it was drifting by, my heart began to race and nothing. Another cast exactly where I wanted and the result was the same. Ten, maybe fifteen casts and I began to feel like Manning against the Seahawks. Guide X walked up and gave it his best shot as well, then Cat jumped in to see if she had the magic. If ESPN had been there, those fish were the big winners. I went back to my nymph rig and moved a short distance up river and Guide X moved back in to take another swing. First drift through and my indicator shot up river and just then I heard Guide X say, “got him”. Doubled up but his was a little more special, I got mine landed and looked up just as Guide X’s popped off. Good thing my competition is with the fish and not Guide X. hehe Iw was a pleasure fishing with you Guide X!
          We made our way back toward the car and Cat and I jumped into one more spot. We landed a few and although Cat had hooked lots of big fish today, she landed her fish of the day. What a day, I don’t ever want to be 25 again and even though 25cfs is not my favorite flow, the fish still “gots” to eat. Today was the first true BWO hatch I had seen this fall and the fish were eating it up, yep a play on words. The lower flows sure brought out the best in the fish today and what an absolute blast it was. If you are thinking about making your way to the river but are worried about the flows, don’t let the flows deter you, just make sure you bring you’re A game. The river is not super easy right now and if you’re not getting the results you are looking for, hire one of the Drift’s professional guides and learn how to take your fishing to the next level. You won’t make it on ESPN, but your rides home will have a few more smile. We have openings this week call the shop or my cell at 719-568-4927. As always, Connell, Cat, Winston, Guide X and the Drift Fly Shop want to thank you for reading….



Thursday, October 18, 2018

Turnover......


         Hello friends and thanks for checking in at the O’Grady Flyfishing Adventures. If you are checking in because you saw the title and are thinking I have some kind of inside info on this week’s Broncos or even my beloved Huskers, offensive game plan, you have been duped. Sorry guys, were just talking about our river. For those of you that aren’t sure about what turnover means, and what it means to you, this blog is for you.
          Every summer in our reservoir, the coldest water sinks to the bottom and that is the water that comes out of the bottom of the dam. If the reservoir was not there, our water would be way to warm to allow trout to live through summer. Every fall as the weather begins to cool, the cooler water begins to work its way to the top and the warmer water makes it way to the bottom. This is why our river stays warm enough to keep the fish eating all Winter long. The moving of the water causes a churning in the lake and the water coming out gets the milky green look and we lose visibility.
          Every year when the reservoir begins to turn the shop gets tons of questions as to how long it will last. I will try my best to answer. The last few years the reservoir has been really full and the weather took forever to cool so we dealt with the milky water until late in November. This year the weather is turning quickly and there is less water in the reservoir, so I am hopeful the reservoir should turnover quicker. I am hopeful that as soon as we get to November, the first real cold snap should complete the turnover, so best case scenario, I’m hoping first of November.
          So how to fish turnover water, this morning I headed out and my first run was really milky green. I put on a size 18 A&W, followed by a few small midges and I ran it through a normal feeding lane. First drift and I got my fish of the day, he was just a hair under twenty inches. I fished that run for a little while and not another take. I began to make my way up river and every run seemed to take one fish. I got into one of my favorite runs and ended up hooking a few nice fish, and then they just stopped eating. The river had sporadic bugs flying around all day and I think that is why the first drift was normally money and then I needed to move. I began working back down river and I began to see the dinks rising. I always say that little fish need love to, so I set up a doubly dry rig. I was having so much fun hooking the dinks that I almost didn’t see the big fish that was sipping. When he caught my attention, I slipped in below and I notice several shadows moving around. I tossed the flies out a few times with no success and then finally I watched one come up and take a look at my first fly. He backed away and then moved over to the trailer, he opened his mouth and sucked it in and as I set the hook, my flies came straight back at me. I casted again and the same fish moved over and sucked down the trailer again. I set the hook and came to the conclusion that either that fish had a big hole in his mouth, My fly was missing the hook, or possibly, I’m not a very good dry fly fisherman. I checked the hook and it looked fine so I’m going with the fish having a void in his mouth area.Hehe.
          Looking toward the future. As of now, we are still seeing a few tricos, caddis and pmd’s, and when temp drops and the water clears we will be back fishing the Bwo’s. Yummy!
          A few odds and ends, now I’m sure I’m going to sound a little like a homer but after going back and forth the last month fishing my Igniter and X, I just can’t say enough about those two rods. Light, powerful, and an absolute blast to fight fish(as long as the fish don’t have holes in their mouths). The shop still has a limited number of A&W’s in the shop and when they are gone, they will be gone until next year. And lastly, our tip to Belize next year is nearly filled. We have one room left and it will be first come first served. As always, Connell, Cat, Winston, Scott Frost & Vance Joseph and the Drift Fly Shop want to thank you for reading…….