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


         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…….

Thursday, October 4, 2018

If It's Meant To Be.....

        Hello friends and thanks for checking in at the O’Grady fly Fishing adventures. Yesterday the Drift hosted a large trip here in P-town. I was particularly excited about it because our river had been fishing so well and I love showing off our river to out-of-towners, but when we got to the water, the bugs were nowhere to be found.  Now every single one of them hooked fish and almost all landed fish and Cat will let everyone who will listen know that her client landed the fish of the day, but for me, the day left a slightly bad taste in my mouth. At one point my client said that’s why they call it fishing and not catching, when I let him out of time-out he promised me he wouldn’t ever use those words again. I almost found myself by the end of the day using the phrase “If it’s meant to be”.
          As a long time guide I have gotten to the point that I still love every fish I ever catch, but I find it way more enjoyable watching clients hook the fish of a lifetime rather than me. This morning while walking the dogs I looked around and thought I bet the bugs are out today and I really needed to get the bad tasted out of my mouth. I got home, got my gear packed and headed to the river and that is where the miracle happened. I left my house and drove to the first stop light and I had the green, I got on the interstate and began working my way through town. Light after light after light I never even slowed down and I hit every single green. Now if you have ever driven around P-town then you know what a rarity it is. Pueblo was not designed to move traffic around at a quick pace. I got to my fishing spot and as I was getting ready it hit me that I had just hit every green light and that had to be some kind of awesome omen, yep, Today is meant to be!
          The river was back to being on fire today, tricos were swarming for hours and the fish making the most of it. It’s always fun having days like this but at the same time I sure wished we had had the big group out today. Well anyway, I guess that’s why they call it……..nope I won’t say it.
          Speaking of, if it’s meant to be, I wanted to put a quick update out on next years Belize trip. We have two rooms left so get with us if you are interested. I’m not complaining but after not taking real vacations for twenty-five years, it sure is enjoyable to see what the world has to offer. Thank you Cat, Cody and Kim for reminding me that there is more to life than work. Fish today were eating Tricos and A & W’s. As always, Connell, Cat, Winston, Trane and the Drift Fly Shop wants to thank you for reading…..

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

The Ark..9/25

Hello friends and thanks for checking in at the O’Grady Fly Fishing Adventures. I wanted to put out a quick update of the current conditions on our river. Flows over the last week have been right around 160cfs and clarity has been very good. Fall conditions have been really unpredictable the last several years but this last week has really put me on a fishing high. The last few trips have seen lots of fish and Cat and I spent about three hours on the river today and will be smiling into next week. We have had incredible trico spinner falls, and PMD’s hatch off and on all afternoon, and caddis in the early evening.
My best guess is that we should have really good clarity for the next three weeks or so, and by mid-October, I would expect to see turnover to begin. Now I want to take a second and toot my own horn. If you have been thinking about booking a guide then get it done now, sight fishing right now is fantastic but I should probably warn you, once you see fish and get your flies in front of it and you get to watch it eat, you will never look at fly fishing the same way again. The video is of the Tricos this morning, not sure how well it will come through.
We currently have a limited number of A&W’s in the shop for sale. The A&W was designed by myself several year ago for our Fall PMD’s. The fly is working well right now and when turnover starts, don’t leave home without it. As always, Connell, Cat, Winston and the Drift Fly Shop want to thank you for reading……

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

The Igniter.....

           Hello friends and thanks for checking in at the O’Grady Fly Fishing Adventures. If you have been a long-time follower of the blog and have read my many product reviews, then you know that my reviews are anything but normal. Rather than just tossing out a bunch of technical specs, I try to paint a picture of the usability of a product. I have been a trout guide and a part time fly shop employee for about ten years and although it may be sacrilegious, personally I don’t think castability is the most important part of a fly rod. This is a review of the new Sage Igniter fly rod.
            I wanted to start by giving my first impressions of the Igniter. As a long-time shop rat and an obsessed fly fisherman, every time a new rod comes into the shop I have to pick it up and get that initial impression. I have picked up and examined hundreds and hundreds of rods over the years and came away with a whole array of first impressions. The first Igniter I got to play with was my wife Cat’s 9 foot 5 wt. The color was interesting to say the least. I have never been one to think that color will ever make the difference in catching fish but if you are going to spend that much money on a rod, then you want it to look good. Cat liked the color so much that she matched her fingernails to the rod. Picking up the rod the first thing I noticed was that it felt a slight bit heavier than the Sage X. Looking at the specs, it is about quarter of an ounce heavier. Once we added a reel, the weight difference was negligible and when holding upright I didn’t feel the weight but could definitely feel the stability. The next thing I did was give it a good shake and there was absolutely no jiggle in the rod, it flexed down and up and came back to center almost immediately. I loved the feel and the look but was worried the flex may be a little stiffer than I like.
            Now here is the part of the review that I hope the rod designers never read. In the opening of this blog I stated that personally as a trout guide, I don’t think castability is the most important part of a fly rod. A few weeks back we had a client that was getting ready for his trip to Colorado and was telling my wife that he had been practicing and he was pretty confident at casting up to about sixty feet. When Cat told me that I laughed and asked if she explained we were only going to be fishing one river at a time. The majority of my fishing is done at twenty-five feet or less. I have guided many clients over the years that can cast a mile but the most successful trout anglers are the ones that can control their flies once they hit the water.
            Last week I headed to the Western Slope to visit my son and spend some quality time on the water with him, I brought Cat’s new Igniter to give it a test run. The rod was set up with a Sage Spectrum Lt and a Rio Grand line and I began with 5x fluoro. The river was super low and really clear so the majority of our fish were sighted out. I started by landing a few cutties in the 14 or 15 inch range that had been sitting about fifteen feet away. I use a roll/flip cast and found the rod to be deadly accurate. The fight on the smaller fish was more enjoyable that I expected. I can’t stand the super stiff rods that don’t give you the ability to feel the fish. The wind picked up early afternoon and the rod never lost a beat even tossing it into the wind. The second day we found some bigger fish and eventually had to go down to 6x, I hooked a pretty big fish but he got me into the rocks before I could really get a feel for him, but caught several in the 14 to 17inch range and the tippet was protected fine. When I got home, I enjoyed the rod enough that I ordered my own in a 4wt and have now had the chance to fish it several times. Now here is the thing that I don’t really understand and am trying to wrap my head around, when I have fished really fast rods in the past, the energy from the fish ends up going straight into my forearm. And sometimes the slower rods get to a certain flex and then stop and I end up with the same forearm strain. Here is what I absolutely love about the Igniter the most. I have now landed a few fish over twenty and today landed one that measured 23 and was a fatty. I fight fish quick and got this one landed quickly. I hooked him on 5x fluoro and the DMZ was the soft seam between the current and the dead water I was standing in, he didn’t want to leave the current and I wasn’t going in. I kept the 5x as close to the breaking point as I could and I could feel the flex deep into the rod, but never felt like the flex was at its end.  When I finally got his face to the surface I steered him across the surface and into my incredible wife’s net. After a few quick pics and a healthy release, I began to think about the rods performance and I am still smiling. The rod not only protected the 5x tippet but it also absorbed the strength of the fish and kept the stress from my arm.
            Now as for the casting of the rod, we have taken it out a few times testing and it really casts well, a haul or double haul can cast as far as you want. We were really happy that the rod doesn’t seem to be stuck as a one-line pony. A Rio Gold line still loads the rod but just lands a little softer, and the Rio Grand line can turn over a fly even if it has to go through a wall, but how often do you really cast to fish behind a wall.
            Now is the new Igniter for you, that is hard to say but I am a huge fan of both the X and the new Igniter. I think Sage has put it in the specialty category but personally I think it’s a great all around nymphing and Colorado rod. If you want to toss more dries then stick with the X, but if you want a beast to go head to head with the piggies, this rod might just be for you. Stop by the shop and give one a cast, or better yet, fish one and feel the excitement for yourself. As always, Connell, Cat, Winston, and the Drift Fly Shop want to thank you for reading……..