Thursday, March 29, 2012

Arkansas Tailwater Fly Fishing Report Thursday, March 29th

  I was able to sneak out to the river today and found the fishing to be really good. I got to the water about 1:00 and with a few high clouds was expecting to see tons of Blue Wings. The water was running 345cfs from the dam and another 40 at the hatchery outlet. Now that the river has been up for a week, it has cleared up nicely but be careful when wading. There were no significant hatches going on when I got there so I started with my normal FOD, RS2 and Ninja midge combo. First cast I hooked up but he popped off almost immediately. I caught a few small fish in that hole and then decided to make my way upstream to another spot. A few casts in and I hooked and landed my biggest fish of the day, only 18 inches but quite a ride. Between 1:30 and 2:30 I was hooking fish constantly. I hooked one that got me as excited as a Tim Tebow press conference, he took it, all shoulders and then he was off. Heading back down to my car, I was able to stop at several of the rock clusters. Each cluster seemed to be holding two nice fish and half a dozen 13 inchers. The hard part today was trying to get your flies only in front of the big fish because if not, the smaller ones would grab the flies, thrash around and spook the larger ones. I wish I could have stayed but work was calling.

  A couple notes from today; I only saw one adult blue wing above Valco, I think the water is still just a little too cold but getting close. I still saw a lot of fish on redds today, the spawn should end shortly. They are neat to watch but there are tons of other very hungry fish in the river. And lastly, stick with Fluorocarbon because the water is clear. With the quicker water, you really need to go to 4 and 5x tippet. 6x and you will be donating your flies to our river. I had one fish take me across and down river before I was able to slow him down, I couldn’t believe it when he came out of the water and he was only about 15 inches.

  With the other waters starting to open up around the state the river seems to be getting less use from fly fishers but seeing more bait people. The nice thing about fly fishing is that most bait people can’t get to where the fish are.hehe.  We at the Drift Fly Shop are passionate about fly fishing and everything that goes with it and we would love to make your time on the water more enjoyable. This is a perfect time to book a trip for someone that you want to learn how to fly fish. The weather is nice and the fish are feeding. Thank you for reading, Connell 719-543-3900

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Waterproof Camera Review, Panasonic TS-10 and TS-3

  Hello and thank you for reading. When buying different products over the years I always find myself spending hours and hours researching product reviews and prices all over the internet. The problem so often is that I generally get a ton of tech stats, but not really sure what they all mean.  When Cat and I write reviews, please understand that it is only our opinion, based on our use of it. Different people will sometimes see the same thing but differently. Like I always say, they have the right to be wrong..hehe

  A few years back, I was looking for a good water proof camera and checked all my usual reviews. I decided on the Olympus 8000 Stylus Tough waterproof and shock proof camera. From the very beginning, I was not really happy with the camera. The camera had two main settings, one for all general pics and one with the intelligent setting. I would find that if I could get the general setting to focus, the pictures would turn out great. As time went on, it became harder and harder to focus in that mode. I would switch to the IA mode and it would focus but the color was real poor. The final straw came when I was fishing last spring and landed a beautiful 22 inch Bow. I had my friend take a couple pics in both modes and I was totally disgusted when I got home and checked them out. I didn’t feel like I could take the chance of ruining a client picture when they caught a big fish.

   I started researching again and also checked with my friends. One friend had just purchased a Cannon DC-10 and he was real happy with it. I checked out some of his pictures and found the clarity to be excellent. He had taken skiing with us and the action was great. He also took some fishing pics and I thought they were really good. The clarity was nearly perfect but I did notice just a tad bit of color loss. The pics seemed just a tad bit flat but I was thinking I would still buy it.

  I did some more research and started looking into the Panasonic TS-10 and TS-3. The cameras ranged from 250 to 400 dollars. They both had great reviews, with only a few negatives with both. The TS-10 was a 14.1 mega pixel and the biggest complaint was the high resolution would sometimes give a grainy look. The TS-3’s main complaints were the complexity of the GPS feature and the high cost. I went ahead and tried the cheaper TS-10, I found it on ebay for around 175$. The first time out, I was completely sold. The camera was incredibly easy to use and the pics were clear and colorful. I have been using the camera for a year and don’t think I have taken a bad pic yet. The only issues at all are that there is no lens protector, so when carrying it I need to keep it in my pocket to keep the lens from getting scratched. When taking video, I have not found out how to zoom in and out while filming.   Also, with the clear pictures, it is hard to exaggerate the size of my fish. I would rate this camera at a 8 out of 10, with the minus 2 for the issues I wrote about.

  Cat and I began doing videos for the shop and so we went out and tried using the old Olympus, it was getting lonely in the cabinet. After one trip out, it was clear (or not clear) that this camera was not going to work. I was looking into getting Cat the same one as mine but still wanted to do some more research. I saw that the TS-3 had 1080 video and the GPS issues seemed to be gone. Most stores had the TS-3 at around 400$ and seemed just a little pricey. I found one on ebay for 250$ and decided to give it a try. Not that I really care what cameras look like, but we got the blue one and it is as hot as Cat. The camera is full of features including an altimeter, GPS unit, compass, and barometer and to top it off takes awesome pictures and great video. The best feature about the video is that you can zoom in and out, like a video only player, and it automatically focuses itself on point image. The image stabilization is good but not quite the quality of a true video recorder. The underwater features on both models are fantastic. It gives a unique perspective when seeing the fish and bugs underwater. The camera came with movie making software that Cat found very easy to use. The first night, she turned bits and clips into a short movie. We have not spent a lot of time playing with the GPS section but have found that when looking at pictures on our computer and clicking on properties or display, we can read the GPS coordinates. Hopefully we can block it when other people are viewing our pics on line.hehe. We have only had the camera for a month or so but at this time, I would rate it at a 9 out of 10. The minus 1 is because it has the same issue with no lens protection. I can’t see knocking it because of the price because you totally get what you pay for.

  I hope anyone looking for a new waterproof camera finds this review as helpful. We do not sell cameras in the shop so I can assure you there are no ulterior motives. I know after seeing my pics, Alex also purchased the TS-10 and is very happy with it. Both these cameras are totally worth the price, if wanting to spend more time taking video, I would suggest the TS-3 and if taking more pics, I would suggest the TS-10. They are both wonderful cameras. Panasonic got it right when making these cameras and I think all would be very happy with them.
Thanks for reading, Connell

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Fly Fishing Report for March 24th and 25th

   I was able to sneak to the river on Saturday afternoon for a couple of hours. The river bumped up into the 310 to 320 range on Friday and I wanted to check out the conditions myself. With the near record breaking temps, the river was packed with lawn chairs and rafts. Don’t think the swimmers were having as much fun as they thought they would. hehe. The nearer you get to the dam, the clearer the water will be. Fish can still be had, but it is the time of the year that you really need to think about your approach. While fishing deeper, churned up water, I went big and ugly (depth charge). I wanted to make sure they can see what I was serving up. A lot of the water in behind rocks was clear so I went back to my all May fly setup. I hooked several fish but only landed three. While I was on the water I watched a fly fisherman land a 21 incher. Be very careful while wading, if you do not know the section, go to a place you are familiar with. I don’t at all think that the fishery is done for the year. Last year the water came up and then went back down to the mid 200’s. Fishing was awesome into mid May last year.

  Today Cat and I felt the need to get out the pontoon boats, so we headed to La Veta. We are carrying a new Callibaetis pattern in the shop and I wanted to try it out. Cat and I landed close to 150 fish today with the biggest being landed by Cat at 18 and a half inches. The majority of the fish were measuring out between 11 and 14 inches and most had a gut resembling mine(tub-o-lard). Fish were hammering the Callibaetis and red Chrinomidges all day long. My best four were all between 17 and 18 inches. Tactics for the day were to set up in 6 feet of water and throw toward the shore, let it drift out deeper and they seemed to be munching all day long.

 We here at the Drift Fly Shop are passionate about fly fishing. There is still a lot of really good fishing left this spring before the major runoff. If we have not had the opportunity to meet you I hope you stop by the shop some time and say hello. Connell 719-543-3900.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Hunt For Red October

  It all began one sunny afternoon in October of 2010. I was taking my usual afternoon stroll to the City Park walk bridge to watch the fish and that is when I first saw him. Trying to learn as much as I could about trout habits, I have spent a ton of time over the years studying them from the walkover bridge. This day started out like every other; the 21inch silvery female, the two 18inchers that always seem to be at her side were there. The far upper riffle was filled with its usual 6 to 10 fish ranging from 15 to 20 inches. The slow deep run had its usual nice fish intertwined with the nasty pod of suckers. There was an acquaintance fishing the feeding lane riffle below bridge and as I was saying hello, I caught a glimpse of a shadow moving up the deep run and under the bridge. I walked over to the other side and as he emerged from under the bridge I almost soiled myself. He moved up next to miss silver and dwarfed her by about 10 inches. I could not believe what I was seeing. This fish was massive, the guide in me told my friend to cast up under the bridge and into the run below the rock. First cast with his dry dropper rig ended up in the perfect place, the dry moved about 6 inches, stopped and dipped. I yelled set, and as he set the hook, I saw the fish shoot to the left; head shake and snap the line. As he disappeared into the depths, I was reminded of some of the greatest movies of the 70’s and 80’s; the Jaw’s shark tail, and the Hunt for Red October submarines propellers slowly and methodically fading away into the abyss. And thus began my own personal Hunt for Red October.

  Cat and I headed over there the next day but found only the usual suspects. We caught several fish over eighteen inches but left with a yearning for the monster I had seen the day before. Over the next several weeks, I spent countless hours trying to hunt this fish. It was amazing, every time I showed up with my gear, he was nowhere to be found, and if I showed up just to watch, he would slide up into the feeding lane, take a few bites and flip me the fin as he would swim away. In mid January of last year I had two clients in the area when the monster drifted into the feeding lane. I pointed out the fish to my clients and they both got buggy eyed and started to shake a little. I moved in below with one of them and got into the perfect place to drop the emerger in front of him. My mouth went dry with excitement and I had him cast.  First cast was a kind of a round house and he caught the tree to the back and side of us, I nearly cried. We slowly backed out, but before I could get the other client into place, the fish had disappeared. That was the last time I saw him in that spot.

  A couple months later I was fishing about three quarters of a mile down river when I saw what I thought was my old friend and nemesis. He had snuck in to a hole that had some great protection, four boulders, a log and part of an old concrete drainage pipe. I had my gear and started fishing to him. This fish is so smart; he actually has two smaller 21 and 22 inch fish hang out in front of him. First cast I caught the 21 and scattered the others. I spent the next three weeks almost every day trying to catch him. I knew we were getting late in the season and the runoff would be starting very soon. At night, he was the last thing that would go through my head before drifting off. That tail slowly and methodically disappearing away from me, it was becoming maddening. Finally the perfect day, I showed up just as the Blue Wings were coming off and I knew he was vulnerable. He was alone, so no other fish to worry about. I laid the FOD out in front of him and I saw the flash. His power was amazing. I knew I only was fishing with 5x and had to give him some line. I figured he would head for the upper rocks, but actually he turned and ran me over the old concrete pipe. I felt the leader running down the edge and there was nothing I could do. Snap, it was over. That was the last encounter I had with that fish. A couple days later, the water came up and tail water was done till fall.

  The ending of this Blog will take some participation on the part of the readers. I want to partially change movie themes and get you, the readers, to clear your throat, stand up tall, shoulders back and in your very best Morgan Freeman voice finish this blog.

    I have been freed from this fish for some time now and so often I don’t know what to do, I find myself aimlessly wondering the banks of the Arkansas searching for the companionship and pride that only this fish could give to me, I try to pee, but not one drop without thinking about him. How I long to hold him just once and snap a picture. I have not seen him in some while and I think of what he was telling me as he was swimming away, remember your black fly box the one that has no business in your jacket. I think about him all the time,  I miss my old friend, I miss Red October……..


  Thank you for reading these blogs, they have been a riot to write and bringing back some of my old memories gets me excited to keep going back. I had been writing this one for a while but wanted to get it published now because I have an update on Red October.

Heee’sss Back!!!!!!!!!!

  You may not be hearing from me for a few days because I saw either Red October or his brother yesterday while filming. If you are thinking about hiring a guide to catch a true trophy Rainbow, do it quickly because we never know how much time we have. The river will rise soon, and all you will have is the thought of that tail swimming away.

Connell and Cat O’Grady

The Drift Fly Shop 719-543-3900

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

To Fish Or Not To Fish

  Hello and thank you all for your continuing support of the O’Grady fly fishing blog and with a name like ours, I hope you all had a marvelous St Patrick’s Day. I would like to start this blog by apologizing to almost all who have had their feelings hurt over the last few weeks because of my soap box preaching on fishing to redds.  This seems to be the time of the year that brings out the most intense feelings of trout fishing etiquette, so we would like to discuss this a little and hopefully let you form your own opinions. Cat and I went out today and tried to get a little more video of what redds look like so any readers not familiar with what they look like, can recognize them easily.  We also have some hopefully interesting facts on trout spawning. I would also like you to know that what my idea of fishing etiquette to these fish may not be the same as yours and you almost always have the right to be wrong..JK.

  First some fun facts. Rainbow trout maturity ages start between 2-5 years and a one pound female can lay 1,000 eggs per spawn; a three pound fish can lay up to 2,800 eggs. The eggs after fertilization take 4-7 weeks before hatching. After hatching, the fish will carry and feed off the yolk sack for up to 2 weeks. The chasing males you can see is interesting in that the larger males will pair up with females and the smaller males will sit back and wait for them to get distracted and then they dart in and strut their stuff. This is a rare occurrence in the trout family. The survival rate is determined by too many factors to even give a general idea; water temp, water quality, disturbances and predators to start.

   Watching the Pueblo tail water fishery turn from a “put and take” to a true tail water has been a true blessing the last several years. It was four years ago when I first saw a true spawn here in Pueblo. I really had no idea what I was looking at and was wondering why these fish were in the water they were in, why they were chasing each other around, and even more, why they were not interested in my flies. Over the next month I began to figure out what they were doing. I do admit that I tried fishing to them at different times with staggering degrees of success. Talking to much better fisherman than me, I have heard tons of what seems to be contradictory ideas on if they will feed, aggression strike or if they can only be snagged. I have one friend that was once a professional bass fisherman and has no problem at all fishing to redds. He claims that after you catch them, you put them back and they go right back to their beds. With the fishery blossoming into an awesome tail water and the ability to watch these fish live and grow, I think my natural progression has been to try to protect the spawning fish. I will never forget the time I was fishing the Dream stream and landed a beautiful cutbow, after releasing, I felt like caca when I saw she had spilt fifty or so eggs on the bank. I hope with just this little bit of info you will be able to develop your own opinion and I will get off my soap box for now.

  I did see something last week that goes way beyond what I think is okay. Cat and I were walking back down river when I looked down and saw a fly fisherman standing over and swinging flies through a bed. This is not illegal, but just disgusted me as I watched him snag off and put a 22 inch male on a stringer. I was so angry that I cussed at him and then threw a rock at the redd to try and protect the rest of the spawners. Cody, one of our guides, was telling me of a time last year when he walked up on a guy that was raking a treble hook over a bed. Cody told the guy it was illegal and threatened to break his rod and throw it into the river. If you know Cody, he does not seem like the type of person you want to make angry. The guy said “you fly fishing guys think you own this river”. Nope, but we sure enjoy it!!!!

  Thank you for taking the time to read this blog and if you are as passionate about fly fishing as we are, I hope you stop in to The Drift Fly Shop and say hello. Thanks again, Connell 719-543-3900



Sunday, March 18, 2012

Great Quotes with Even Better Fish

  Every year as Spring rolls in, the shop gets steady stream starry eyed anglers in asking if Cat and I are planning to head up to the Dream Stream. It gets me thinking of one of my favorite quotes from one of my favorite actors of all time. Paul Newman was considered one of the sexiest men alive and when asked how he stayed loyal to Joanne Woodward for over fifty years. He smiled and said “why go out for hamburger when can eat steak at home.”

   I was fishing with a friend today and when I first met up with him he asked me if I was planning on heading up to the Dream Stream. Don’t know, I sure like the taste of steak, I answered, then I explained my strange response. Ben has been in the market for a premium rod so I was letting him try out my Winston B2-MX, 9 foot 5 weight. He had fished it on Saturday and was extremely impressed with the casting and ability to blast through the wind and was hoping to hook a pig to see how it fought big fish. Fishing was very interesting today and I could not believe the difference in conditions since Thursday. On Thursday it seemed as if the fish were finishing off the spawn and were moving back into feeding lanes. Today it seemed as if someone had been pumping  Barry Whitefish tunes into the river the last few days. I saw beds everywhere and they all seemed full of big fish. The feeding lanes had fish but they seemed to be smaller. I landed a dozen or so but the largest was only about 13 inches. Ben moved into a slow deeper pool behind me and caught a few big suckers. Then he started getting excited, this fish feels strong as heck but he said he thought he could feel the head shake. The fish headed to the other side and I thought I could see the stripe as it moved to the surface. It kept diving though and I thought maybe it was another sucker. As Ben worked it in he kind of made a little squeal as he saw that it was definitely a rainbow, and a nice one at that. He finally got it landed at it measured off at a plump 20 inches. The biggest fish he has ever landed and the rod and reel made all the difference in the world is what he said. I had to take off shortly after that and that one big fish seemed to make the day.

  I don’t know what Ben will be eating for supper this evening but I would like to say Enjoy the Steak!

This fish is not spilling milt but is urinating!!!!!
   We at the Drift Fly Shop are passionate about our water and fly fishing it. We spend a ton of time on the Ark and know it inside and out. If you would like to learn more about our water, this should be the best time of the year to do it. Fish should be finishing the spawn soon and will be feeding heavy when done. Thanks for reading, Connell 719-543-3900

Friday, March 16, 2012

Fishing Report and Video for March 15, 2012

The fishing was VERY good today on the Arkansas River below Pueblo Dam. They have only brought the water up to 100cfs plus the 40cfs from the hatchery outlet so far which is almost perfect. This video only caught some of the action..... however you bug lovers will like it. I got some good footage of "under rock" and shuck floating action. Enjoy :) Cat

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Spring Time in the Rockies

     It was the top of the fifth and the Rockies were up 7-2 with everything going their way. In comes the middle relief and the first batter gets the brush back, next pitch, plunked in the back. A walk, a single another walk and then a grand slam. Before the Rocks knew what had hit them, the game had finished with a 17-8 loss. Why did they have to poke the proverbial tiger?  

  I know what you are thinking; does he think he is a good enough of a  writer to tackle Baseball? Has he gone crazy? Or is he even writing about baseball?

  The answers: no, maybe and Not Even A Chance!

  Cat and I went fishing today and what an eventful day. I had gone up and around a corner and was hooking fish but kept losing them. Cat walks up and says are you catching a bunch? I have already caught 7 and the biggest was 20 inches (that was the brush back). Next she says “you only caught 2” and then she grinned (the plunk). I know I get accused of being way too competitive, but sometimes you just gotta go with it. Putting on the game face, I pick up 15 of the next 16 fish with a grand slam of a just under 21 incher and a triple 19 incher.

   I have told you all before that I used to play a lot of golf and I had a particular friend that I would always compare my game to. Jim was a scratch golfer and one of the better players around. Playing with a golfer of that caliber made me a much better golfer. Even though he was given seven stokes a round, he could usually beat me. The times that I would beat him it was celebration time, so even though it was not a real big deal beating a scrub like me, my reactions brought out the competitiveness of Jim. I guess in a way it is kind of an honor to be put on those types of pedestals.

  Heading back to the car today, I was thinking about how fishing can be so competitive and got me thinking about a day last October. I had a friend come down from Canon City named John. John has been a friend of mine for over ten years and we have fished together several times. Shortly after he had started fly fishing his schedule got really tight. He barely got to fish for about three years or so and finally started fishing again last year. One day last spring he was down here in Pueblo and he hooked a couple pigs, the first ate his lunch, but the second he had done everything correct and got about a 22 incher up to us twice. Finally it took a quick turn and snap, I thought he was going to cry. So anyway, back to October, I had decided that my number one concern that day would be to get john into and land a big fish. Brandon called the night before and asked if it would be okay if he joined us and I said no problem. We got to the river and everything seemed perfect. It was snowing and we were the only anglers on the water. About ten minutes in, Brandon started grunting and we saw his rod was bent over. He then fought and landed a beautiful 19 inch buck rainbow. The next few hours I put John into ever hole that I know holds big fish. We were not hooking anything big but were catching gobs of little fish. We finally got into my favorite hole and after getting John set up in the perfect place he took a couple casts. One intense take and snap, then arms up in the air in disgust. I gave him my rod and started working on rerigging his rod. A couple more casts and BANG!!, out of the water and it was on. Seeming like forever, we finally got Johns fish landed. It was a healthy 18 inch rainbow. I think I was as relieved as he was. We fished a little longer and then we decided to fish our way back to the car.

   The walk back was odd, all of a sudden Brandon and John were walking by themselves, away from me. I could hear them talking but  they were talking low enough so that I could not hear. Then it hit me, my biggest fish of the day had only been about 14 inches, and I was sure that was what they were talking about. Could this finally be the day? It got very difficult to act cool on the way back and I started cherry picking all the best holes. Ever step, they were fidgeting more and more and I could see it was taking everything they had not to start talking trash. Finally we had made it to the last corner before we were to cross and get out. They were both twitching bad as I said “alright lets go” I felt a little like the Devil after losing his golden fiddle, I knew that I had been beat. A couple of steps across and I see a fish rise on the far side. One cast, and like in an eighties hero movie and in slow motion this pig jets himself about a foot out of the water. Everything went deathly silent and then I heard a collective ugh…behind me, followed by “are you freaking kidding me”. A couple minutes later, John netted and measured my fish. Un-freaking-believable..21 inches. I just smiled and said its okay; we all had a good day today.

   So I have decided that if I am ultra competitive, maybe it is not entirely my fault. I think I will just take it as a great honor to be the angler that other anglers compare themselves too. And always remember, it is a long season, at one time the Rockies were up 8 games last year.

   Thank you for reading these blogs, it is a blast to write them and share some of our stories. Cat and I are passionate about fly fishing and everything that goes along with it. If you have the same love and we do not know you, we wish you would stop by The Drift Fly Shop sometime and introduce yourself. The pictures are from the snowy October day and  up in the tree was a Bald Eagle looking for food. Cat will post a fishing report from today later.

Thanks, Connell

The Drift Fly Shop 719-543-3900

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

In The Shadows

     Act Thrice

   My own personal Teddy Roosevelt will be the next in this series. Studying the history of this president made it easy to pick out my own personal Teddy, not necessarily because I learned so much about fly fishing from him but because they are both so confused, politically speaking, as to what they believe. My friend is always telling me about getting so flustered at work because of political arguments he gets into. What is so funny is that when he talks about what he believes in, it is the exact opposite of what his political affiliation believes in, just like Teddy. Teddy was considered to be a great conservative and yet started the whole National park system. Teddy worked hard to push for the completion of the Panama Canal and even started his own political party when the conservative part distanced themselves from him. On the domestic front, he was the instigator of the “square deal “program and spent his entire adult life in politics.

   The first time I met Scott or better known as Scooter was in the shop several years ago. It was a short introduction as he was heading out but Cat had told me that we had a lot in common. A couple weeks later I was getting out of my vehicle at Monarch ski area and he was right in front of me. I said hello Scooter and he looked at me and had no idea who I was. I told him I was Cat’s husband and he lit up like a Christmas tree and invited me to join him on the slopes. We had an absolute blast that day as I got to ski with him and his two friends. Skiing, like fly fishing is best enjoyed when doing it with others that have similar abilities. Spending a whole day untangling your friend’s lines or waiting at the bottom of the hill for your friend to get through the bumps is not very fun. Scott, Tom and Leroy were not that way at all, they could get it done!!! We hit it off immediately and began skiing and fishing together regularly.

   Before I get into what I have learned from Scooter, I want to tell you a little about my idea of fly fishing up to this point.  I first learned to fly fish on the upper Arkansas and some of the smaller streams that drain into the Ark. It did not matter if it was a 4inch brookie or a 13inch brown, I was completely hooked. Now, if you know anything about me, I am very competitive and could only measure the success of the day by the numbers I had caught. I remember one time, Cat and I were fishing Grape and we were both pushing 150 fish. I though the best way to measure the success was to see how full of **** people thought I was. I would try some of the catch and release areas but did not have the patience because we were not hooking fish on every cast and then we would almost always end up back at easy waters.

   After fishing with Scooter a few times I remember asking him how many fish he had caught that afternoon, that way I could tell him I had caught one more, just kidding. He looked over and said “you are not one of those counters, are you?” As quick as a whip I came back with you are not one of those picture takers, are you? I can tell you this, over the next several years, I have been blessed with the ability to fish with Scooter on a regular basis. Watching Scott fish is like looking at a beautiful mountain sunset oil painting. At first you are like that’s cool, and then as you stair, you lose yourself in the way the colors have been blended into a totally mesmerizing masterpiece. Scott is quiet, smooth, and observant and almost seems to melt into his surroundings. Scott can catch a 13 inch bow and he sees how the belly is swollen or the light markings on its jaws, and with browns, like a finger print, he points out the masterpiece marking on its sides. Scott takes the time to collect bugs and study them for future tying and he seems to notice everything around him. One of my best secrets in tying came from an observation Scott had made.

   I would like to say that I am a little more at peace with my surrounding because of my friendship with Scott. I know I have become much more observant of what is going on around me. I think I am a little less competitive and trying to enjoy everything about fishing, Cat may disagree on that one. It has been years since anyone has out fished me so I can’t know for sure (hehe). The greatest thing I have learned from Scott is to try to enjoy everything about fishing. Picking up rocks and seeing the bugs, watching for birds, seeing all the perfection that God has set out for us to enjoy. So even though Scooter is a little confused politically, I would have to say, I am glad I have had the opportunity to call him a friend.

  We here at The Drift Fly shop are passionate about fly fishing and everything that goes with it. The next several weeks should be the best of the year for fishing the tailwater. Thursday will be the end of the winter storage at the reservoir so we will be experiencing some fluctuations in the flows. The water will go up and down till runoff and fishing will be exceptional on the right days. If you are not getting the results you would like than I would suggest that you make an investment in your future fishing fun and book a trip now. We love to teach and watch clients hook into that first monster, makes me smile just thinking about it. Thanks for reading, Connell

The Drift Fly Shop 719-543-3900

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Sunday March 11th Fishing Report

   And Trivia question for the day.

 The Trivia question for the day is ; How do you know exactly where your friends have been fishing when they have only given you general information? Answer will be at the end of this blog.

  Cat and I went into the Reservoir drive area this morning. We were excited when we got up and saw it was sprinkling and overcast. Unfortunately, shortly after we got to the river the sun came out.  Fishing was good most of the day but I would not say great.You can tell when some of the best pctures are of Winston. I Landed somewhere between 12 and 15 with the largest one being a 20 inch male. Perfect timing because Alex and his kids were skating by at the time and were able to take picturess. Cat landed several with the largest being 15 inches.  Did not see a lot of midges but between 2:00 and 3:00, we did get to see our first blue wing hatch of the year. I think the fish were as surprised as I was when the may flies started hatching, so they did not start keying on them. Saw a lot of “large spawners” through the corridor. Beautiful fish but please leave them alone and let them get their groove on.

   Seeing the blue wings coming off tells me that fishing should just explode over the next few weeks or so. If you are not getting the results you are looking for or just wanting to get better at tailwater fishing, this would be a great time to book a trip. The learning curve at this time of the year is steep and you can become an expert in no time. Thanks, Connell

  The Drift Fly Shop 719-543-3900

  Now, before we get to the trivia answer, I have to explain a few things. I have been tying and fishing my own unique patterns over the last several years.  Most of them are not that secretive but very affective. We also carry some of my patterns in the shop. I have showed friends over the years how to tie several of them. Danny has become exceptional at tying several of them and has gone on and taught his brother in law Josh how to tie them. Josh has been posting pictures of his improved FOD and I have to admit, tying them with biots, he makes them look awfully good.

  Answer to the trivia… Check the trees…

   I was fishing across from a tree today and snagged a branch on the other side. I knew the water was not real deep so I headed over and found a smorgasbord of what I thought were my flies. Four different setups with three flies each, yep do the math twelve flies!  I thought about it and realized they were not mine because I had not fished that spot in several weeks. They had to be from Dan and Josh so I wondered was this there way of decorating a Christmas tree? It wasn’t even a fir. Were they thinking Dr Seuss was for real when he wrote Three Fish In a Tree?  Don’t know exactly but I appreciate the donation and it was great to think that your friends were fishing this exact spot just yesterday. The picture is of what I pulled out of the tree, minus an RS2 I fished as a finders fee.Hehe

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Fishing Report 03/08/2112

    Arkansas Tailwater in Pueblo

  Cat and I snuck out to the river this afternoon and had an exceptional day. We got on the water about 1:30 and started catching fish almost immediately. Fish seemed to be feeding in tail outs of runs and were eating Ninjas, Winston Caddis, blood worms and grey midges. Fish were feeding heavily from the time we got to the water till about 4:00 and then they really slowed down. We landed about twenty between us with most in the 13 to 15 inch range. The biggest was a 20.5 inch buck rainbow. It is a great time to get out and observe fish in their natural spawning beds , we saw beds everywhere with lots of Bows actively getting their groove on. Please, don’t fish to fish on beds, they have other things on their minds.

   Fishing seems very easy to Cat and I right now and we tend to forget what it is like to struggle. Cat ran into a pair of anglers today and they told her they were having a very slow day. We have been hearing a lot of this lately in the shop, four groups will be in the shop saddened by their disappointing day and the next group will come in glowing from the gobs of big fish they have caught. If you have ever wanted to learn more about catching tail water fish, this is a great time to learn. The guides at The Drift Fly Shop will work very hard to give you a great learning experience. If you just want to catch the pigs, we know where they are as well, but you better bring you’re a-game. Thanks, Connell and Cat

  The Drift Fly shop 719-543-3900

The video is from today, enjoy!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Most Amazing Picture Ever

  Alex informed me that he would be e-mailing me an Amazing picture from yesterday. Anxiously, my mind was running fast; did he snap a picture of a Yeti? Did he have a run in with an alien? With Easter around the corner, did he see the Easter Bunny? Oh my gosh, the most AMAZING  and ELUSIVE picture ever!!!!!!!!Proof in the way of a pic of his twenty one inch hen….Okay, well I think if you can’t laugh at yourself or friends than you will be missing the greatest joke of your generation. Thanks, Connell                                                        
 Just having fun Alex, what a beautiful Fish!!!!!!                                                                    

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Project Healing Waters

  Alex and I got the chance to host The Denver Project Healing waters group today on the Arkansas. Project Healing waters is a national group of Veterans that have the common interest of fly fishing. We guided the group in the morning and fished with them in the afternoon. Fishing on the Ark is definitely starting to pick up with several fish landed in the morning and the largest fish being a 22.5 inch bow. This was Gary’s second day ever with a fly rod and he will be hooked for life, must have had a GREAT guide. We had the afternoon lull from about 11:30 to 1:00, but fishing picked up after that. We got to fish with the group and I landed about ten, with the largest being 20 inch bow. I had to take off and get to my real job about 2:00, but Alex stayed and finished the day landing a 21 inch hen. Sorry, I do not have pics for proof, but this time I will believe him.

   Fishing is really starting to pick up again here in Pueblo. If you are not getting the results you are looking for, book a trip and we can make you time on the water more enjoyable. We here at The Drift Fly Shop spend a ton of time fishing, scouting and studying the habits of these fish. Thanks for reading, Connell.  The Drift Fly Shop 719-543-3900

Sunday, March 4, 2012

In The Shadows

    Part Deux

   Going back to my earlier blog series on my own personal fly fishing Mount Rushmore, the next most popular president seemed to be the next logical step. Abraham Lincoln was known mostly for two things; the emancipation of the slaves and his honesty. With all the stories I have heard over the years from anglers it would be very difficult to make that “honest” connection, and slavery, that will be a stretch as well, but I think although extremely corny, I can do it.

   The first year Cat worked in the shop she would come home almost every day telling me stories about what one or another fisherman was doing to catch fish.  Going to the water she would try so many things that her head would nearly explode. Some ideas turned out okay but as time went by and seeing many of the story tellers on the water, we have become very skeptical of the “only right way “to catch the fish.

  One of the greatest storytellers over the years has been Tony, better known as Antz, to his friends. Tony is one of the few people than has me completely captivated when telling stories. His voice inflections, his arm waving, his facial contortions and most of all his sound effects, are like no other. If you were to close your eyes, you would think you were on the river hearing the hook set, his reel scream, and the water splashing, his movement on the water and last his net landing the monster. When he finishes telling his fishing stories, he goes on to wrestling, friendships, golf and whichever direction his story  goes he has you just as entranced as the story before. When strangers come in the shop they would stop listen and fall into the Tony trance until he was done, sometimes minutes, sometimes hours, always entertaining. Naturally, I was not one hundred percent convinced he wasn’t full of ****.

  Before talking about fishing with Antz, I need to let you know that prior to fishing with him, my idea of sight fishing was going to the crystal clear Taylor and tossing my junk at every pod of fish. The first time I had the privilege of fishing with Antz was on the “Dream Stream”. It was an accidental meeting when Cat and I were walking up the river and just as we saw a small pod of fish, in crystal clear water, Antz and his son walked up. He looked in and told me to go ahead, nervously because of Toney’s stature, two casts in and I landed my first fish of the day, a 17 inch cutty.  Unfortunately she spilled a few eggs while I was getting a pic, but nonetheless, I stood up with my chest sticking out a little farther (yep I’m the man!). We walked up the river across from each other with Antz slowly surveying the water all the way. The water dirtied and riffled more as we walked up. Every now and again, he would stop turn his head a little, take another look and cast. He was seeing so many fish that naturally I thought he was full of it, but he kept hooking fish left and right. I figured it was just the side of the river he was on so I switched, but it was just the same, I was seeing squat and he was hooking fish. We walked up the river about a mile and then back down, I could not believe the vision that Antz possessed. We got back down into one of the lower bends and he started showing me a pod of fish, I had no idea what he was looking at but went along with him anyway. He told me to stay put because they were moving up. He hurried up past them and started slapping the water, when he told me they were almost on me I casted. The indicator only moved a short distance and Bang. The wake headed straight down stream about forty yards. I was able to chase down and land a beautiful 22 inch bow. I was not The Man, He was!

  So how do I make the connection with Antz and Mr. Lincoln, after watching him in action, He just may get the Honest Abe award for the stories, and heck if his fishing stories are true, maybe the rest are as well. I choose to believe! Next comparison will be as hokey and corny as you can get and please …I do not mean to offend anyone. If you ever have spent time on the Dream Stream than you know how your dreams can turn to nightmares in a hurry, as you drive the two and a half hours the thoughts in your head are of 30 inch fish and lots of them, and when you leave you are stunned to have only caught a few in the 12 inch range. At times you feel you like you are a complete “slave” to these Dream Stream monsters, did you catch it, the subtlety. Maybe if you are lucky, as I have been, you can be “freed” from the nightmares of the dream stream. What a blessing it has been over the year to get to know and fish with Antz, the tips and techniques I learned from him have made me a much better fisherman and my time on the water is so much more enjoyable.

   Writing these blogs has really been a lot of fun for Cat and I. They get us thinking about all the blessings that our friends have been to us. If you have not been to The Drift Fly Shop in Pueblo and you are in town, I hope you stop by and say hello. You just may catch an Oscar performance by Tony. We are passionate about fly fishing here and loving meeting others that are just like us.

   Since Tony has no idea that I am writing this blog on Him, I was not able to get his permission to put up any of the pics that his best friends have given to me. So legally, I am saying that these pics may, or may not be of Ant’z, if they are not than they look just like him. Also, the goober in the blue coat was me with the fish he practically put on my line. The other pics are Jeff and his son.

   The next subject in this series, Teddy Roosevelt, has already been spoken for. I am still contemplating my Andrew Jackson; I have some ideas but if you would like to volunteer or know someone that fits that description, feel free to let me know or leave a comment. Thanks for reading, Connell

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Seeing the Stripe

  Tuesday Cat and I got to fish for the first time in a week. The sky was bright Blue Bird and the wind was howling. The section we went into saw the Bow’s laying in frog water and barely moving. We fished for four hours and only landed two. We hooked several but the size 24 midges were pulling out way too often (my excuse). I knew I had a guide trip going out the next morning with the perfect kind of client, someone that has struggled catching tail water fish and desperately wanted to learn how. Checking the weather report I saw that Wednesday called for Blue Bird skies, only 10 mph wind and 60 degrees. The warmth told me that the river would be packed and the clear skies told me that the fish would be super spooky with only a short window for active feeding.

   I was surprised to see only a few cars when we arrived and was excited after meeting my client and seeing his true humility with wanting to learn. The wind was blowing much harder than forecasted so I was hoping he could cast. We headed up the path and I asked him a few questions about what he knew and I realized by his answers that he knew a lot more about fly fishing than he thought. The first spot we stopped was the perfect place to begin learning. We were able to stand above a riffle that came at us, deepened and then turned against the bank. We were able to see the shadows of the fish and see what type of water they were holding in and the direction they were facing. We then walked down and my client started casting, we worked on line management the first half an hour, drifting though the riffle where the fish were holding. I was a little surprised that we didn’t pick anything up but he picked up the line management very quick. We walked up to the next run and at the tail end we spotted several fish chasing midges on the bottom. On his first cast, the indicator landed just behind the fish and he stripped perfectly until the bow grabbed it and starting running. First fish of the day was a healthy 14inch bow. The next was a 17inch female followed by a 16inch male that had teeth like a small shark. We fished that hole for another half hour or so hooking and catching several more fish. We started seeing fish rising all around and decided to move to the riffle just up above. Scouting it out, we could see several shadows feeding like crazy. He hooked 15 or so and probably landed ten before taking a break to jot down some notes and thoughts before moving back into the lower hole. We fished that for a while with a couple hookups before we decided to check out the riffle one more time before calling it a day. And then we saw it, glowing like neon on the Vegas strip, conservatively 21 to 23 inches,  a solid deep red stripe, about fifteen feet out from us . The wind had picked back up and after putting my client at ease, by telling him he had to make the perfect cast or blow the chance, he started casting. The first two casts were blown below the fish and luckily did not spook him. Then he laid it out perfectly, five feet in front, perfect upstream mend, tighten the line and  BANG, out of the water about a 22 inch male pig of a rainbow. The first run was fifteen feet across, then straight up river then across and down. We started chasing him and made our way to the other side, my client was able to work him into the slower pool where the Rainbow’s face finally surfaced and teetered a few times as if he were saying “I quit and I have been had, congratulations”. I was so proud of my client and what seemed to be a near flawless battle with this beauty. A deep breath of relief and triumph was half way out and then it was over, a quick head shake and he was gone with all three flies. We stood for a second with jaws barely above the water and after what seemed to be an eternity, we both just smiled. The day was complete…

  What joy sight fishing can be, but with the understanding that chasing shadows all day can make it difficult to sleep at night. The images of the fish and the sounds of the splashing water never seem to stop echoing in your head. Sometime the fish are just laying flat on the bottom, sometimes you see the white of their mouths as they are feeding, sometimes you can just see the shadows moving around, but nothing much compares to when that shadow turns into the giant red stripe.  Slab, pig, toad and troutzilla are some of the common names; I just call them my personal gift from God.

   What a joy and thrill it is to fish and teach how to sight fish to these beauties. With the water low and clear for the next few weeks, this is the perfect time to learn sight fishing and to recognize different trout behavior. We at The Drift Fly Shop are passionate about fly fishing and teaching the different techniques. We would love to hear from you if want to learn new techniques or just unfamiliar with the area and want to have a great day on the river. We have several slots open over the next two weeks. To book a trip call The Drift at 719-543-3900. Thanks for reading, Connell