Sunday, March 31, 2013

Happy Easter!!!!!

  Hello to all of our faithful readers and followers, Cat and I want to wish you all the greatest Easter ever. It is a great thing to know where you will spend eternity. For the Pueblo people, today marks the end of Spring Break. I know “ironic” may be the most wrongly and overused word in the English language but I think it is a little ironic that I spent my last day of Spring Break getting “schooled” by a bunch of fish. Winston, Cat and I spent most of the day on the river and all I can say is that you needed you’re A+++ game today. We caught fish but had to earn each one. The water dropped another 20 cfs last night and the bright sunny day made for very spooky fish. In five hours on the water today I saw 1bwo (1 not a hatch) and I saw a few midges sparingly throughout the day. We saw lots of fish but there feeding patterns seemed to be off and on. I kept trying different bugs all day long and found that the True Blood and size 24 Ninja seemed to be the only bugs getting any real action. We are still seeing fish on beds but lots of fish in the slower slack water recuperating from getting it on.  Looking at the weather forecast for next week it looks as if we might get a little precip and at least a little cloud cover. The bwo’s should explode this week with a little cloud cover. Again I wanted to thank you all for checking in ; Connell, Cat, Winston and The Drift Fly Shop…….


Friday, March 29, 2013

In The Spot Light!

When I first moved to Colorado up in Winter Park I found that there really wasn’t a lot to do once the sun went down. The snowy nights were by far my favorite. Whenever the snow was dumping I loved getting in my car, cranking up “The Wall”, and cruising the highways. I would turn on the high beams and the enormous snowflakes would visually become straight lines coming at me, it was kind of like the “Hyperspace” clips in the old Star Trek shows. My complete focus was on the visual tunnel in front of me made everything else just fade away. So often I get that same tunnel vision while fly fishing.

Thursday was a fun but very different day for us on the water. One of The Drift’s great friends and customer has been working on a new “Top Secret” video project and had asked Alex to help him out. The plan for the day was to do some video for the project as well as a promo for the shop. With Cat and my tinkering with the videos over the last year it was both nerve racking and exciting to be in the presence of a true professional in the industry. Sam has made a few top notch A+ videos that sell the shop; “Colorado Cane” and “Designed to Deceive” are a few of his best.

Cat and I met Sam and Alex on the water at about 10:00 and Cody showed up just after that. Alex jumped in and started hooking fish very quickly; we didn’t have a lot of room so I went up around the corner and started tossing bugs. I got five to the net in just a few minutes and I thought I better head back down. Alex had just finished some of his takes and I was up next. I was definitely nervous since I don’t have the same ability to edit Sam’s clips. First cast and it was money, the fish hammered it but after a quick fight he spit it back at me. In just a few minutes I landed a couple of others and so I felt like I was off the schnied. We moved up around the corner and when Cat decided to finally ignore me, I was trying to tell her where to fish, she moved into a spot she liked with and started to hook fish (proud hubby). It was about that time that I started doing something that I never do. I started watching Alex, Cody and even Cat as to their technique. Like I said in the opening, I get very tunnel minded when I am on the river. What I saw yesterday however was Magic! Alex and his long line nymphing, Cody and his stealthy, no indicator nymphing and Cat’s sweet sweet flow of her casts. We hooked several in that spot and Cat and I decide to head up to the Glory Hole and see if it was open. We were very surprised, but completely happy to see only one person standing way at the bottom section. Cat and I moved into the upper run and waited for the rest of the crew to show up. It was the longest and toughest ten minute wait I have ever experienced in my life. Standing over feeding fish and not picking them off while my mind was telling me that every shadow was the 25 incher was exhausting. Well the crew finally got there and was ready to roll, second cast and it was sad, good take but only about a 12incher and I knew it had raised the threat level of the bigger fish to code red. We fished that spot for about an hour with a good number of hookups and a fair number of lands.

Thoughout the day I think we had all asked Sam if filming was driving him nuts and offered to allow him to fish for a while but he continued to politely decline. Sam’s battery had finally run down and Alex talked him into going ahead and fishing a little. I had just broken off so I decide to sit down and watch. I could see Sam was a little nervous and before casting was making excuses about how Alex’s rod felt strange and I felt a little nervous for him. The next thing I saw blew me away, Sam stripped some line out and with one perfect loop tossed one of the most beautifully, tight casts about thirty feet up that landed like butter. It was like I was standing on number 18 tee box and after letting my caddy hit my tee shot, I realize it was Tiger Woods. Yep, I felt a little silly that Sam was filming us all day long. I don’t remember if it was the first cast or the second but it was money. How could any fish deny the perfect cast. We fished for a while longer and then we all had to go.

I was thinking about what an enjoyable day I had fishing with the whole crew. I tend to think my way is the only way but Thursday I realized my way is not the only, just the best(hehe). We saw a few more bwo’s come off Thursday but the fish still didn’t seem to really key in on them. As the hatches intensify over the next few weeks, the fishing should explode off the charts. I will stick with my usual saying that fishing is very good but not easy right now. Fish were mostly on small black midges on the cloudy days and the True Blood and Egg patterns on Sunny days. As always, thanks for reading, Connell, Cat, Winston, The Drift Fly Shop and Also a big thank you to Sam Ebersol…..

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Arkansas River, Early March 2013

Hello all and as always thanks for checking in at the O’Grady flyfishing adventures blog. Cat and I have had a great time fishing this March and have put a little of the enjoyment on video. We have video of our two best fish over March and have also added a special guest cameo and ended the video with a few idiot outtakes. We watched Monty Python and remembered how enjoyable outtakes can be. As always, thanks for watching, Connell, Cat, Winston and The Drift Fly Shop…

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Fish Herding......

  Well it’s that’s time of year again and the fly fishing feathers are getting ruffled. The annual spring rainbow spawn can bring out the worst emotions in the gentlest of people. I have tried to be quiet this year and have not seen many issues one way or another and then just in the last few days I have heard about some near brushes with fisticuffs. One thing I hope we all try to keep in mind is that it is a personal decision and is totally legal. I have found many beginners fishing over redds because they had no idea what it was. Personally I do not fish to actively spawning fish for a few reasons. One is that typically they are not feeding and they end up getting foul hooked (yuck). Second and most important is that I look at fish as friends, and if I had a friend that his wife was only in the mood once a year, I would do everything I could to ensure his success during that time.

  I saw something the other day and I was going to write about it right away but was worried the people I am talking about are readers and may get their feelings hurt. I had started fishing and walked by a couple of guys that were standing with their heels on two separate beds and casting into the rock structure that they had spooked the fish into. I know they were there for at least two hours and not sure how they were doing but did see them hook one fish. I told Cat about it and she started laughing and said “fish herding”. I was like what, and she said it was the newest craze where you round up the fish into one spot and lasso them with your fly line. I looked oddly at her for a second and then she finally busted up laughing, Cat is not normally that quick to the joke but I think nine years of being an O’Grady has paid off.

  Now on to today, I ran up to Valco at about 3:00p.m. and was rewarded with a wonderful afternoon on the water. I started at the pump house and landed the best looking fish of the day on the second cast, a beautiful, hooked jaw 20 inch male. He was quickly followed by a 17 and then a 14 incher. I was satisfied after ten minutes on the water. I worked my way all the way up to the hatchery with varied degrees of luck. It seemed that someone had pumped some Barry White music into the water because I saw a lot of fish getting it on. It was kind of funny because I got to a spot where I know there is a red and I saw one guy fishing over it. I started in below him and quickly hooked and lost four fish, I moved up across from him and landed two with one of them being about 18inches. I moved back where I started and landed seven or eight with most of the in the 14 to 16 inch range. I watched out of the corner of my eye and only saw the guy hook one. Another reason I don’t fish redds(hehe). There are gobzoodles of fish that are not currently doing the “wild thing” and are just looking to be treated to a good dinner.

   I moved back down and ended the day with one of the most enjoyable hours of fishing I have had in a while. I have not stayed late in quite a while but may need to add that time back to the repertoire. About 5:45 I was in the riffle above the money hole and the fish just turned on. Every third cast or so and it was money, my biggest of the day, a 21inch female, hit and ran me across the river and went airborne a few times before I finally wrangled her to the net. The sounds of very big fish coming out of the water and belly flopping could be heard from 50 yards. As I was nearing the money weir I heard a top water swirl that sounded like the one I heard from the big brown last fall. I saw where he was and moved in and casted, nothing for a few minutes and he swirled again on the other side. I quickly cast a few times and he nailed it, he hit it and ran so fast that by the time my heart even skipped a beat he was off. Sometimes you just have to smile; he kicked my tail “Big Time”. I headed back down to the pump house and picked up a few more and it was time to end the day. Flies of fury today were a tube wing and mercury black beauty in a size 24 and also picked up a couple on a caddis larva (the close to the dam, the smaller the bugs). The river was very empty today and like I said I could not believe how enjoyable that last hour was. Sometimes with all the hustle and bustle of the fishing I forget to really take in the sounds of the water and everything around me.  

    The spawn should be tailing off as we get later into March, if you have any questions to the ethical, biological or fishability of the river right now please don’t be afraid to ask. We are always willing to teach at the Drift. As always, thanks for reading, Winston, Connell, Cat, Alex and The Drift Fly Shop…….

                                           20 inch hook jaw

Poster Child For The Cake Diet !


                                           21 inch female

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Texas Hold'em

Several years ago I noticed Cat starting to spend more time on the computer and I asked her what she was doing. Cat had started playing free Texas hold ‘em off her facebook account. I had never seen it before but thought it sounded way more intriguing than killing time playing solitaire. She set me up an account and I was off to the races. I started with free 2000 chips and on the 2 and 4 dollar tables. What I quickly found out and fell in love with was that every table was a little different. On hands when the idiots aren’t going all in, the rush can be almost overwhelming. I remember one night begging for the right river card and when it flipped, it filled out my straight. My heart was pounding, my hands were sweating, I started pumping my fist and Cat just looked over and laughed.  Well, like most things I worked my way up and went from the 2-4$ table to the 100-200k tables and then one night it happened. My down cards were a jack and ace of clubs, the flop gave me the ten and king. My heart was trying to jump out of my chest and people started betting; the turn was it, the queen and the magical Royal Flush was mine; I didn’t care about the river card and I didn’t even bet in fear that everyone else would fold. A couple people bet and I just called. Several nh’s and a few fu’s and it was my best hand ever. I am way too cheap to ever play for real money but it’s crazy how thoroughly wrapped up in the game I became and it’s not even real. I have continued to play over the years and have realized how similar it is to flyfishing.

  Sometimes I get on a table and everyone acts like a cowboy and goes all in on every hand. I wait a couple hands maybe call them idiots and find a new table. Kind of reminds me of the bait guys in the special regs section. In hold’em we tell them bingo is down the hall, in fishing we tell them they need to go above or below the special regs section. Every table seems to play different; one table is “all in” mania and the next plays like real poker. In fishing; some days make me feel like a king and other days make me feel like I need to retake flyfishing 101. I have seen incredible sportsmanship, both ways on the tables and the river. I watched a guy win a pot with four of a kind and everyone on the table tells him very nice hand and on other days I have watched people threaten each other after someone wins a pot with a low pair. On the river I have seen the same; some of you have heard the unfortunate story of the bait and stinger guys I met up with this summer in the special regs section, I also remember the run in with the guy snagging bows off a bed and putting it on the stringer.
With the bad I have also seen a lot of great sportsmanship on the water too.  I watched one bait guy walk a half a mile trying to find a taker for a fish that he accidently killed. I can’t tell you how many people have turned in fly boxes worth several hundred dollars and other equipment they found on the river. The local TU chapter puts together trash collecting days for the river and they don’t even get paid.
Just like fly fishing some days on the tables you have one really good hand after another and other days you just hold on and try to break even with one good hand.  The river can be much the same great days, easy days, difficult days and just plain SUH-WEET days. I think that possibly the biggest similarity is that in the grand scheme of life, it really doesn’t mean anything, it just make me feel good.

  I was able to sneak to the river this afternoon and had one of those really fun days. First cast I landed a 14 incher and the fish just kept coming. Every stop produced two or three fish and almost all were in that feisty 14 to 18 incher category; kind of like pulling straights and trips on twenty out of twenty five hands. For our normal readers, Sunday was the Royal Flush of fish day that I won’t soon forget but days like today can just make a person glad to be alive. Fly du jour was the black tube midge in a size 24 and I also picked up a couple of fish on a caddis larva. Still saw lots of spawning fish and am anxiously awaiting the arrival of the bwo’s. I was looking through last years notes and saw the 24th of March was the first real bwo hatch I saw and the fish started keying in on them around the first of April.

  I will close this blog with a little insight as to the strangeness of the weird things that go through my brain while I am fishing. The song that has been stuck on and off over the last several years is so hoakie that I think even the Virginia Tech athletics would be a little embarrassed however, I think it will be apropos to go along with this blog.  So here it goes, think back to the old movie the Gambler with Kenny Rodgers(if you remember it than you are old) If you can’t remember the movie try to think of the son and follow along with my angler’s lyrics.


     You’ve got to know when to float them, you’ve got to know when to sink them

     You’ve got to know when to change flies, and know when to mend

     You don’t count your fishies, when you standing in the river

      They’ll be time enough for counting, when the fishings done……


   Yes , I have a strange, strange mind but I continue to entertain myself. As always thanks for reading and hope you get a laugh out of some of my writing. I must warn you though, even though the song is hoakie, if you know it, you will find yourself humming or singing it next time on the river(sorry for that..hehe)

   Winston, Connell, Cat and The Drift Fly Shop……..


 A few from Tuesday…


Sunday, March 10, 2013

All Smiles !!!!

  I will open this blog with a quote from A River Runs Through It.  “The Good Lord has blessed us all today, it just seems He was particularly good to me”.  I can’t begin to tell you what a strange day it was on the river today. Cat and I wanted to check out the improvements in the Reservoir Drive area this morning and we got to the river around 11:00. We found quite a few fish in super slow water and not seeming to do much.  We fished the area for an hour and a half with me catching one and Cat catching two. We decided to head up river and  went in to the Nature Center. We hooked a few fish right away and as we moved up we ran across a pretty good midge hatch.  The fish just seemed better than me, I was watching fish feeding all around me but I could not get them interested in anything. I told Cat I was about done and she said that was fine and that it would be a great day to take a bike ride. Luckily for me, right then I hooked and landed another feisty little fish. I went ahead and moved up around the corner and ran into Steve Fieldman. We spotted a bunch of fish on the far side and fished to them for about ten minutes but the fish kept flipping us the middle fin. We moved up into the next section and a couple of casts in I hooked my biggest tree of the day, he broke everything off which I think turned out to be a blessing. I had thought about completely rerigging because I saw my tippet was getting warn so the tree forced me to go fresh. While rigging I saw what I thought was either a new log or a Giant bow. I casted a few times and realized I had forgotten to add weight. After adding weight I casted, first trip past and he nailed it. The fish made a few quick runs but I was able to keep him just a few feet into the riffle right where I think he thought he was getting the upper hand. I tried moving him closer to me in the slower water but every time he moved out of the riffle he would make a quick hard run away. My heart was racing like I had just run a 4 minute mile and a few times I feared the rod was ready to explode(Winstons Rock). Well on about the sixth attempt at pulling him out of the riffle I was able to net him, a measured twenty five inch bow. The girth on him was enormous and I was having problems getting my hand around his tail to get him out for the pics. The smile will be chiseled on my face for the next week or so, or until I see a pic of a bigger fish than mine.

  I believe that our little piece of heaven here has become a true tailwater. At time I am ready to pull my hair out because these fish with the brain the size of a pea can make me look like a complete moron, and then Bang, out of the blue, I land my largest fish ever. What a day, emotions all over the place, I will sleep well tonight and I am sure I will wake with a giant smile on my face. Fly of the day was Cat’s SOL. Eddie gets the bravery award, he got to the water as quick as he could after work but forgot his boots, BURRRRRR! As always Winston, Connell, Cat and The Drift Fly Shop would like to thank you for reading..

P.S. Brandon my son has been holding the crown for the largest O'Grady family fish the last few years so he has cut back on his time on the water, Brandon it is time to get back to the river,
You Have Been Served!!!!hehe

A Few More


Sunday, March 3, 2013

Golden Of Goldens

  So the other night after open tying I had a customer approached me and ask what it would cost to hire Winston as a guide for a day. I was crushed and like a horrible nightmare memories flashed through my mind of how my puppy has become more popular than myself. One memory of how someone had asked me to post more fish pics with Winston and less of my ugly mug. Our blog fans continue to ask for more Winston cams in the videos and I can’t tell you how many people recognize me on the river because of Winston. Well I cried inwardly for a while and when we got home I whined to Cat about Winston's job offer and newly acquired fame. Cat could see how it had hurt me so deeply and immediately gave me about an hours worth of Cat therapy. She is so magical and was able to get me back to believing that I was a successful, sexy, smart and the greatest guide of all time. The saddest thing is that I think Cat actually believes it.hehe Well after Cats reaffirmation of my greatness I started thinking about how lucky I really am to be blessed with such wonderful fishing partners: Winton, Cat and Brandon. Cat was stuck working the shop today and I knew it going to be just me and Winston. I went ahead and put aside all my jealousies and decided that today on the water and the blog would be almost entirely about Winston.

  The river today was just short of epic landing seven fish over 18 inches, one just over 21, in the first hour on the river. As I was fishing I had one friend walk up and say hey Connell. As most of our readers know, I am very nearly blind when it comes to recognizing faces on the river(good thing I can still spot fish).He said he could tell it was me because of the orange hat and the Golden. I moved down river from there and as I was walking by another gentleman with a golden I said  “come on Winston”, The guy sitting there said “ did you call him  Winston, are you Connell”? Yep, second chair again to the notorious Winston again. Turns out Gary is one of our readers from the Springs, it was nice to meet Gary today. Just a warning though, I will probably recognize his Golden before I recognize Gary.hehe   Covered a lot of water today and caught fish in most places I stopped. The afternoon slowed down but got to see some of my favorite scenes. The fish moved a little deeper and the color right now is a deep aqua. Bringing the bows up from the depths with the deep aqua backdrop and the  dark red side stripe flashes with such a color contrast that it is  like being at Elitch Gardens and watching the colors of the Mind Eraser Roller Coaster at night. God was smiling on the river today. Headed back up river and caught more fish on the way, best day since Christmas. I have been telling people that fishing is good but not easy. I felt like 11:00 to 12:00 was easy and the rest of the day good.

  Had a customer talk to Cat today that landed a 28 inch rainbow and has pics with a measuring tape to back up the story. Can’t wait to see the pics so I have something more than just Winston to be jealous of, congrats on the fish!!! I will finish off the blog with pics from today, I knew it was a good day but even so was surprised to see I had taken 20 pics today.

  With Winstons new found fame I will  be working on getting a stamp of Winston's footprint so when we see his fans on the water we can add a little ink and allow him to stamp his footprint on your waders or wherever you would like his signature, women please keep spots appropriate since Winston is only two years old. As always, very little I say should ever be taken serious, but Winston, Cat, Connell and The Drift Fly Shop would like to thank you for reading anyway……