Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas 2014 !!!!!

Hello all and thanks for checking in at The O’Grady Flyfishing Adventures. I wanted to start this blog by wishing all of you the Merriest of Christmas’s. With this being the “Giving” season, I decided that this year my gift to our readers would be this story of the perfect Christmas gift. Since I know we have a lot of families that read this blog together I hope that some of you, after opening presents and reading a Christmas story, light a fire, wrap yourself in a warm blanket and read this little Christmas story. Okay, actually the story is a little boring but mine nonetheless.

  As many of you know from prior blogs, Cat and I really don’t ever purchase Christmas presents for each other.  Throughout the year we find that if there is something that we really want than we go ahead and buy it. It takes so much pressure off Cat because it would be impossible to buy for me. So our Christmas giving usually involves small gifts for Cats family and my boys and spoiling the tar out of my granddaughter. I knew all of the shopping was completed last week because Cat kept me very updated on what “We” had given for presents. On Monday, as was my customary routine, I got home work and went to the mailbox. I was very surprised when I found a package with my name on it. As I opened the package I saw that it was a trout colored dog collar. I was a little surprised that Cat would only purchase one collar since we do have two dogs. I tossed the pack on the counter and went on my way. On Tuesday Cat and I were talking and I made mention of the collar and she said “I thought you bought it”. Nope it wasn’t me and so we examined the package and realized that there was no name as to who made the purchase. We realized that Winston has a secret “Santa” and all those old jealous feelings came rushing back through my brains. I know we don’t expect any gifts but to realize that my dog actually has a secret gift giver. The jealous thoughts of, can Winston teach you where the fish are? Can Winston help you across the river? Can Winston tell these incredible flyfishing stories? Can Winston create incredible flies that catch fish? And then it hit me, even though he can’t do all of those things, a quick look at his picture wishing a Merry Christmas puts a huge grin on my face. What better gift can a person ask for. Now I showed Winston the trout colored collar that he was secretly gifted and although he told me that it was super sexy, he did say that it oozed as a slight sign of oppression and future gifts should be more in the way of bones and snacks. Wow, spoken like a true O’Grady.

  Now for the part of the blog that the fisherman are looking for. Fishing this week has really moved more toward winter fishing. Water temps coming out of the damn are between 40 and 41 degrees. Hatches the last few days out have consisted of small midges and very spotty BWO hatches. Guide trips out this week have had some very nice fish taken but the fish definitely have to be worked for. The smaller fish are still feeding like crazy and can be caught most of the day but the big fish have definitely become finicky. Small BWO and small cream colored midges seem to be the ticket right now with the occasional chomp on something red. One of our return clients doesn’t usually take pics but his fish on Sunday was so pretty he allowed just the one pic. As I said to open the blog, we wish you all an incredible Christmas. Connell, Cat, Winston, the Secret Santa want to thank you for reading……


Friday, December 19, 2014

A Winter's Journey

          Hello all and once again, thanks for checking in at The O’Grady Flyfishing Adventures. I wanted to start this blog by aging myself a little with a quote from Steve Perry. Yes, only us elder folk will even have a clue as to who he was. So despite the best (or worst) efforts of evil corporations, big oil, SUV’s, and white males between the ages of 23 and 56, “Winter is here again oh lord”. I know many anglers keep personal logs on fishing conditions but I am lucky enough to have both an incredible memory and also my personal blogs to look back on. For many years I felt like and have blog evidence that Christmas day is in addition to the birth of my Lord and Savior, is almost always Gods last BWO hatch gift of the year. Looking back it seems that the 26th rolls in and the water temps dip into the midge only range. Cat and I and a few friends made it to the water yesterday and it appears that we will be in the same regular time frame. Temps yesterday were coming out of the damn between 42 and 43 degrees. We saw a very quick and very small BWO hatch at around noon and then a little longer and bigger hatch again at around 2:00. The temps have the fish mildly interested but if you have ever taken a guide trip from me then you will understand that the fish seem to be more in the TV dinner category. At times yesterday fishing was fun and at times it was getting frustrating. Several takes were super subtle. Cat started off the day on top with a healthy 18 incher until a few hours later when I weaseled out an 18 and a half incher. I was feeling pretty good about my superiority until Cody pulled one out that never got measured but everyone said it was at least 18 and three quarters.

  As Steve Perry so eloquently said, “Winter is here again oh Lord”. So what does that mean to us anglers? Should we stop fishing? Absolutely not, however it is definitely time to rethink your tactics. First of all think about your tippet, the water is slow and clear, 6x fluoro should be the norm for the next several months. Secondly, try and think like a fish and figure out where the fish are at any given time. And lastly, think about what the fish are eating on. Yesterday my first fish took a size twenty FOD but almost every fish after that were caught on a size 22 J-bomb and a 22 Bling. The really small sparkle wing has been producing as well. And Lastly, keep your expectations realistic, if the only way you can you call a day on the water a success is if you were “hammering 25inchers all day long” don’t come. Enjoy the moments when they are feeding and relax and enjoy the ambience when they are not.

  Okay for you young guns out there, Steve Perry was the lead singer for an ancient band called Journey. If you have never heard them you are missing out. The next 10 days will most likely be the most crowded of the year so please be considerate. If you happen to see me on the river, please let me take all the best runs. JKJKJKJK But seriously, this is Christmas be thankful for the incredible gifts we have been given and enjoy His season. As always Connell, Cat, Winston, Mary & Joseph, and The Drift Fly Shop humbly thank you for reading…….

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Just What Was Needed.....

  Hey all and thanks for checking in at The O’Grady Flyfishing Adventures. Over the years I can’t really even guess to the amount of Facebook posts about “work” getting in the way of fishing. Even though I do work quite a bit, between having a flexible schedule and the perfect wife, finding the time to fish has never really been much of a problem. The last few weeks I have come to learn the frustration from the lack of fishing. I have even been missing out on a lot of the typical vicarious fishing because I haven’t even had my usual hang out time in the shop.

 Cat and I had hoped to get out today but even plans to get to the river were made around fingers crossed. Even the drive to the river had me praying that my phone would stay silent. Our first attempted stop at the river was way too crowded but the second was not bad and in reality, Winston and I were more interested in standing in a river rather than catching a ton of fish. We walked into the river and right away I saw one of my favorite runs unoccupied. As I began my speedwalking my eyes bounced all around in fear that someone would jump out of the trees and beat me to the run. My heart picked up a beat when I realized that NOONE would beat me to that run. I maneuvered into place and scouted the run. A half a dozen shadows moving back and forth reminded me how awesome flyfishing can be. I finished setting up my rig and looked at the Sage One in my hand. Could I be in a better place, I thank not. First cast was nothing but the second was money. The head shake and tailwalk nearly made me cry. As the fish hit the water I felt the hook come flying back at me and I didn’t really care a bit. The stress from work was gone. I gazed back at the run and picked out another shadow to harass. A couple casts and heaven again, I could tell right away that it was a very nice fish with his head thrashing back and forth. After getting through the first ten seconds or so Winston started getting excited as well , he had a grin on his face that said” yep, that’s my dad and you get in his net”. The fish got below me and the saddest thing happened. A big brown came up sideways and I turned off the Gopro. He must have slipped I thought and so I gave him a little extra tug in order not to injure him. The extra pressure flipped him over and it was back in the mouth, he had just rolled on it. It was the fish of the day and he was a joy. We hooked and landed several more and Cat switched to streamers and landed a smallie. As the day went on it seemed as if the dinks got hungrier.

 Late in the day I found a few more fish that sparked my obsession. I worked on a few fish for half an hour. I hooked one but the others were just too smart. Cat asked if she could take a shot and I said what the heck. She moved in and got a little stealthy. She thought for a second and decided to go at it just a little different. I’m not giving away her secret but she hooked my afternoon nemesis. My perfect wife would never say anything out loud but I’m sure deep down she was grinningly saying “mess with the bull”.

  As the day finished I was thinking about how awesome this day was. We didn’t catch millions of fish but the ones we hooked were incredible. I also got to thinking about the rods I have been fishing this fall and early winter.  I could not be any more excited and wanted to give a huge thanks to Sage. The Accell and the One have been a joy. I can only hope that Sage keeps these lines in production so I don’t have to search for a new rod.  Fish today were on FOD’s, Ninjas, and Bling midges. The clear water seems to have shut off a little of the attractor patterns, fishing really slowed every time I added an egg or a worm. With the clear low water even fluoro needs to get down to the 5 and 6x sizes. As always Connell, Cat, Winston, the 2$ meatball, and the Drift Fly Shop want to thank you for reading……

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Fall 2014 Video Masterpiece

Hello all and thanks for checking in at The O’Grady Fly fishing Adventures. Sorry no serious fishing report today, I have been sitting at home nursing my annual “6 month cold”. Anyway this blog is mostly just to introduce our latest video. The music was a return to our roots with some serious drop-d guitar and the fishing this fall at times was fantastic. We hope you enjoy watching as much as we did making it.

 Now I hate to be a Debbie Downer, but we just wanted to remind people that our beloved river is incredible and with that incredibleness draws the crowds. In the last couple of day we have had two separate reports of near fights on the water and from the jist of it, it sounds like it is people not liking other people fish “Their” water. Last week I wrote about people illegally fishing and I saw more of it yesterday but the incidents that I’m talking about are just people being angry because others are on “Their” river. I want to be treated with respect anywhere I fish and I hope as locals that we treat our guests as we want to be treated elsewhere. I said it last year, if you want private water, get a really great job, work yourself to the bone, save all your money and buy your own lake. My guess is that it wouldn’t take long for you to start inviting friends to show them how awesome you water is. I will now jump off my soapbox and say enjoy the video. As always Connell, Cat, Winston, the Pilgrims and The Drift Fly Shop want to thank you for reading…….

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!!!!!

  Hey all and thanks for checking in at the O’Grady Flyfishing Adventures blog. I wanted to start by wishing all of our readers an incredibly happy Thanksgiving. In the spirit of the holiday I wanted to take this opportunity to talk about a few of the things I am truly grateful for this year.

  Now the first thing I want to talk about might really surprise a few of you, but before we go any further I can assure you that I will never ever, EVER drink the Koolade. I know most of our readers think that I am an anarchist, but in truth that is not the case at all. I just don’t think the Gov. is the solution to most of our problems. Now, with that being said I wanted to talk about an incident that I had on the river the other day. I was guiding a father-daughter pair and Travis was helping on that trip. I was with the daughter fishing in the Special Regs section when I looked up and saw what I thought were three bangers carrying a pig on a stringer. First of all my heart sank a little and then I yelled up, “if they knew this was a C & R section”(and yes I know that technically it was not. In that section anything over 16 has to be released, but it was also clear that their fish was over the limit). They began to laugh out loud and mock me so being the tuff guy that I am, I quickly analyzed the situation and determined that since I was with clients( it had nothing to do with their size or number, yeah right), that instead of confronting them again personally, I had Travis make the call to the game warden. I said it plenty loud to make sure the bangers heard the threat. The guys walked off and began mocking Travis and the father as they were walking by and showing off their illegal prize. I was definitely annoyed, but a phone call a few moments later made my day. The main DOW officer in our area, not sure if I can use her name, met the bangers in the parking lot. Unfortunately the bangers must have sensed something because they had tossed the pig before the officer caught them. No tickets were issued, but I can’t imagine those clowns making their way back to the special regs section. So here, thank you Gretche_ (I won’t use her full name) for protecting our river!!! I know you have a million tasks to do every day,, but truly thank you! Now for the rest of our readers, I know different times over the years I have been annoyed when bothered by DOW officers thinking “do I look like someone doing something illegal?”, but here is what I would ask of our readers. Next time you run into a DOW officer on our river or really anywhere, show them your license and then thank them for protecting our river.

  Now the next thing I am truly grateful for. Over the years I believe that Cat and I have been so truly blessed to have such incredible shop patrons and guide clients. Cat and I would never have had the opportunities that we have if it wasn’t for you, and yes I absolutely truly mean that!! Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

 Now the last thing I am so truly thankful for is Thanksgiving is Cat and My ten year anniversary. I still have to pinch myself on a regular basis just to make sure this is not some sort of fantasy long lasting dream. Thank you always my love!! I don’t think I will write any more about this because I don’t think I am much of a romance writer.

  Now the part some of you have actually been waiting for, the fishing report. I know the last few blogs gave glowing reports of our river with an incredible outlook for our December. What I have noticed over the last week has me not so sure what December fishing will be like. I noticed that in the last ten days the water temp has dropped a full 6 degrees. Now I know that doesn’t sound like a lot but I think the extreme global cooling we had last week has slowed the fish down just a little. The super aggressive takes of a week and a half ago are just a little more subdued. Mid day is still seeing some great BWO hatches, but I have not been seeing the fish just go stupid hungry. Moments have been very good and other moments take a little work. My hope is that the warm weather forecasted over the next week stabilizes the temps a little and puts the fish back in the stupid mode.

 The shop has sent out several trips over the last week and all have been productive. I keep trying to get Cat and Cody to take more pics but they just won’t listen so the pics are just from the couple that I took. The smiles on the faces make it all worthwhile, thanks again and have an incredible Thanksgiving. Connell, Cat, Winston, Tom turkey, and The Drift fly Shop want to thank you for reading….


Thursday, November 20, 2014


  Hey all and thanks for checking in. What an amazing day on the river today. I have been trying to think up something cute to write about after catching my largest Arkansas rainbow in two years, but everything comes up short of the incredibleness of the fish. First I thought that maybe I could talk about this fish working out and eating enough crayfish so that maybe he can help the Bronco offensive line but that subject still seems a little sore. Then it came to, maybe the river inhabitants were planning some sort of Christmas play and this fish really wanted to play the part of Santa? I think it might be best to just let the pics do the talking.
  Cat and I got to the river today at just after 1:00 and the fish were ready to roll. Both of our first casts of the day produced fish. Shortly after Cat jumped into a run and I decided it would be a great time to sit back and roll some tape. It was a perfect time to film because Cat went on a roll and landed one beautiful fish after another. I started back up and landed my fair share( Oh how I hate that saying) and ended up landing the one piggy. Fish were on eggs, midge larva and Cat was drilling them on a new BWO pattern she has been playing with. Winston was sure happy to be back on the water again, the bitter cold last week just seemed a little too dangerous to take him. As always, Connell, Cat, Winston, Mrs. Clause and The Drift Fly Shop want to thank you for reading…….


Sunday, November 16, 2014

Go Big ___!!!!!!

  As I lay down to sleep last night it was with an incredibly heavy heart. Ito took everything I had to not start drinking again. Luckily I had to work most of the day so I missed most of the game, but the parts I did see, were Melvin Gordon running wild. 408 yards echoed through my head all evening. 408 yards, Are you kidding me, I don’t think my new cars warranty is that long. Was the defensive strategy to wear down the running back by continuing to make him run? It was a sad evening in the O’Grady household but as I woke this morning I had a great idea as to how I can fix these horrible feelings that consumed me. First I could remove half of my teeth and then smack myself in the head a few times with a hammer to dumb myself down and finally pick a SEC team to become a fan of. My next thought was there has got to be a better way, and I can think of a couple things that always make me feel better; fishing and ___.

 So Cat and I decided to go fishing today. Earlier this week Cat and I hit the river and had one of our best days of the fall. With the feelings of dread still seeping through my veins I was worried that a less than stellar day might do more harm than good. That was NOT the case today. It took a little while for the fish to really get active today but when they did it was lights out( no Husker defensive pun there). BWO’s began hatching just before 1:00 and they kept the fish interested all day. Even though the BWO’s were everywhere, fish seemed to be drilling everything we threw at them. The excitement of the day was when I hooked this fish that gave me a battle for the ages(unlike my Huskers), I hooked him and twice he ran under branches and twice I steered him through. He headed upriver and then turned and ran below me. I got one look at him when he was just a foot below the surface and he looked like a monster brown. I finally worked him away from all the trouble and saw nothing but slow deep water in front of him and I knew he was mine. Kind of like what Melvin Gordon saw all day yesterday and then, the hook just popped out, all that work and it just popped out. The lowlight of the day was Cat hooked this beautiful fish and fought it for a little while and I had the whole thing on video, after she landed it I went to take a pic and I got an error message and I lost all the footage. I went to snap a pic and the same thing happened, what I can say is that it was a very nice fish.

 I was right about one thing, fishing always makes me feel better. As we got back to the car, cat and I did a quick fist pump and my feelings were repaired and life felt like it was worth living again. I turned on the radio to see how the Bronco’s did today and it sounds like I may need to hit the river again tomorrow.

 With the drop in flows the river felt as technical as I have seen in quite some time. Hopefully with the lower and clearer water the piggies will be less apt to munch on power bait or worms. Casts, drifts, and hooksets all  needed to be precise today and it was game on when they were fulfilled. The pics are from the last few days out. As always, Connell, Cat, Winston, The Badgers and The Drift Fly Shop want to thank you for reading……..


Monday, November 10, 2014

It Now All Makes Sense....

Hello all, and thanks for checking in at the O’Grady Flyfishing Adventures. As our readers have probably figured out over the years, my brain seems to always be in overdrive and usually somewhere way off the main road. I got to spend Sunday on the river with my incredible wife and dog, and like most time on the water my brain ran wild. When we first got to the river we had something happen that thrust me back to my grade school days and finally my learning became complete.

 As I have aged, many times over the years,I would all of a sudden be brought back to my youth and be glad that I learned a particular skill. As a youngster I remember thinking how dumb algebra was and that I would never use it in the real world. Today I know that the people who learned it are making $20 an hour and the ones that didn’t are trying to raise the minimum wage so they can make $15 an hour. It now all makes sense. <-My only political jab for the day.

I don’t know if the schools still do it today, but when I was a kid, the second to the last day of the school year was “track and field” day. Even though my athletic skills never allowed me to win a ribbon, I always had a blast and most of the events made sense to me. High jump, long jump, races, discus, shot-put all made perfect sense. Humans have been competing against each other since Cain was jealous of Abel. It all made sense, thousands of year ago two guys probably looked up and saw some hottie 100 yards away and said whoever gets to her first gets her. There you go the first race. Later, while they were living in some cliff dwelling and a tiger was trying to climb up and eat them, the men said whoever can throw a boulder the furthest and most accurate and hit the beast, not only doesn’t get eaten but also gets the meat. There you go, the first shot put and discus.

Now as we expand sports, some still make sense, in the right manner. For instance winter sports, I don’t know what it is called but some athletes cross country ski while shooting targets. To me that seems kind of silly, but after living in the mountains I can certainly see how that started. Picture it, several drunk guys are sitting around their cabin and one says “with my gun, I can hit a beer can from a hundred yards.” Of course the others say “no way” this angers the man and he ups the stakes, “I bet I can hit it while skiing down the hill!” Then the inebriated group stumbles out and takes turn trying it, and there you have it, another sport invented…. A pretty cool one too.

While all of these sports are reasonable, there was one grade school competition that never even the least bit made sense, Speed Walking. What in Gods holy name is speed walking, and how did it ever get started. Let me guess, two French men were walking down the street and a horrible monster came up behind them and one said, “we need to walk really fast to get away from him” and the other says “ heck with that, I’m going to run”, the first one says “Don’t be so uncivilized, lets walk really fas-AHHHHHHHHHHHH.” Okay see what I’m saying it never made any sense at all. Even watching the race every year, the guy that won always at one point or another cheated and ran.

 So back to my original point; I typically walk much faster than my wife, try as she might to keep up, and on Sunday the whole speed walking thing finally made sense. Since it was a Bronco’s day we really weren’t expecting to see a lot of people on the river. Pulling into the parking lot and seeing the amount of cars however, quickly informed us that we were not alone. We walked down to the river and we could see about forty yards down that one of our favorite runs was unoccupied. At the same time we glanced across the river and saw another guy gazing at our prized run. Now being the civilized flyfisherman that I am, I would never burst out in to a full sprint (partially because I need to be timed with a calendar rather than a stopwatch), but all of a sudden I felt Cat walk by me quickly. I glanced over and the other guy began to pick up his pace. The “Rocky” theme song blasted through my head and I began to speedwalk past my wife and into my prized run. I glanced back to the other side to see the progress of my competitor, making sure I didn’t make eye contact and I realized that his race was foiled by a tree in his way. At that moment it all became crystal clear and made perfect sense, even though I never actually competed in “speedwalking”, that had to be where it all started. Thousands of years ago two people looked at the same magnificent piece of river and wanted to be the first to wet a line it. I can’t go back in time, but I think I may need to start training now, and then I can fish wherever. And best of all, no more wondering my life is complete and it all makes sense.(not)

 At times, the river this weekend fished pretty darn well. Our Saturday clients were all first timers and really had a blast. They didn’t get a bunch to the net, but learned quite a bit about the brains and brawn of our fish. The thrill of helping someone land their first fish on a flyrod still gives me goosebumps today.  I had heard rumors of a “real” BWO hatch earlier in the week and Saturday was the first serious hour long hatch I have seen this year. Sunday, surprisingly the hatch only lasted a short time, but while it was going on, the fish just came alive. With the weather forecast later this week I would guess that the Reservoir, if not already, should be completely turned over by this weekend and we should see clearer water soon. The clarity had certainly improved over the weekend. The shop schedule looks as if guide trips are filling up quickly. If you are thinking of booking, do it now. As always Connell, Cat, Winston, the Olympic committee, and The Drift Fly Shop want to thank you for reading…….