Veni, Vidi, Vici, Fishies
Hello all, and thanks for checking in on the O’Grady Flyfishing Adventures Blog. Since this blog will be posted the day after Memorial Day, I want to start out by thanking all the brave men and women of the military that have given their lives so that I can live in a free society.If you have been a long time follower of this blog, you will remember me talking about a longtime friend of mine named Mark. Many years ago Mark gave me my first taste of Flyfishing by taking my father and I to the Frasier River. That was a long time ago, and my friend Mark has evolved his addiction to spending most of his time fishing on the Delaney Butte Lakes in North Park Colorado. When Mark and I reacquainted ten or so years ago, he raved so much about the Delaney’s that my interest was definitely peaked. Now Cat and I along with my brother in law, the “infamous” Jimbo, have been making the trip the last five years, and learn a little more about the lakes each year. Every visit has brought new experiences, from being totally blown off the water, to a really bad sunburn, to so little wind that nothing was feeding, and the fishing itself seemed different every year. Last year’s trip was so fulfilling that Cat and I had been tying for the whole last year in anticipation of this year’s trip. In addition to Cat, Jimbo and I, this year we would also be fishing with Jim’s brother Doyle, a relatively new flyfishing addict. I bought a new Winston B-3X (imagine that) 9 and a half foot 6 wt. just for the trip, and had been watching the weather anxiously the last few weeks. May saw some warm days and the beginning of the early season feeding and then ten days prior to our arrival, Mother Nature dropped 16inches of the white stuff on the ground, keep in mind, we sleep in tents on the ground while we are up there.
Last year’s trip was so much fun except for one problem, by the time we made it to the lake, all the camp sites on the South side of the lake were taken and we ended up camping on the North side. The morning’s calm row was manageable but the afternoon winds always seemed to make the row back miserable, but we went because all the fish were on the South side of the lake. This year I was determined to get the right camp site and went up a day early and nearly pee’d myself with glee when the site I wanted was open. Cat and I set up camp and before doing any fishing did the only thing any semi-sane angler would do when fishing the Delaney’s, go talk to Mark. Now Mark was extra busy this year because his sister and brother in law were there to see him. When we got over to Mark’s trailer and even before our hellos, Mark said fishing had really been sucky and the water was still too cold, he was hoping that by Friday, maybe the fish would start eating again. Being that this was my second day off of work this year, I wasn’t about to let the conditions ruin my trip. After a quick reunion, Cat and I headed over to the lake. We found a few cruisers and jumped in. We had only been fishing a few minutes and we both landed a couple of huge fish, could the master of the Delaney’s be wrong? (hehe not likely) We headed back to our camp site and jumped in our pontoons and fished the next few hours. Only one dink was brought to the net and I began to worry a little. Cat threw streamers that evening and the colors of the evening were breathtaking. No photo shop was done on the colors in the video. Thursday morning Cat and I made the short row over near the dam where all the fish were last year. We fished most of the day with two dinks and one quality fish to the net and when we got back to camp I came up with one of the dumbest things I have ever said to make us feel better, “It doesn’t take great fishing to make a great fishing trip.” Okay, dumb but really true when you are with the right family and friends. Jim and Doyle showed up and headed over to South Lake and we followed suit. We caught a few good fish but nothing like the feeding frenzy of last year. While heading back to North, we stopped and talked to Mark and he said he actually did pretty well on the North side of the lake, “you got to be kidding me” I thought. Friday morning Cat and I decided we would row all the way to the North end of the lake and search for fish (a twenty five minute row, one way with no wind). We zigzagged back and forth for a few hours and ended up at the other side of the lake when we started to see a little action. A quick breakoff followed by a few dinks and then we found the MOTHER LODE. For an hour and a half it was hard to throw your junk in the water without a beast of a fish trying to pull you, your rod, and your boat under water. At one time I knew exactly what chief Brody felt when he said “I think we are going to need a bigger boat”.
As the clouds built we decided we better get back before the lightning came in. That evening Cat wanted to throw streamers and she landed an absolute horse of a fish. Saturday morning we made the long row again and saw that a few of the boats that had seen us catching fish the day before were sitting in the spot where we had been. I’m not sure if I was flattered or irritated but we ended up anchoring about forty yards over. My flies had barely touched the water and my indicator exploded underwater, I set the hook but nothing was there. I put a huge smile on my face, but it was ten minutes before my next take. Then the flood gates opened and the next two hours produced takes almost every time our flies hit the water. I talked a little about the strength of these fish last year, and it seemed that the fish had roided up even more this year. The fish would dive and with no current, they would use depth to their advantage. I tried to land every fish as quick as possible, the 22inch brown out of the Arkansas a few weeks ago took one minute and twenty two seconds to get in, but one of these bows over the weekend took over three minutes to land. He was tired when I got him to the surface and so was I. With the fear of wind coming in Sunday and missing our dogs so much we thought about coming home a day early. Rowing back to the camp site we saw five guys screaming and jumping about the “Huge” fish they caught on the “brown” one after catching the morning fish on the “tan” one, they pulled it up on the shore and on to a stringer, we knew it was time to go home. Such is fishing on the holidays.
The trip was another AMAZING experience in North Park. Jim seems to really be getting the hang of lakes and Doyle landed a few as well, a new addict for sure. The pelicans were thick, the surrounding mountains were breathtaking, the company was amazing, and we even had a giant brown “in respect for Winston” photobomb a video clip. Our Memorial weekend (unofficial start of summer) drive home consisted of five hours of rain, two snow storms, and three hail storms (thank you Al Gore for ending global warming). The video is a little long but we think it is well worth your time to watch. In the past I had used hard rock, but in searching for this video I learned something, I like some Folk and therefore must be getting up there in years.
The rivers should be unfishable for a while so hopefully this video will inspire you all to get to a lake. As Always, Connell, Cat, Winston, the Greshams, want to thank you for reading….