Sunday, May 31, 2015

Spinney Highlights (With Video)

          Hello all and thanks for checking in at The O’Grady Fly Fishing Adventures. What a difference a week has made with the weather. After last week’s rough trip to the Delaneys, Cat and I noticed this weekend looked much better so we scheduled a do-over of types to Spinney.
          As most of our readers know, I consider myself to be quite the college football recruiting junkie. I so much enjoy watching high school highlight reels from Husker prospects. Now I do have to say though, that a few years ago I realized how some of the highlight reels can really be skewed, especially when it comes to the QB position. A few years back, I was watching the reel of a committed Husker QB and I was thrilled to see how many awesome plays the kid was making. He was a high four star recruit and his film showed it. Later that year someone posted the complete game of that QB's and I couldn’t wait to watch. Fist play was an option and he gained 8 yards, sounds great but if the QB had pitched to the running back he may still be running. A few plays later and he threaded the needle for a nice gain, the only problem was that he never saw the blown coverage up the sideline. After watching the whole game I found myself longing for just the highlights. So it got me thinking about some of the videos that Cat and I do.
          Last week we had a few people who had viewed our Delaneys video comment about how awesome we had done, when in reality, Cat and I felt like we got schooled. I guess we have gotten pretty good at highlight reels. Anyways, that was not the case with today’s quick video, today was nothing but highlights! Cat and I made it to Spinney at around 8:00p.m. , and if you know Cat at all, you know the early morning definitely had Cat off her game. Today was only the second time we have fished Spinney from our pontoons, so we didn’t have really high expectations. We started very near to each other and kicked our way up the bank, targeting different depths. (the new fins we have in the shop are worth every cent). When I got to the depth I was looking for, I missed a few fish pretty quickly. I sat tight for a while as Cat continued to try different depths. The fish then moved into my area and it was on, I hooked quite a few today and landed more than my share. The biggest was a measured 24 inch bow, with several in the 19 to 22 inch range. For some reason, I had never thought of Spinney as a Brown Trout lake, but I did manage to get two to the net. For me it was just one of those incredible days. Cat (remember this all happens before she usually wakes up) had one of those highlight reels: Early on she intercepted a pass and was returning it for a touchdown but was caught from behind and fumbled, she had a few well thrown balls dropped by receivers but luckily she finished off the day with an incredible  21 inch “ Hail Mary”.
          To finish off the blog, I am offering the same deal that the shop offered this time last year. We totally understand that fly fishing lakes can be a little daunting for those whom have spent their fishing days on the river, so to help you out, anyone who purchases an Outcast or Fishcat pontoon from the shop will get a *FREE* sit down with myself or Cat and we will go over rigging, flies, how to fish lakes, and I might even throw in some of my special lake flies. (This will be a discussion about pursuing trout. If your into the warmer water stuff Cody is your guy). If you’re interested in this deal, just let us know when you come in to order your boat. After spending another incredible day with my Accel, the offer will also be extended to anyone purchasing an Accel setup. The rod is the ultimate lake weapon.
            I want to finish by saying the my pup has really been sad, he watches as we load our gear, and his expression just goes blank as we head out without him. I can’t wait to get back on the river with him, but these lakes sure can silent the urge. As always, Connell, Cat, a Sad Winston, and the Drift Fly Shop want to thank you for reading…..

Monday, May 25, 2015

Delaney Buttes 2015 an Accel-ent Adventure (with video)

            Hello, and thank you for checking in at The O’Grady Fly Fishing Adventures. I want to start by wishing all of our readers an incredible Memorial Day. As our long time followers know, I take very few things in life seriously, but my freedom is the exception and Memorial Day reminds me of that freedom. It also represents some of life’s smaller things. Memorial Day is the unofficial beginning of summer, it has become the official end of the Rockies post season hopes, and for the O’Grady’s it’s the annual weekend trip to The Delaney Buttes. In order to give you the full run down of the trip, I must tell the tale in two parts. The first part will be about the trip itself and the second will be about the equipment we used to make the trip successful. A little bird told me that some of you have been skipping over my pearls of wisdom and jumping straight to the videos, well, I want to warn you that I have installed a tracker in the text that lets me know if your eyes wander. Beyond missing out on my pearls, I don’t even want to tell you what might happen if don’t read the whole blog.
            To be honest, this year’s trip almost didn’t happen. Cat and I consider ourselves to be somewhat rough and tough, though truth be told Cat is way tougher, and while fishing the Arkansas River in November and December we beg for snowy, nasty overcast days. When Memorial Day rolls along however, we are ready for a little sun and heat. This year our Holiday forecast was littered with rain, snow, wind, and pure ugliness. Eventually I broke down and called my brother in-law Jimbo, who joins us every at the reservoir, and told him that we just might have to cancel this year. Then a few days later, I received a text from my sister which contained a forecast for Delaney that looked more like Miami than North Park. At the bottom she included a note which said that Jimbo had been moping around the house and that we needed to go. I really do believe that she did put a forecast from some tropical place and just put Waldens name on it.
 Anyways, we made it to the lakes Wednesday afternoon and could not believe how nice the weather was. We quickly set up camp and rowed out as fast as we could to our favorite spot. In the first ten minutes, I had two takes but missed them both and then the winds rolled in. By 7:30pm the wind turned cold and sent us seeking shelter in the tent. Thursday morning we got up and again could not believe how nice it was, we got to our favorite spot and after my first cast I heard the dreaded beep that told me my GoPro battery was dead. My first few takes were a lesson in humility. One fish completely cleaned my clock and the next fish exposed a knot problem. And yes, I know that knot issues should never happen to a guide, but in my defense I use a different knot for fishing lakes. Anyways… after completely re-rigging and perfecting my knots the dinner bell must have rung. Cat and I spent about an hour and a half pulling in one nice fish after another. One of the rainbows I caught was the heftiest fish I have ever landed. After laying the fish over the net, his tail stretched just over the 24 mark but the height on the fish had to have been 10 or so inches. Cat seemed to have a thing for the browns that day. Thursday afternoon was pretty slow with only a few takes and even fewer landed. Shortly after dinner the weather and rain chased us back into our tents and it rained all night long. Friday morning we got up and the rain had not stopped, we had to go the outhouse to get wadered up, otherwise we would have been just as wet inside are waders as out. That morning we fished for four hours and it seemed that all the fish were feeding in fifteen minute spurts, the rest of the time we just tried to keep our teeth from chattering out. When our fingers got to the point that they nearly stopped working, we rowed back for a break. While warming up in the car we checked every weather site we could find and they all said the same thing, it was only going to get worse. And once again, bring me this weather in Nov, Dec, and Jan but give me a little heat on Memorial Day. So with that we headed home.
            Now on to the gear, this year my lake rod was a 9’6” 6wt, Sage Accel and I could not have been happier. As our long time readers know, the most important aspect of a rod for me is feel and sensitivity but with enough power to let the fish know who is their daddy. In reality a proficient caster can cast any rod regardless of the quality, so for me it’s not about “how it casts” but all about feel and the Accel fits the bill while also giving a smooth cast. The reel I had on the Accel was the Sage 4260 loaded with Rio Gold line. One of the differences between the Delaney fish and my Ark fish is that the Delaney fish don’t seem to make many runs, but instead they like to dive to the bottom. We don’t see the quick headshakes of the river fish, so we don’t have to worry as much about tippet size and throw 4x. This year the fish seemed to be feeding twenty feet down, and so the takes required some serious hooksets. The rod totally had the power to hook fish even at twenty feet but while fighting the fish, the flex of the rod kept the energy in the rod and kept it out of my forearm. The fight was almost always the same, you could feel the fish moving from the bottom and as soon as it felt like you were getting an advantage, the fish would make another incredibly powerful downward run. The reel matched every run and never failed once. If you are a lake guy, and looking for the perfect setup, I think I found the magic ticket.
            Well, if your reading this you did you duty and won’t be receiving the punishment the non-readers will be receiving….LOL! The video posted below documents our trip. Due to the weather, Cat wasn’t able to add many insect clips so instead she filmed the rodents which live in the holes around camp.
Now for the part of the video that isn’t there. Many years ago on the last 60 mile stretch before the Delaneys, we were looking below us and saw a giant Bull Moose, but were not able to stop and get pics. So for the last four years every time we drive through that stretch we have the good camera out and scourer everywhere trying to see another. Now on the way home this year, I just happened to look over in time to see a big ole cow moose and I hit the brakes as quickly as I could, a semi was coming the other way and so as soon as he cleared I flipped a U’ey and quickly sped back to the spot. She had completely vanished into the very sparse field. We scratched our heads and wondered if possibly it was a game warden or landowner with a wooden moose cutout and every time someone slammed on their brakes to flip around they had a way to pull the board down, I know I would enjoy doing that….hehe.

 Enjoy, and as always, Connell, Cat, Winston, Bullwinkle, and The Drift Fly Shop want to thank you for reading….

Delaney Buttes 2015 O'Grady Flyfishing Adventures from ogradyflyfishing on Vimeo.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Farewell Tour Part 4

             Hello all and thanks for checking in at The O’Grady Flyfishing Adventures. My trip to the river today got me thinking about something very peculiar that I have seen many times over the years. I think it was in 1983 when I was listening to the radio one day and they were talking about the upcoming farewell tour for Elton John. Now I’m sure a few of you are giggling right now and have lost a little respect for me, but I can honestly say that there was a time that I really liked his music. Occasionally even today his songs can get me going. So a few years went past and I had moved to Colorado and I saw that he was making an appearance here, I scratched my head and wondered if this was the second edition of his farewell tour. Well now we are in 2015 and I think he is still touring. I think Aerosmith is on its fourth farewell tour and I don’t think we should forget about the athletes either, do the names, Roger Clemmons or Brett Favre ring a bell.
            The flows this spring have been so erratic that if you are a blog follower than you might think I belong in the same hold out mode as the previously mentioned. Yep, and I think I am okay with it. I remember back in mid April writing that the river in town here is finished only to find the flows back to ideal a few days later. After last weekend’s incredible day and then hearing about the kids getting stuck down by Runyon, I thought for sure that Mothers day was the end, flows jumped into the 1400cfs range late this week and I was totally okay with putting the “One” away in its case til the Taylor trip. My plans for today were an hour or so at work and then a few hours napping on the couch with golf in the background. Well I made a quick stop at the shop when I found that the flows had dropped back to 1100. That was all it took and I headed home to grab my weapons and my pups. On the way to the river I called my buddy Tino and he laughed and said I better hurry or he was going to catch them all first. I met up with Tino and we jumped down into my favorite high water runs and I was so glad I didn’t spend the day on the couch. I lost my first couple and was then able to watch Tino land the fish of the day, unfortunately the pic does not show the size of the piggy that he collared. The fish measured just a hair under 22 and had a belly like me. My first landed fish of the day was a 21incher and he gave me everything I wanted. The higher flows have turned our normally feisty bows into MMA-ish heavyweights. The main feeding frenzy only lasted for an hour or so with only a few bugs seen, any longer and our arms would need ice.
            So I wanted to finish by saying that I am 95% sure that today was my farewell fishing trip to the Ark for the spring, unless of course something changes. Hehe. Fish were on grey emergers and black Ninjas. If you do get to the river this week please be very careful, fish can be had but not a fish in this river is worth drowning for. As always, Connell, Cat, Winston, The Rocket and The Drift Fly Shop want to thank you for reading…..


Sunday, May 10, 2015

A Window Of Opportunity

Hello everyone and thanks for checking in with the O’Grady Fly Fishing Adventures! Connell is taking a break from the blog today to rest his wrists, catching too many fish today wore them out. Unfortunately, that means you’ll have to get your fishing fix with me, Cat. I’m afraid the sports analogies and humor is best left to Connell…… so what I have for you is a tale of fly fishing magic.
While the rains have brought headache and worse for some, for our little family the flooding opened a window of opportunity like no other. With the fountain creek blown out, the flow of the Arkansas had to be reduced to prevent further flooding to the east of Pueblo. This meant that for the first time in over a month our tailwaters were brought down to 200cfs and this was just the beginning of a perfect storm. When the water is dropped fish react in one of two ways. They either panic and hide, or they go into a competitive feeding frenzy that can only be described as “zombie” like. Today they picked ZOMBIE and the BWO might have had something to do with their decision. The lowered flow and a warmish rain free day cause the water temp to rise and the Bwo exploded from the water. There were so many in the air that even the birds got in on fun and for hours they swarmed the surface devouring the mayflies. The birds did however have some competition with the crazy hungry fish.

Needless to say the fishing today was incredible.  Connell and I couldn’t even put a number as to how many fish were hooked and landed, the only thing we are sure of was that it was a lot. At one point I landed 6 fish, in 6 casts, and the smallest 16” and the largest was 19”.  Today was a day to remember. But…. Like all good things this window of opportunity has closed. Late this afternoon while Connell and I reminisced about the glory of the day, the flow was increase and a wall of water came down. In the matter of minutes the 200cfs became 1400cfs. We hope you got to get today, but if you didn’t don’t worry a river is ever changing and someday your “window of opportunity” will be opened too.  Thanks for read, Cat, Connell, Mr. Barn Swallow, Winston, and The Drift Fly shop.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Happy Endings......

Hello all and thanks for checking in at the O’Grady Flyfishing Adventures. I hope I remember how to do this because it feels like it’s been ages since my “hunt and peck” has created anything. As most of our readers know here in P-town we have been dealing with some serious water fluctuations over the last few weeks and it has really put down my will to fish, now a call from an old client last week really got me hoping the water would cooperate again.
A few years back I had a client book me to take himself, his two nephews and his niece out fishing. I had met David before but it was only in passing and Cat had raved about what a nice guy David was. I was a little leery about taking out three kids but after a really productive day the day before, I was hopeful I could teach the kids the kids the joy of flyfishing. Unfortunately it was one of those March days and the fish were not very interested, but even after a brutally slow day they were all in great spirits. I remember thinking that I wished I could handle difficult situations with the same positive attitude. I have seen David several times since and I am always amazed at the fact every time I see him I actually like the guy a little more. So with that in mind, the guilt from my slow guide trip with them still haunted me. So I got the call from David a few weeks ago and his brother was going to be in town and he wanted to show off “his, shop, river, and friends” and I desperately wanted to make this trip way better than his last. Now I told him about the high water and that fish can be had but definitely were earned. We were able to get them set up with Cody on a float trip upriver but with flow reaching 1600 here it looked to be a lost cause. They floated on Thursday and had an incredible “Codylicious “ and here, like just short of a biblical miracle, the river plummeted down to 400cfs by Thursday afternoon. We set the trip up for today and the flows stayed fishable, they bumped a little on Saturday and then again to 720ish this morning. I knew at 720 that nothing was coming in easy but they were totally up for the challenge. One of David’s good friends also joined us for the day. The trip started a little spooky when we pulled in and saw the parking lot full, and even spookier when our first fished run produced nutten. Luckily my superior guiding took over and we spent the next two and a half hours fighting fish. David’s brother Richard had a grin on his face most of the day and his repeated quote of the day was “ I can’t believe these fish fight this hard”. And that was followed by the shaking of his hand trying to get the feeling back. It was one of those days that guides dream of, worked my tail off but it was SO worth it, and any residual guilt is only for his niece and nephews. I think Richard landed a few more and it all made sense, he was fishing a One. Thanks guy, days like this make guiding a joy.

I fished a little on Saturday and could not believe how active the fish were. The major feeding window right now is between 11:00a.m. and 2:00p.m. and feeding definitely slows down after that. BWO hatches have been strong but almost every fish has been on the Ninja. Not sure why but who cares. With these flows it is extremely important to be extra careful or book a guide that knows the river inside and out(me). We had a customer slip and lose a rod as he was going down last week when the flows were about the same so please fish cautiously. I’m hopeful that we might get a few more weeks of fishing friendly water before the gates open up. As always, Connell, Cat, Winston, (David,Richard,Andrew) and The Drift Fly Shop want to thank you for reading……