Hello all and thanks for checking in at the O’Grady Fly Fishing Adventures. As most of our readers know, I do not take my freedom for granted and in the spirit of this holiday, I would like to thank the soldiers and their families for protecting my freedom. Now with that said, on to the fishing. With Memorial day approaching, it meant only one thing in the O’Grady’s world; time for the Buttes. After watching our last few lake videos and feeling like we were ready for a break, we decided that this year we were just going to fish and not worry about making a video. Our normal schedule was a little messed up because Jimbo wasn’t able to make it out until the day we were finished, so for the most part it was some alone time with my incredible wife.
I want to stray a little from the trip here, but hopefully it will make sense later on. I don’t get a chance to often talk about my Mother (who lives in Denver) and my older brother and sister who live in Omaha, but this blog has given me the perfect opportunity. You see, this part of my family has an obsession as well. Before I continue, I will make it clear that they all pay their bills and none of their kids have ever missed a meal, but when my sibs and mom get together, they love to head up to Cripple Creek. I have tried a few times to go with them, but I just can’t ever seem to catch up. Nickel machine after nickel machine are always the same for me; a double bar, a second double bar and just as I start to get excited, a nasty old diamond comes up and says please play again. We tease each other a little, my mom asks how can I go out in that kind of weather just to catch fish and then she tells me how much money I could save if I just ate what I caught. I ask her why they would make the long drive up to Cripple creek just to feed the machines. Anyway, back to the story and maybe a casino theme.
The trip really started when we walked into the fly shop in Walden, North Park Anglers, the employee walked up and very politely asked if we needed any help. As we began to ask about patterns, he smiled and said, “Hey I know you guys.” Our chests pumped just a little and I began to feel a little like Joe Pesci walking through the casino in the namesake movie, and then he went on to tell us that he had fished the Ark last winter and had met us in the shop. A little deflated ego and on to the Buttes. We pulled in and got our favorite camping spot. We quickly set camp and started working on our pontoons when a boat came by very slowly. One of the guys said, “Hey it’s the O’Gradys,” we looked up and thinking maybe we knew them, replied with a hello. He then said “we’ve seen you on youtube.” Well the ego stroke that was missing from the shop arrived and put a little pep in our flippers.
We fished for three hours Wednesday evening, battling the wind and the cold and we had a total of two fish to show for it. Afterward, we ran over to see the Master of the Delaney’s Mark and got a few tips. Thursday was by far the best day fishing, from 9:00am until around 1:45pm fish were eating and we were on them. At 1:48pm a storm rolled in and we had a hard time even rowing the hundred yards back to camp. Friday morning started good, with the fishing being really hot from 8:30am until about 10:00am and then the wind reared its ugly head. I don’t know if it has to do with the size of the lakes, but at Spinney the wind can roll in and you can still catch fish, at the Delaney’s however, when the wind rolls in the fishing stops. Friday evening when the wind calmed just a bit and was out of the North, Cat and I trekked up into the north end of the lake. We hooked several fish, but after about twenty minutes the wind picked up and turned square into our faces. Saturday morning fishing was strange, Cat did really well and even began to tease me a little. My first fish of the day was named 220 because it took me two hours and twenty minutes before I finally caught a fish. It got a little better for me with a few fish landed, a few misses and a break off, and just before noon the wind and a nasty storm moved in.
So back to the casino theme. After packing the X-terra and saying our goodbyes, Cat and I started talking about the trip on the way home. We began expressing our frustrations with having to spend so much time not fishing and all of our efforts to get out of the elements. We began to ask ourselves, why do we continue to put ourselves through these trips? Cat then looked at me and said, “I think I’m addicted to watching the plumb-bobber explode downwards.” and it hit me, she is exactly right. Lake fishing is very different than what I normally do, but it is so similar to slot machines. You put your cash into the machine, just like the money we spend on our gear. We look for a depth and we cast our rod, or pull the slot arm. First drop is a triple bar, or a perfect cast. The second drop is another triple bar, your flies hit the bottom and you plumb-bobber straitens up. Ding, ding, ding and your indicator explodes downward and as you set the hook, you quickly wonder, is this the thirty incher that you came here for? The third window rolls down and it’s the third triple bar and the machine goes crazy, you have no idea how much you just won, but you quickly imagine it is in the thousands. I ask my family at times why they continue to pay for those big beautiful casinos to stay open and I guess after putting up with how frustrating the Delaney elements can be, I get it. Okay family, I promise I will never make fun of your obsession again.
Now on to a little disclaimer, if you have a problem with gambling than call the Gamblers Anonymous hotline. If you want to experience a little part of the lake addiction than call the Drift, we can help you. I wanted to finish off the blog by giving a shout out to another friendly fly shop in Colorado. If you are in the North Park area stop by North Park Anglers, we have been in on several occasions and have always had professional, helpful and friendly service. Next a quick thank you to Mark, I can’t believe how much I have learned from you over the years and lastly, sorry Jimbo for not getting to stay up there to fish with you a little longer.
With the current snow pack level sitting at 178% of normal, I expect the river to be at full runoff for a considerable period of time this year. DON’T GET LEFT OUT!!! The mid and upper level lakes should have excellent fishing opportunities this summer. Knowing how daunting fly fishing lakes can be, through the end of June the Drift is continuing to offer the One Armed Bandit Special, a free sit down with Cat or I with the purchase of any Sage Accel, or Fishcat/outcast pontoon boat. The sit down will consist of rigging, safety, accessories, flies and still water strategies. As always Connell, Cat, Winston, The Master Mark, and the Drift Fly Shop want to thank you for reading……