Hello friends and thanks for checking in at the O’Grady Fly Fishing Adventures. As I was driving to the river this morning I couldn’t help feeling giddy for the day to come, and how after eighteen years of fly fishing, I am still completely elated with the sport. When Cat first started working at the fly shop, our river was for the most part a “put and take” river, and so most of our fishing was on the upper Ark and smaller creeks. We made yearly trips to the Taylor’s Hog Trough but the fish were usually better than us, but we kept trying. One year, all of our reading and listening finally took hold and we began to catch large fish on the Taylor. We were so excited and every big fish landed grew our obsession for bigger and more. I remember talking to some fly fishing old-timers and they explained to me that there were four stages of fly fishing. I was intrigued so I listened; the first stage was simply just catching a fish on a fly. The second stage was to catch huge numbers of fish and the third stage was the big fish stage. The final stage was not caring about anything but just enjoying being on the water with a fly rod, a type of fly fishing Nirvana.
Cat and I have talked about these stages over the years and this blog will be all about a made-up stage that we will call Four Plus, which is the sight fishing phase. Our sight fishing stage began several years ago when we just happened to meet up with a friend on the Dream Stream. I felt I was pretty good at catching big fish in holes and that day I started by landing few really nice cuttys and then I got to watch Anthony(Ants) just take over. As the sun got higher he continued to put the river to shame. Finally, I went up next to Ants and asked what the heck he was doing. He began pointing out the fish and I was lost, I could not see what he was seeing. He had me move down and as I was waiting he said there were several coming right at me. Once again, I saw nothing. He told me to cast and shortly after my rig began to drift, my indictor shot up river. The battle was fun and I landed a twenty-two-inch bow. I was excited but the feeling that I couldn’t shake was that my fly fishing arsenal was seriously lacking. When we got home the next day I bought a new pair of sunglasses and I began going to the river almost every afternoon for an hour or so looking for fish. At first the only fish I could see were from above but as the days became weeks and then months, I began to see fish everywhere. A whole new world, or four plus stage was born in me and I began to find the other stages a little boring. We still have fun hitting the lakes and we even still hit a few of the smaller creeks but nothing compares to stalking a fish and beating them head to head…
With the river coming up last week the phone has been ringing off the hook with people wanting to know how it has affected the fishing. This has been a really difficult question to answer because to me the fishing is incredible and the most amazing it will be all year. However, after hearing quite a few frustrated anglers on the river and in the shop, it may be a little more difficult for many anglers. With the extra water the fish have more room to move, people fishing their normal spots are still somewhat successful and happy, but nothing like the faces we see of anglers that have learned how to sight fish. I got to spend today on the river with a friend that is usually pretty successful but today we were trying to open a new stage for him. We got to the river just after 10:00 and seeing the bump in the river and the high clouds, I knew that would put a damper on the sight fishing. We hooked a few right off the bat and then we started scouring the river for feeders. Fish were a little scarce and then I found what we were looking for, I found a pair of fish tucked away and eating in a corner. Mike came over and after setting up a plan he took the shot. I was watching one of the fish when Mike lifted and said he had one, I was looking at the wrong fish and then he shot across and under a tree. Some people would be upset with the five second breakoff but to me it was the fish of the day. We moved around and Mike landed a few more. The sun broke out for a little while and I was able to sight out and land a few and then we fished our way out. It wasn’t the killer day we were looking for but just watching the one fish eat was pretty cool.
So, to finish off this blog I want to plug my abilities as a fly fishing guide. Over the weekend, Cat and I have spent a lot of time talking and selling flies to people wanting to catch fish on our river. We have sold FOD’s, Ninjas, True Bloods, Tube Wings and basically everything I have caught fish on over the last few weeks and we have had a little bit of everything coming back in the shop. We have seen people catch their first big fish ever, we have seen people that have had their best day ever and unfortunately, we have had people in saying that the flies we sold them didn’t work. I have warned people that fishing at times right now can be technical and the fish don’t get that big by being stupid but I feel they think we are holding out on them. My push now is if you are not a proficient sight fisher, look for a sunny day, higher me for a day and come learn the most incredible way of catching fish. I spent months learning to see fish and years learning how to use those abilities together. Guided trips right now will be working on finding the fish and then how to feed them properly. We can only help so much in the shop, but it kills us when people think we are holding out on them. With the amount of snow in the high country and the lack of moisture down here, we have no idea how long these conditions will remain awesome. Call the shop or call me and get your trip booked now. Just be aware, you may be stuck in the four plus stage for eternity. Shop 719-543-3900 Cell 719-568-4927.Pics are from today. As always, Connell, Cat, Winston, Ants and the Drift Fly Shop want to thank you for reading……..