How are we today?



How’s Jay?

Well here we go once again with most likely way more than anyone is interested in but I’ve learned that there are a few very kind people who follow this blog or maybe even stumble into these rants who find a laugh or a tear or a nugget of wisdom or surprise in these disjointed thoughts and take the energy and time to send me an email or text or post a comment thanking me so here goes and yes I didn’t get out of bed this morning until six AM which is waaaaaaay later than the 3:30 or 4:00 hour that usually sees me holding the handrail very carefully as I step slowly downstairs and plop myself in front of the computer to begin my day and guess what I’m often already dressed for the day because of the wonder of sleepin jeans and sleepin simms flannel cold weather shirts which my son David tells me could be the next big money making venture across the globe for men of my age who decline to wear stained grey sweat shirts and similarly stained grey sweatshirts but alternatively choose unstained levi’s and flannel shirts to wear virtually 24/7 however one big as far as I can tell is that all of us don’t need to purchase specialty garments labeled as sleepin’ jeans because we are perfectly comfortable already right now and have been for months or years with sleeping in our regular jeans and flannel shirts so why on earth should we want to go out and spend our rapidly shrinking cash reserves on clothes we already own and yes if you happen to be like me among the retired work force who are still working because health insurance costs so dang much and inflation although is small always always out paces cost of living ha ha ha ha retirement funds so what the heck we’ll just keep right on sleeping in the jeans and flannel shirts we already own but excuse me for goin’ on so long about this I did want to mention that I finally yes after more than a year of procrastination published the SECOND EDITION of Book of Revelation the Ultimate Irreverent Fly Fishing Glossary and oops I may have broken protocol by using capital letters for the book but ain’t going back to correct this breech now anyway the second edition includes several hundred new definitions and terms, and new original sketches and a very nice foreword by Matthew Supinski and low and behold I by chance of the universe I recently talked to a formerly complete stranger who lives in California and learned that he not only enjoys the glossary himself but so much so that he has purchased several of these to serve as gifts for his fishing friends and of course this made me smile a very big smile because for one the glossary is a book that I worked on for YEARS and of which I am very pleased that I took the time and effort and more and more realize that there is NOTHING like it out there in the book-o-sphere even remotely like it and by this I mean that there are no similar books on the commercial market that capture the lunacy of what it means to be an angler and in particular a fly fisher and honestly ever time I pick this book up and flip through the pages I can’t help but wonder just who the hell wrote it because my ability to free associate in an outrageously silly manner seems so greatly diminished these days that I sincerely doubt that I would be able to persevere and create the content to define over fifteen hundred words and phrases related to fishing and fly fishing and then sketch nearly five hundred accompanying illustrations for the dang book and on my best days maybe I could but a close examination of the content tells me that this was a once in a lifetime literary ha ha accomplishment for this guy and ya know this may be true for most of the books I’ve written with one exception the two intruder fly books as a case when the second book built on the first and actually carried a more sophisticated philosophy and content and technique and fly recipes than the first and darn it at times I wonder if I should dump intruder essentials and only keep advanced intruder strategies on the bookshelf but hell I’ll just let them both live for now at least and since I seem to be on the topic of books yes work on salmon fisher’s journal is proceeding very very well but very very much slower than I had hoped or predicted or even suggested but damn it I am not about to sacrifice quality of the final product for meeting an arbitrary time table so what has taken so darn long well for one thing the content has been edited and condensed and critiqued and reworked again and again and again until I am finally satisfied at least to the extent that means I’m exhausted with the revisions and ready to let it go but of course it will receive a final proof at the bitter end and there will be a few pages that will receive a little more agonizing retrospection and the changing of a few words to get the message as close to right as I’m able and we are in the process of laying photo images into the design now and there will be the usual number of switch outs or substitutions and there are still flies that have not been photographed yet and whoa the process of photographing flies is not nearly as straight forward as anyone would ever imagine until the fateful day when said anyone person actually tries to photograph flies especially chinook flies and finds out that their purple, pink and blue comets look great digitally but their hot orange and fluorescent chartreuse comets are so washed out as to be a complete mess and fluorescent flame red chenille almost always blurs out because it is too bright but oh well my own photography leaves much to be desired but my friend scott is a professional and is graciously donating his time and expertise to produce really great fly photo images thank goodness so yes the book is on track and will be first cabin when it is printed but I really cannot imagine that this will occur in less than three months but I’m not about to budge on quality oh oh have I said this already oh well that’s just how it is and I will add that my heart is still heavy over the fact that one of my friends or should I say one of the men who I have and still want to consider a friend and so forth became so distraught that they wrote an anonymous letter that in thinly veiled terms threatened me and lisa and my family with what could only be interpreted with harm unless I did NOT publish salmon fisher’s journal and I can tell you redacted so here’s the deal I wrote some stuff about how I felt about the letter and then flat out decided to delete it because who cares anyway and I hope it was one of my friends who suffers from severe mood swings when they have consumed too much mood altering substance(s) and transforms from a genuine friend into a tortured wounded very alone individual who lashes out in his pain but I may carry my own sadness over this incident to my grave unless the man has the courage to come to me and tell me they did it and then I’d probably say I understand and thank you and let’s get on with our lives and let the incident lay on the trash heap of salmon paranoia and not allow it to taint the good parts of our relationship OK enough of that oh yes I had two Saturday evenings in the ER and was in the hospital for three days last week and then redacted but now I am home now with my family and appreciate seeing how each day goes and redacted blah blah blah and oh yes where winter steelhead fishing is concerned this was close to a no-show with me fishing maybe 6 or 7 days swinging flies on the upper nescucca and trask and earning several pulls but if you fish for steelhead you know exactly what I mean by use of the term pull and understand that it could have been a forty-pounder or a twelve inch cutthroat so  I’ll just say that I was honored to be able to get out and wade and climb up and down the steep river banks and not break a leg or have my heart seize up and make a few casts and have an overall satisfying several days even without doing any steelhead catching and so I’ll now report that I just returned from my usual hour long walk at the gym on the treadmill at 2.2 miles per hour and feel just fine so there you have it and here I go into the day and I think I wanted to say something about being so very grateful for the genuine friendship that some very ordinary and very at the same time exceptional people have extended to me and when I say friendship I realize that this word is conditional and much misunderstood and overused and one example is Facebook an environment where people can have thousands or tens or hundreds of thousands of friends and followers and likes and all that crap but in reality how many genuine authentic friends can any of us ordinary humans have and nurture at one time anyway well in my way of thinking the actual number may be as small as two dozen or less than a dozen or ever less than a half-dozen at any one time of course I do have some friends who I do consider genuine friends who I may not see for years at a time and we still do have I think a real bond that is independent of the fact that we have been apart for so long and we are able to pick right up where we left off but on the other hand and again in my own particular case I probably interact on a regular basis with less than ten people at any given time and these of course on a practical basis receive the vast majority of my personal energy and I do wish I had more of this magic energy and time to spread around further but I do not and so there it is some of the people I do consider my friends have expressed on one hand that they felt like I didn’t value them and maybe on the other hand they wondered if I was mad or angry or disappointed with something they did or said and if you think I’m kidding I’m not there are two friends who told me they thought I was angry at them for some reason or another because they had not heard from me but the truth was that I was just busy and that was the only thing going on and I thanked them for telling me so I could assure them that I was not at all anything but neglectful and then there are two of my friends who I still consider friends who have come very close to washing their hands of me because I do not see them very often but again I’ve only got just so much energy to go around and well I will likely call or text one of them today and see if we can go get coffee soon and hope for the best so let’s move on and allow me please to say that I really enjoy tying silly old Clousers because you can tie them big and small dull and bright flashy and not and in various styles and with various eyes and these darn flies are amazingly effective and I’m still wondering if I might try to get to baja this year and I would love to get up to the dean but probably won’t on either account and or oh my goodness I may be able to go to a fantastic place in 2019 to support the fly fishing art and do a little fishing also and I sure hope it actually happens but of course we will need to wait and see and for the moment I need to post some videos including a bloopers video and I have needed to post to my blog and this is not easy to do what I’m doing right here but in some respects I owe it to anyone who is crazy enough to read it and owe it to myself too and at this moment I cannot even remember what the heck I’ve talked about oh by the way remember our dear kitty Rollo died suddenly around last November and we were all really shook up by that and especially his surviving litter mate Boomer but as time went on we decided to bring a young cat into our home and after several months we are all enjoying each other’s company and all of a sudden I want to say that I have met a small number of the nicest kindest most supportive people on Facebook which was a surprise but a nice surprise and I am grateful to each of these people and I am sick of politics and people and gosh almighty why can’t people be kind to each other and conduct ourselves in constructive ways that improve the quality of life of people we interact with each day well I just don’t get it but I do know that every time I am courteous to a stranger I meet in the course of my daily. routine that person feels just a little happier if only for a few seconds and that is something good that if everyone did this all day every day would probably make the world a better place and even though what I just said probably sounds silly and shallow but maybe we should all consider if it is true and then do it and so I started with how’s jay but really the whole point of this rant is to say that I’m fine and I hope that everyone who reads this and everyone they know and everyone who knows the people they know are doing fine as well because lordy life can be short and we leave so much undone that we really should have done and wanted to do but just didn’t get around to it all and if I could do one thing it would be not to wish you a big fish today—but to wish you a little joy and a little happiness and a little love today and I’ve come to the end of what I can bear to write this morning and will now bid you a g’day as my wonderful beautiful gentle mother Dulcie would have said if she were here.

Jay Nicholas, 17 April 2018


7 new Nicholas Fly Tying and Fishing Videos!

Seven new videos posted on my Youtube channel.  Tons of good stuff going on. Thanks to Will at Ashland Fly Shop for organizing a fly club presentation and tube steelhead tying class last week. Thanks to Jon Hazelet and his family’s hospitality. Thank you all and I hope you find something entertaining here. Many more ideas to follow up on. JN – March 2018.

5 videos related to fly fishing for Lingcod and tying lingcod flies.
3 videos related to my recollections about the Metolius back in the 1960s – 1980s.

Salmon fishing with Marty and Mia

Jay Nicholas & Marty Sheppard Sept 2017

This is obviously a late post from last fall)1017) but when I found it I figured it was time to put it up.


So I’ve devoted at least a half dozen days on the water this fall trying to get a grab from a salmon, to no avail.  Headed out one short evening to fish with Marty and Mia Sheppard, One of us had two grabs (Marty), one of had one grab (Mia), and one of us had no grabs (me). Whatever became of the salmon, whatever rods we fished, lines we fished, flies we fished, waders we wore, sunglasses we wore and so forth—are irrelevant.

What matters is that we had a  chance to talk, like friends do.

Thanks, my cabin has room for you whenever you can make it back to the ocean.

Jay Nicholas – October 2017


PS: the most awesome photo above is by Mia.

3 new Nicholas YouTube videos!

This has been another great week for video production adhere is a quick list of what’s new on my Youtube channel.

Tips for tying a summer steelhead fly with chenille. This material is still a great fit with our most productive flies.

Intruder fly tying discussion. This is a thirty minute video that features a general discussion about Intruders, especially those tied on ProSportfisher tubes. The fly is a great one and I try to mention features of these flies and the intention of tying, materials and so forth. This is not the full story but it is a start and I hope it entertains and informs a little.

Olive and Orange Tube Intruder based on Jeff Hickman’s Fish Taco.

Cream Balanced Leech. A hot new pattern useful in many waters, and most recently popularized on Pyramid Lake – fished under indicators.

Thanks for your kind notes and feedback, I hope you will have fun with these videos.

Jay Nicholas, February, 2018

2 Nicholas videos posted to YouTube

This post is to let readers know that I’ve released another new pod of videos on my YouTube Channel.

Each of you has different levels of experience and interest, so the best approach is to browse the list and decide if any are in the ballpark of your playpen.

Fly Tying Discussion – Intruders I. This is a 33-minute video in which I discuss the thinking and techniques of tying Intruders. This is hopefully the first of several that will follow.
* General composition
* length
* waist
* intention
* materials
* use of flash
* platforms
* weighting

Fly Tying Discussion – Chenille body techniques on a summer steelhead fly
Chenille can be applied in many ways to achieve different effects on your flies, this video shows several of the finer points I’ve learned over the years when tying with chenille.

Thank you all for your good wishes.

My YouTube channel is located here. I crrently have 33 videos posted and have ten nearly edited and ready to publish in the next month.

Jay Nicholas – February 2018

Rob and Erin’s new Drift Boat

Salmon Anglers on a fishless evening

Note: this is a belated post of a blog I drafted in October 2017.

I’m quite sure I haven ever seen such a fine drift boat. Rob and Erin crafted this vessel with care. The boat is so fine that it shimmers—eluding the possibility of looking closely at its detail—which is similarly superior craftsmanship.

This is a good time for me to say thanks to Rob and Erin for the goodness and love they have shared with my family.

A erin perkin 20171007_084013 copy

I hope to see you on the water with Cooper soon.

Jay Nicholas – October 2017

7 Videos Added to YouTube Channel

I had a busy weekend and one positive outcome was adding seven videos to my Youtube channel.

One of these is a review of the most basic fly tying tools.
Two are instructional fly tying videos; one featuring my friend Garren Woods.
Four are part of my new River Story Series; These videos provide an opportunity to tell a story or share some ideas while I’m tying a fly. These videos are more about the events than about the fly tying — although I do tie a fly, I say little about the tying techniques and focus on the story.

I hope you find something interesting in these latest postings, and encourage you to browse them at your convenience. Thanks and have a great week!

Jay Nicholas – January 29 2018

River Story Series — Larry Cullens’ Comet. This video features Jay Nicholas tying a Chartreuse Comet and relating a story about his friend Larry Cullens fly fishing for Chinook on the Rogue River in about 2004.

Garren Wood’s Adams Parachute. video is rather long and conversational — it contains a lot of good information shared by my friend Garren Wood. The Adams Parachute is an extremely effective fly and this rough water version is well worth your time to tie and fish.

Basic Fly Tying Tools – 1. This short video introduces the most Basic Fly Tying Tools. This is strictly for folks who are interested in beginning fly tying. Future videos will show some basic fly tying vises.

River Story Series — California Bill’s Special Clouser. This is a short video feature that I’m calling rilver stories told from the fly bench. This is an opportunity to share a short story bout fish, fishing, and people while I’m tying a fly in the background. I hope you find something entertaining here.

River Story Series — Henry Hoffman. This video is another in my new River Story Series – I relate my recent meeting with Henry Hoffman while tying a traditional Boss Steelhead fly. This fly is still effective in summer and winter fished on the swing in rivers from the coast to the interior in places like the Deschutes, John Day, and Grand Ronde. I hope you enjoy the short story.

River Story Series — Three-Day Chinook. This is another of my River Story Series -— Three-Day Chinook. In this story, I relate the time back in 2003 when I fished with Bob Borden, Ryan Borden, Jeff Hunter, and Darian Hyde. It was a very slow time and I managed to catch the one fish of the trip by luck alone, I tie a Flame Boss while telling this story.

Trout Tube Streamer Fly “Slender Minnow” Red & White. This video features a tube streamer that is tied with trout in mind, resident and sea-run. That said, I think this style of fly has great potential for summer and winter steelhead in clear water. I fashoned this fly after the style that is well established in Eurpoe for sea run brown trout and Atlantic Salmon. I chose a red/white color cast for this fly because of the universal appeal of the colors.

So it’s come to this?


My week was pretty good. Presentation to the Rainland Fly Club in Asoria Thursday evening, Hosted by Henry Hoffman. Henry was tying flies for Poulson, a Portland Oregon Distributor in the mid 1950s. Henry was paid $1.15 per dozen for trout flies, and $1.30 for weighted steelhead flies. Met some very nice people with an amazing history tying and fly fishing since 1950!

Friday morning I had breakfast with Mary,  John, and Jack Harrell. It was great so see them and catch up with news about a new puppy in Pacific city and. new cat in Corvallis.

Saturday was very good one in Corvallis, with my teenager Courtney speaking at the nationwide women’s march and me tying flies at Royal Treatment in West Lynn. Did  I mention that I’m proud of Court, because I am. The folks at RT were warm and welcoming as usual, with many familiar faces in the gathering. One young couple was accompanied by their black cat in a backpack carrier. They showed me a photo of the cat wading a stream when they were fishing.

Arrived home Saturday and got the mail. an unmarked envelope was addressed to me. Lisa held it up and asked if I knew who it was from. “Nope. Go ahead and open it—probably an advertisement of some sort.

Well, the letter above is what she read to me.

Lisa looked at me and said, “is this some sort of sick joke?”

I read it and read it and read it again.

I shared the letter with a very few friends.

Here is reaction from two: Trey Combs and Tomonori Higashi.

From Tomonori Higashi (in Japan)
Ha!! When you stand out from the crowd you start to receive such things… seems very universal. In past I tried to please everyone that I know and that I don’t know, but I now know it is impossible. I accept the bare fact that some people hate me simply because I’m visible. Hating someone at heart is natural, but if you send the bad vibes out, it causes bad karma to start! I’m not a serious Bhuddist, but I kind of believe it.

So, please stand strong, you are doing good to the sport and fishery!

From Trey Combs
What a creepy letter. You likely have an idea who wrote it. “Anonymous,” whether hiding behind a mask, or under a hood, or gutting someone on the internet, is what cowards do. Hey, I would turn the letter over to the police.

I can imagine the dialogue at the police department.

Me – I received this anonymous threat against me, my family, and anyone close to me.

Detective – So, you are being threatened for doing what?

Me – writing a book.

Detective – a book about what?

Me – About fishing.

Detective – and what is in this book?

Me – Fishing stories.

Detective – And this anonymous person is angry about what?

Me – That my writing about some of the places I fish will attract more people to fish there. He likes to fish there too, and he is afraid that there will be more and more people going to fish there and crowding us out.

Detective – Really? For this the person threatens you and your family?

Me – Yes.

Detective – And this is normal for fishermen to do this sort of thing?

Me – speechless.

Detective – do you have any idea who this might be?

Me – Maybe. I hope not. It makes me ill to think that one of my friends would actually threaten my family.

Detective – Well?

Me – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –


I’ll close here and wish you all the top of the morning.

Jay Nicholas, January 22, 2018



Jay Nicholas’ Ten-Year Echo Fly Rod Review – 2018

Jay Nicholas Echo fly rod review

I was looking through my photo library recently and noticed an image of me playing a chinook with an Echo II Spey rod. This was in 200, and I’m as sure as I can be that I’d already fished this rod for summer steelhead in 2008 and possibly earlier too. My conclusion was that I have been fishing Echo fly rods for at least a decade. Not bad.

I decided that I’d try to figure out how many Echo fly rods I’ve fished over the last ten years. Some things I remember quite well and some things are a little on the fuzzy side. But here is the list I came up with—25 rod models at least and most certainly amounting to at least fifty individual rods of various line weight designations.

Spey Rods
• Echo II Spey rod
• Echo Dec Hogan
• Echo Dec Hogan II
• Echo TR Spey
• Echo TR 2017 rev.
• Echo Glass Spey
• Echo King

Switch Rods
• Echo Glass Switch
• Echo Switch
• Echo 3 Switch
• Echo Switch SR

Saltwater rods
• Echo 3 SW
• Echo 3 SW 2916 rev.
• Echo Boost
• Echo Boost beach
• Echo Bad Ass Glass
• Echo Prime
• Echo EPR

• Echo Ion
• Echo Ion XL
• Echo Base
• Echo 3 FW
• Echo Shadow PE
• Echo Edge
• Echo Ion

Specialty Rods
• Echo Pin

During that time, an Echo rod failed me a total of ZERO times. Nada. Zip. Never. Not once.

I have put 3 wt. to 12 wt. Echo fly rods to the test. Of course, the test of a 12 wt. rod is quite different from the test I applied to a 3 wt.—but test these rods I did. I’ve caught black rockfish, lingcod, coho salmon, chinook salmon, chum salmon, sea-run cutthroat, dorado, jack crevalle, black skipjack, northern pikeminnow, rainbow trout, brown trout, summer steelhead, and winter steelhead on my Echo fly rods. Not an impressive list compared to the fish caught by many professionals, but since I’m an average fly fisher beating around my home waters, this is a fair assortment of the fish we have in the Oregon rivers, lakes, and nearshore ocean. I do note that I’m missing smallmouth bass and carp, so anyone who wants to help me with those beauties just get hold of me and let’s see if we can schedule something.

General remarks:

Casting performance: good to superior. These fly rods, in ever model and line class, have either the Tim Rajeff magic or the Timmie blessing. None of these Echo fly rods are knock-offs or copies of someone else’s rod design. I find that I cast well with these rods, and doubt that anyone would find them lacking, expect of course the world class caster who is able to extract the last 5% in a cast.

Blank color/finish/appeal: beauty is in the eye of the beholder but I generally find Echo fly rods appealing, some more so than others. I’m not hot for the TR Spey rods and the old Ion left me cold also – but the new ION is very nice and the Bad Ass Glass is awesome. Face it, color is less important than performance.

Component quality: I’ve never had an issue with the quality of Echo fly rod componentry. That said, these rods must be shaving a little off the high end components on rods like Sage, Winston, Scott, and Loomis. All I know is that I’ve never had a complaint about Echo components.

Thread wraps: again, I find these colors pleasing and subtle, not fancy, but entirely durable and dependable.

Cork: I have had issues with cork handles on Echo fly rods—rarely—but no more so than I’ve experienced with high-end fly rods. My only less than pleasing experience was with an Echo 3 SW rod of about 6 years ago. The handle just seemed less durable than usual. I have had the same experience with Winston and Sage and I assume that any rod maker can get a less than perfect batch of cork. Overall, I rate Echo on par with any rod maker.

Rod Tube: Quite satisfactory. I have seen higher quality rod tubes on rods that cost 2X or 3X higher. Personally, I’d rather get a decent tube and have no need for a highly engineered tube.

Rod Sock: Again, Echo socks are satisfactory, sometimes superior to socks on high end rods. I think my personal favorite is the Winston Rod Sock.

Warranty Service: Superior. No question about this, Echo delivers the fastest and lowest cost warranty service.

My advice to anyone who is considering purchasing an Echo fly rod?
• You will find a rod that is durable and totally dependable to cover every imaginable fishing circumstance, except maybe whale fishing.
• You will find that each of the Echo fly rods will cast as well or better than many rods at twice the price.
• The key differences between Echo rods and more expensive rods is usually in the components and the high-end rods might be a little lighter and might perform a smidge better in the hands of expert casters.
• At my average casting skill level, I’ve not found Echo rods lacking in any aspect of performance.
• In my opinion, Echo fly rods are “over-engineered.” By this I mean that Tim Rajeff has built-in a safety cushion to each rod. If’ I’m right, this is likely the reason that Echo fly rods are so darn tough.
• I would ALWAYS take Echo fly rods on destination fishing trips because I don’t want to take the chance of having a trip ruined by fly rod failure. If I pack an Echo to go on the trip I’ll most likely be packing it back home at the end of the trip.
• Warranty service (for rods I have broken by my clumsiness) is UNSURPASSED in the industry. Simple. Trust it.

Ok, this is enough for now.

I welcome any questions about specific Echo fly rods if I may be able to help.

And let’s not get carried away. While I trust my Echo fly rods faithfully, I also have a soft spot in my heart for a few other rods too, especially a few Burkheimer, Winston, Scott, and Sage rods that have earned forever status in my tackle bag.

Jay Nicholas, January 2018

My friend Dave Stewart

Jay Nicholas Dave Stewart 1

This is Dave Stewart and his dad, Doug Stewart, on the Deschutes in 2009.

I just wanted to let you know that Dave Stewart is busily engaged with his website  Wet Fly Swing and has launched a podcast—all aimed at fly fishers and fly tyers.

Dave interviewed me for his podcast and you can find my interview online and at iTunes.

Topics in my podcast with Dave include:
How to find a place to fish for steelhead.
Don’t start fly fishing for salmon.
Support the economy by buying Spey lines.
Why fish a non-slip Uni knot?
Our primitive connection to fly tying.
On tying original flies.
Best summer and winter steelhead patterns.
The Rio chart to all Spey and switch rods and lines.

This is a  link to my YouTube channel.

This is a link to my video interview with Dave.

Here following are more photos from a wonderful trip in 2009 on the Deschutes with Dave, his father Doug, and Steve Jacobs.

Jay Nicholas Dave Stewart 4Jay Nicholas Steve Jacobs 1Jay Nicholas Dave Stewart 2Jay Nicholas Steve Jacobs 2Jay Nicholas Deschutes 2009 1

My gosh, this was a great trip. Thank you all.

Jay Nicholas January 15th, 2018