Polar Shrimp by Jeff Hunter

Polar Shrimp by Jeff Hunter

The Polar Shrimp (Native Coastal Trout and Blueback)

Hook:               Standard wet fly, #4 & 6

Thread:            Veevus 8/0, Hot Pink

Tag:                 Holo silver tinsel

Tail:                 Golden pheasant, dyed hot pink

Butt:                None

Body                Fluorescent orange chenille

Rib:                  None

Hackle:            Hot orange or fluorescent orange saddle, tied back as a throat

Wing:              White bucktail

The Polar Shrimp is another very good fly to fish after the river has risen in the fall. I think that the cutthroat take it for a salmon egg or a shrimp. I was fishing for Blueback one morning in the 1980s on the lower stretches of a favorite costal river in here in Oregon. I was surprised when an 18 Chinook pound Chinook grabbed my Polar Shrimp. The fight was on with my six-weight. I don’t need to tell you that this was a battle where I was at a disadvantage. The battle finally went my way though, because there wasn’t any brush or logs in the pool for the fish to tangle me up.


Thank you Jeff

Jay Nicholas, October 22, 2020

All Flies, All the Time

I’ve decided to begin posting all of my flies online; doing so in a manner that they can be viewed by anyone. I am not convinced that a wordpress.com blog is the best platform to accomplish my goal, but I’ll decide over the ensuing months.  


I also intend to post the flies of friends and contributors, with their recipes and notes, hopefully in the tyer’s own words. Several of my friends have already begun to submit flies. Their flies will all be posted online, and I will compile them all into a series of books. My working title for these books is something like the following …. 

Honest Flies Tied by Real Anglers Who Catch Fish

There will be more, I hope, but at the present I’ll not promise anything. I have learned. my lesson on that score in recent years.

As a starter, sans recipe, the fly pictured above is tied by my friend Gui Allen.

Winter’s Hope. 

Somehow, it seems perfect tonight.

May you find what you need, and kindness, every day.

Jay Nicholas, 21 October, 2020

Wayne Doughton, Salem Oregon – Fly Fisher / Tyer Pioneer

Wayne Doughton in Basement responsibilituy

I’ll start by saying that Wayne Doughton was a friend, and to this day I miss him. Wayne passed in 2001, at the age of 87. While it is nearly impossible to say much about Wayne without mentioning his wife Sally, this brief post is only a short snippet of my memories of Mr. Wayne Doughton of Doughton Hardware store.

Larry Wacker was also a friend of Wayne’s and Larry kindly sent me this photo last week. The photo is so perfect. There’s Wayne in his basement in his Salem home. He has that wonderful smile that says “welcome, how may I help you today.” He is wearing a cardigan sweater. I could be wrong, but I think that Wayne wore a cardigan every day he worked in his Hardware store on Court st. He wore a short-sleeve shirt when he was my guest fishing the Deschutes River sometime in the 1970s — but in his store, his place of business, always the cardigan.

Wayne Doughton, Salem Oregon – Fly Fisher / Tyer Pioneer. I remember his store so well. There were two ladders on tracks that traversed front to rear of the long narrow store. These ladders offered access to stock items stored on high shelves. Doughton Hardware was a genuine old-time hardware store. Wood floors decades old. I’m not sure but he oiled the floors every few months, don’t know why either, but maybe it improved their durability. Aside from being stinky.

Doughton Hardware was located on Court Street, next to the Court Street Diner. Handmade milkshakes and grilled hand-patted hamburger patties. Wayne stocked everything in his store, including Fenwick fly rods, Pflueger fly reels, flies, and fly tying materials. I remember my excitement when he first brought in Hoffman Super necks and saddle patches. He stored materials in 2-gallon metal ice cream buckets. He stocked brown and badger China rooster capes and India saddles in bundles of strung feathers. He also stocked white deer belly hair that was required to tie wings on his Female Coachman fly. He also had an ample supply of the Poulson radiant fluorescent red/orange yarn hanks needed to tie the Sally Fly.

He carried Mustad fly hooks by the 100 per-box. 94840. 36900. 9762. 9763. 399. 3999-A Eagle Claw 1197-b; 1197-g; and 1197-n. Nymo thread by the spool or by the box.

Wayne carried Fenwick Feralite rods, Fenwick Graphite fly rods, and his custom made glass steelhead spinning and casting rods that were made with an aluminum handle through the cork handle. More than a few Mitchell 300 spinning reels out the door. He fished and sold Cortland 444 fly lines and Scientific Anglers Air Cell Supreme lines. The 444 lines were full floaters, full sinkers, and in the later years, nymph-tip lines.

Aside from all these things, Wayne was a kind man, ah honest man. A fair man. He fished at least at the Town Lake in Pacific City, Hebo Lake, the Siletz, the Malheur, the Deschutes, and Diamond Lake.

Wayne would take customers out in the alley behind the store to let them cast a new fly rod before they purchased it. He was quite the salesman, but never pushy.

Wayne was more than a friend. He was a mentor. He taught me that flies did not need to be all fancied up to be effective fish-catchers.

I did not understand the full importance of friendships like Wayne offered. I did not fully understand the importance of listening to his stories about his youth in Oregon. to say that he was an angling and fly tying pioneer is an understatement.


Why am I writing this now? I decided it is important to do more to preserve mention of the history of fly fishing and fly tying in Oregon. Not the famous people stuff, but the ordinary people things that deserve to be remembered. People and places and lakes and rivers and flies and tackle.

Unfortunately, my own experience is limited, maybe extremely limited, but still, my own memories together with other folk’s memories deserve to be recorded and passed on to people who will fish and tie flies in the future.

Unfortunately, again, this blog has too much crap in it about jokes and silly observations and thoughts I should have left on my therapist’s couch.

So, I have a plan, The plan is to break up this blog, delete irrelevant posts, and maybe even branch off one blog strictly for flies and one for history, and one for my personal history and angst that is of no interest to almost everyone.

I do not know how to do this presently, but I pledge to give it a try this winter.

Let’s see if I’m successful?

Jay – August 27th, 2020

PS: please forgive my misspellings and the omissions and auto-corrects that went wrong. My time is limited and this is a labor of love that i want to get done. Less than perfect is the best I can do – thank you.



Play it Forward?

I’ve been overwhelmed lately, paralyzed, spinning in circles, having difficulty focusing. The meds make me sleep far too much. I write notes of the things I need to do the next day, but the list seems to be growing, not shrinking.

Jay Nicholas Trtey Combs Jack Harrell at PCFF Shop

I’ve chosen to share this happy memory.

Trey Combs is in the green parka with my Airflo coffee cup. Jack Harrell, is at far left, with a great big smile on his face.  Tomo Higashi is second from right, and his two guests are in center and far right. We are in Jack’s Pacific City fly shop. the month is November and the year is, I think, 2017. We all had fun. We ate albacore, rice, salmon, and salmon caviar. We ate breakfast at the Grateful Bread and the Village Cafe. Pancakes and sausage and eggs and hash browns and coffee and waffles with butter and maple syrup. The estuary was unfishable, then barely fishable, then barely fishable but we fished hard and found a few willing salmon. The time was magical. Our cabin was full of tackle and fly lines and flies and people sitting in chairs and on the sofa and on the floor and we had sleeping bags rolled-up and piled in the corner of the living room, and we were all tried and smiling.

I look at this photo and I can remember it all, I can see the movie playing in my head.


May you live in kindness

Jay – August 23, 2020


Thanks and Hope

Thanks to the very large family of dear people who have touched on my life, and in so doing, touched on my family’s life, giving us strength and love, and the power of healing.

Anyone who has followed my blog through the years knows that my posts are more and more on matters of the heart than on matters of how to tie a fly or catch a fish.


These flies in the photo above are at rest in the palm of my friend Gui: a pair of old-time summer steelhead dressings that will swim with the best of ’em. Thank you Gui.

I promise that there will be more fly and fish posts in the future but for now, I need to, I want to say thanks once again to people who have reached out to my family.

Several circumstances have intersected this summer, resulting in challenges on the health front. Given that I’m BiPolar and OCD, I’m usually a barrel of laughs to have around the house, and the pandemic has been an interesting addition to the recipe.

Getting to the point of my rant.

What do I see, every time I turn around?

I see a friend. I see a kind face. I hear a word of encouragement. I hear an offer of help. I feel a hand steadying me. I read a word of kindness. I feel a sense of hope shared with a friend. I hear thanks for something I’ve done long ago.

There was a time when I could write about a great deal of my thinking about life. People have thanked me for being candid. Thanked me for honestly saying that I’ve have battled darkness, and prevailed. I have not been able to write candidly for many many months. I doubt that I will ever be able to write candidly again.

What is important for anyone reading this, anyone, to know that they are not alone. You are never alone. People around you who seem to have perfect lives fight the same battles that you do. All of them. All the same battles.

I learned to ask myself, what would _______ have done. Each of us has to fill in the blank with a name. Lisa inserts Mr. Rodgers. What would Mr. Rodgers do?

Maybe you will ask what would Lefty Kreh do? Maybe you will ask what would John McCain do? Maybe you will ask what would Mr. Spock do?  You might ask what would Scotty do? The important thing is to challenge yourself to be stronger, better, kinder, more patient, more forgiving, and so forth; than you have been before, or than you thought you could be.

I have found solace in challenging myself to put myself in the shoes (and the head) of a person I admire, a person who has done good things for humanity.

That’s it. my own challenges become small compared to those of my fellow travelers in this world.

Goodnight. Thank you today and every day.


[20 August 2020] coincidentally, the day after the dark of the moon.

Time to Go – Seeking a home for Rare Antique Books

I am hoping to find found a home for three sets of books that have been in my family since the late 1800s.

(Thank you – dated 13 july 2020)

Jay Nicholas Life, Correspondence, and Speeches of Henry Clay 1
Any suggestions you can offer will be appreciated.

These books are listed below and I have photos if these would be helpful


The life Correspondence, and Speeches Of Henry Clay
By Calvin Colton LLD
Professor of Public Economy, Trinity College
New York: Published by A. S. Barnes & Co
51 & 53 John Street
1857 First edition

Chamber’s Encyclopedia
A Dictionary of Universal Knowledge for the People
Ten Volumes
Illustrated with Four Thousand Engravings
Globe edition
1873 First edition

The life of Thomas Jefferson
In Three Volumes
New York Derby Jackson
119 Nassau Street
1858 First edition

As Spock surely would have said in this pandemic,

May you live in kindness
Jay W Nicholas

time to go: do something kind for a kid

I received the following email a few days ago. I am grateful for the note. I am sharing it in hope that each of you can find something nice to do for a young person to help them get going fishing or fly tying.

That’s all.


To Jay and Jack
July 8, 2020
Just wanted to thank you for the book. My grandpa Bob just gave it to me today. He said that Jack gave it to him to give to me and Jay had given a few to Jack to give away. I am 16 and have made a couple trips up there once in the fall and once just a few weeks ago. Haven’t landed any yet just a few chums last fall. Hopefully it will happen this fall. I have already started tying up some of the flies from the book.

Thanks again, Chase

Sent from my iPhone

Be well, be kind, …

Time to Go, Salmon Burger Recipe – June 29, 2020

Here’s a recipe for Salmon Burgers.

My friend Jim Coon shared this with me way back in 2013, or thereabouts.

I think that this is a very tasty way to serve up salmon, but it should be reserved only for the very best salmon, as Jim does.

This means a very bright, very prime buck, usually a three-year-old Chinook of about 8 to 12 pounds. In the 70s a fish of this weight would certainly have been a three-year-old, meaning a two-ocean fish. These days, a twelve-pounder could be a three-ocean fish for all I know

Here is the recipe, and y’all should pay attention because it is worth reporting here for as long as people live here and we are able to catch wild Chinook and eat them.

I apologize for the fact that this is a light image, I could not figure out how to darken the lines and the writing is faded by now.

Thank you, Jim.

May you be well and live in kindness. Jay.

Coon FAmily Salmon Burger Recipe 2013

Time to Go, Things to Do June 27, 2020

I went through the very few reports and fish related papers that I saved over the course of some 45 years working as a fisheries biologist last week. I have been winnowing the pile down for the last five years, no, the last ten years. I suppose some of you have done the same with your papers, books, and reports. They seem so important for so many years that we save them until the time comes when we, the time comes when I realize that I will never ever be able to muster the energy or the smarts to unlock the biological puzzle and then it is time to throw it away or give it to someone who might put it to use.

In this spirit, I bequeathed the following materials to the native Fish Society.

  1. The only tabulation of Chinook salmon landings n every coastal river in or3egojn from the late 1800s to about 1950.

This is a beat-up raggedy three-ring binder with each river and the landings in pounds and estimated numbers.  These tables are PRECIOUS. Bob Mullen compiled these numbers but he retired before he had time to publish the information report similar to the yellow cover report on coho landings in coastal river gillnet fisheries over the same time period.

2. I gave NFS a copy of the Bob Mullen report also, it is available somehow but is still important, even if other scientists decide to override these values. they are fascinating to consider.

3. I also left a copy of my draft first draft of the Chinook management plan, the draft before it was sanitized for management adaptive something or other.

4. I sent them a few other things too, like my “Assumptions of wild fish management.?”

5.  I also left a copy of The Dick Geiger study of coastal cutthroat in Oregon coastal rivers. This is a dead fishery on the coast and no one apparently cares in ODFW.  I fear the biologists coming along nowadays give a whit about what was learned in the 1960s when the coastal estuary fisheries thrived.

6.  I also left a copy of The Fred Everest study of Rogue summer steelhead. I remember the Rogue when the lost creek Dam was just being finished.

There was a little more, not much for 45 years,

I’m not the first person to say we need to understand our failings of the past fefoeiefpi999j

I am falling asleep at the keyboard so kindly excuse my errors.

I will close with the scanned pages of an article I wrote for a Japanese fly fishing magazine. My friend Tomo Higashi translated it for me. I know the scans are not perfect, I wanted people to remember that anglers are emotionally inspired by the same angling passion as us. I am too tired to

Japanese Fly Fisher Article 1 cover


Japanese Fly Fisher Article 1 contents

Japanese Fly Fisher Article 1 pg 1

Japanese Fly Fisher Article 1 pg 2

Japanese Fly Fisher Article 1 pg 3

Japanese Fly Fisher Article 1 pg 4

Japanese Fly Fisher Article 1 pg 5

Japanese Fly Fisher Article 1 pg 6Japanese Fly Fisher Article 1 pg 7Japanese Fly Fisher Article 1 pg 8

Thank you all. We have so much in common.




The Isolated Fly Fisher’s Diary – June 20, 2020

jay boat hole 20180607_152202 copy 2 2

From Talking Heads.

And you may ask yourself, well
How did I get here?

The insults of age accumulate.

There may come a time when the only stories and photos we can share are reminders of years past.

The photo was 2018, possibly, but it wasn’t this year. Rob was anchored above me, the weather was overcast with the barest hint of breeze. The tide ran out, building momentum, while the Chinook decided to get bitey – and stayed that way for a good three hours.


June 19th, 2020 was a good day.

I’m 71, and I have probably not seen Don, an old friend, for at least 35 years.

I digress.

I didn’t see Don today.

I met a kindred spirit, a man who has lived in odd parallel tracks that nearly intersected mine, but ……..

He hunted with Don south of Corvallis.

One of his best friends fished with Don on the Deschutes years ago and most likely used the double hook Skunks I tied for Don.

Tim is a man I should have met ages ago. Should have fished with years ago. should have tied flies with years ago. but our lives weren’t meant to go that way.

So we met today, finally.


Big Hearted,

He takes action in ways that make people’s lives better. Heals people who need a healing hand. He’s suffered his own wounds. He’s learned from the insults life has dealt him.

Finally, we met yesterday.

Nice to meet you, Tim.


I hope you all have a very good day today,

May you be well and live in kindness.