Swinging for Steelhead Upriver on my Birthday eve

Yep. I was Matt Stephens’ guest fishing upriver yesterday, my birthday eve and Matt’s birthday, swinging for winter steelhead on the Nestucca River.  Wonderful day, fun with a great guy, we found a few willing fish, I fell down twice but didn’t get hurt or soaked, and the grab on the swing is soooooooo nice when it comes.

One kelt grabbed a fly on a short cast, with only the Flow Tip and ten feet of the Switch head out of the guides; and one hen intercepted a fly swinging deep in a tail out on a very long cast; and one fish climbed on in fast water at the transition zone where the fast flow met the slow.  Matt caught the big hen, all were released, and we were pleased as heck to have had the day together fishing beautiful water and finding grabby steelhead.

Today I celebrate 66 years on the planet, with my family and friends.  May each of you find something good today and every day.  Thanks to everyone for their good wishes and support.

Jay Nicholas Echo Swing Day a

Feisty kelt hammered a fly in close than ran into the rapids, seeming like a twenty pounder!

Matt Stephens birthday 2015

Matt Stephens, birthday boy.

Matt Stephens with steelhead on the Swing.

Matt’s nice hen up for a quick photo and back into the water.

Jay Nicholas Nestucca Winter Steelhead

Hen from a tail out swing.

Matt Stephens on Birthday 2015

Matt making the cast.

ay Nicholas Echo Swing Day d

Not fancy, just effective.

ay Nicholas Echo Swing Day e

Echo Glass 7 wt TH resting.

Jay Nicholas morning at Woods Cabin a

Sunshine in Woods.

Jay Nicholas morning at Woods Cabin b Jay Nicholas morning at Woods Cabin c Jay Nicholas morning at Woods Cabin d Jay Nicholas morning at Woods Cabin eWhat a nice way to begin the day.

Jay Nicholas, March 26 2015

Three Days in Paradise – March 2015

Ready to head up to the lake.
Ready to head up to the lake.

This is a retrospective of three days in pacific City, my own corner in paradise.

Day One: I arrive at cabin about 8.  By 9 I have the boat hooked up and head up to the Town Lake.

Town Lake in March 2015.
Town Lake in March 2015.


By 9:10 I’m rowing out on the lake and ready to fish.

Echo Glass Switch rod with trout pulling on fishing line.
Echo Glass Switch rod with trout pulling on fishing line.
Small but feisty hatchery trout on Jigged Hare's Ear Nymph.
Small but feisty hatchery trout on Jigged Hare’s Ear Nymph.
Awesome rig for lake fishing: Foam Hopper with Jigged nymph about 4 ft below on 5X fluorocarbon tippet.
Awesome rig for lake fishing: Foam Hopper with Jigged nymph about 4 ft below on 5X fluorocarbon tippet.
Loading the boat to head upriver.
Loading the boat to head upriver.


At 11:30 it was time to load the boat and head upriver to meet my friends and swing for winter steelhead.

A nice kelt comes to net, swinging with ECHO GLASS 7 wt two hand rod and RIO IMow tip.
A nice kelt comes to net, swinging with ECHO GLASS 7 wt two hand rod and RIO IMow tip.


My friend Nate rowed his raft while JK and I yammered, we fished in bright sun, and eventually I hooked a nice big shiny kelt.  Nate netted the fish, and before I could set up for a photo, i promptly fell into water up to my neck.  JK fished me out, my waders full, we took the photo smiling and laughing, I poured water out of my waders, and we headed for the boat ramp.

Shiny winter steelhead kelt in sun, March 2015.
Shiny winter steelhead kelt in sun, March 2015. My nose is not as large as it appears in this trick photo.


Emptying water from my Simms waders in the shade, getting sand on my rear end in the process.

Got sand on my rear end and socks when I poured water out of the waders.

Day two:  worked at cabin when i got up at 3:30.  Met Jack Harrell for breakfast at 8 at Grateful Bread.  Then we hit the lake at 2 PM for trout and summer steelhead action.  We caught many hatchery trout and two summer steelhead. As we rowed to the take out, we met a young man visiting from California with his girlfriend, and Jack invited him to join us on the lake for a quick lesson on how to do it right.

Kyle joins Jack and Jay on lake.
Kyle joins Jack and Jay on lake.
Kyle photographs rainbow trout from town lake.
Kyle photographs rainbow trout from town lake.

In a few minutes Kyle is catching trout steadily and getting coaching from two self appointed experts.  I think he had a great time.  He says he will be back with his parents in the summer and wants to book a dory charter to fish the ocean then.

Day Three: serious solo steelhead fishing.  I start about 9 AM and fish until about 5 with no sign of fish.  Then a steelhead rolls, I cast, and it’s game on.  My day is perfect.

Winter Steelhead on the swing, 2015.
Winter Steelhead on the swing, 2015.

I remember reading about Roderick Haig Brown living and fishing his home water on the Campbell River, BC.  These days I feel like I’ve got it pretty darn good.  Paradise, near as I can tell.

May you all have your own days in paradise.

Jay Nicholas March 24 2015








Intruder Essentials for Salmon, Steelhead, and Trout

Intruder Essentials - Tying Tube and Shank Intruders for Salmon, Steelhead, and Trout.
Intruder Essentials – Tying Tube and Shank Intruders for Salmon, Steelhead, and Trout.

But only ginormous trout, please.

Just published my new book on Amazon and reception has been very good from the totally unbiased friends who have taken a peek at it.  You may see the book here at Intruder Essentials, or you could contact me for a signed personalized copy, or better still, contact your local brick, mortar and duct-tape FLY SHOP and ask them if they are carrying my full set of books yet.

This is a beautifully photo-illustrated guide for intermediate fly tyers who want to tie Intruders on tubes or shanks. Featuring 24 original flies, step by step photo illustrations, and materials recipes for each pattern. This book does not claim to cover the rich history of the fly style or the most effective fishing tactics, but is a great practical guide to tying Intruders that will entice salmon, steelhead, and trout worldwide.

Soft Cover 8.5 x 8.5” – full color with over 400  original color photographs – 72 pages $27.95

Here is one fly from the book, to give a sneak peek at the fly eye candy contained in  this book.

Intruder #1 from Intruder Essentials.
Intruder #1 from Intruder Essentials.


Each fly is accompanied by a series of 15 photos showing the stages of producing each fly, plus a materials recipe.

Photo Series for Intruder #1 in Intruder Essentials.
Photo Series for Intruder #1 in Intruder Essentials.

DSC_2654 DSC_2656 DSC_2657 DSC_2659 DSC_2660 DSC_2661 DSC_2664 DSC_2665 DSC_2667 DSC_2668 DSC_2669 DSC_2670 DSC_2672 DSC_2674


Intruder-style flies are the stuff to conjure dreams of great rivers and fresh-from-the sea salmon and steelhead.

I hope that Intruder Essentials will help encourage novice and Intermediate tiers to hit their fly benches and tie up a boat-load of these beauties.  The book can’t answer all the questions you may have about tying technique or fishing, but please feel free to correspond with me and I’ll be more than willing to try to help you along your own path to Intruder Truth.

I’ve been fishing a little lately, and it has been good from timetotime, even in the low water.  Most of the steelhead I’ve been finding have sea lice aplenty, many are spooky and unapproachable, but a few are aggressive and grabby.  My oh my it has been wonderful.

Best to you all.

Jay Nicholas, March 12, 2015


Whatsup with Jay?

Ok folks yes I’ve been busy and yes this post may not have the benefit of punctuation but maybe that’s for the better anyway because some of the topic material may be found objectionable to some readers and if so well just please excuse me for my insensitivity but what follows is really true and so it ought to stand on its own merit anyway and well – pause for breath – I have been going like mad not insane really just like crazy or really busy I guess would be the best way to put it with rising and family and writing and trying to promote my books and if you are at all interested in adding to the quality of my family’s live please click on this link to my books to find  Jays books on Amazon and I thank you sincerely in advance so anyway one funny thing that happened lately was that I posted a photo on Facebook gosh I really do not like Facebook but feel compelled to use it now and then to avoid becoming a complete HERMIT and so the photo was from a moment with my family when I was not fishing and here it is …..

Jay with wife Lisa and young son Jackson Nicholas
Jay with wife Lisa and young son Jackson Nicholas

and a very kind fellow responded that I had beautiful children which is of course true but the lady in this photo is my WIFE not my child and our family had a good laugh and I sincerely hope the gentleman does not feel the slightest bit bad because this is not the first time I have been complimented on my beautiful daughter and new topic here I’ve been up at Royal Treatment Fly Fishing in West Linn Oregon at Joel’s kind invitation on one day making a presentation on saltwater fly fishing for sea bass lingcod silvers and albacore plus sharks and sea monsters I guess and tying flies also and here is a photo from …. one day

Jay Nicholas Intruders
Jay Nicholas Intruders
Jay tying Intruders at Royal Treatment Fly Fishing
Jay tying Intruders at Royal Treatment Fly Fishing

and that was a lot of fun and so usually I’m up very early each day writing and sometimes my cat  Boomer well he is really Jackson’s cat but he loves me second place will come and get loves on the desk in the mooring and here he is doing just that…

One of the Nicholas Family cats - Boomer
One of the Nicholas Family cats – Boomer

and yes I think I mentioned that I have been fishing quite a lot lately and the lingcod fishing has been really really really good compared to past years and this may just be timing probably or my vast improved skill set probably not but here is one of the beasties . . .

Jay Nicholas with Pacific lingcod offshore Pacific City Oregon.
Jay Nicholas with Pacific lingcod offshore Pacific City Oregon.
Pacific Lingcod on the fly in Oregon nearshore waters.
Pacific Lingcod on the fly in Oregon nearshore waters.

and yes I have been steelhead fishing more than usual this winter and no I do not have the luxury of fishing wilderness exotic places with only wild moose and wolves and grizzly bears and rich guided old men to fish with but usually I fish quite near civilization as it is called and you might think this is a staged photo but I assure you it is not on a recent day in March see I even capitalized the month to make it easier on you the reader ha ha i was casting to a likely steelhead lie or lay or station or pool or run or whatever language you may prefer and my fly hung on the back cast and I looked over my shoulder and here is the sight in the photos below . .

Backcast on barbed wire, Tillamook, Oregon.
Backcast on barbed wire, Tillamook, Oregon.
Back cast hazard in Oregon Coast Range.
Back cast hazard in Oregon Coast Range.

well I had to laugh at this one but on this same afternoon I had seven good grabs from steelhead and managed to get all excited and jerk my fly out of the fish’s mouth even after the fly disappeared and only rolled one fish and you would think that I had never had this happen before but I seem to have to relearn not to JERK over and over and over and it still made me laugh and when I went back to the cabin in the evening I stepped out of my SIMMS boot foot waters how’s ya like that ERIC for subliminal suggestive product placement. . .

Simms Boot foot Waders are awesome.
Simms Boot foot Waders are awesome.

and hung my waders at the cabin front door and took this photo because I just did and the very next day I fished in a SHOCKING manner by using my Echo PIN rod with Islander Centerpin reel and caught a couple of steelhead too because I failed to jerk my $@%^&^% out of the steelhead’s mouth when the bobber excuse me STRIKE INDICATOR went under and here are the fish both very nice hatchery steelhead  . . . .

Subliminal sales prompt that is likely to corrupt the soul of any fly fisher that succumbs to the suggestion and tries pinning so don't even start please once you go down that road there is no telling where you will wind up and if you can't afford rehab it might mean the demise of the steelhead runs on the coast.
Subliminal sales prompt that is likely to corrupt the soul of any fly fisher that succumbs to the suggestion and tries pinning so don’t even start please once you go down that road there is no telling where you will wind up and if you can’t afford rehab it might mean the demise of the steelhead runs on the coast.
Oregon coastal hatchery steelhead on Pin rod and STRIKE INDICATOR
Oregon coastal hatchery steelhead on Pin rod and STRIKE INDICATOR
Shiny bright hatchery winter steelhead caught by "pinning" when none of my fly fishing friends was looking to shame me out of it ha ha
Shiny bright hatchery winter steelhead caught by “pinning” when none of my fly fishing friends was looking to shame me out of it ha ha

so it is a fact that superior anglers evolve past the point where they just want to catch a steelhead once a season and become spiritually elevated to the use of two hand rods and only catch fish by SWINGING flies because the TUG IS THE DRUG and yes that is me and I am also the twelve year old kid who just wants to feel something pulling on the end of my line and so once in a while I pick up a PIN rod and skulk around and endure the taunts of people who want to make me feel guilty but I assure you this pinning is no easy thing and anyone who wants to write me off as unsporting is welcome to do so but as I age I seem to be devolving back to my roots and so along with diapers I may even resort to use of no i had better not even say it and no this doesn’t mean that I have abandoned the higher power of the swing because that is a TON OF Fun but really no more funner just different and in some places and times it works and in others it does not but when it does it is sweet . . .

Oregon coastal Hatchery winter steelhead on the swing to an Intruder no less on an Echo Glass Switch rod.
Oregon coastal Hatchery winter steelhead on the swing to an Intruder no less and an Echo Glass Switch rod.
Imminent releasification of hatchery winter steelhead that responded to a swung fly in order to preserve the genetic instinct to eat the offerings of anglers fishing two hand rods ha ha.
Imminent releasification of hatchery winter steelhead that responded to a swung fly in order to preserve the genetic instinct to eat the offerings of anglers fishing two hand rods ha ha.
Gosh these winter steelhead are beautiful. Yes they are indeed.
Gosh these winter steelhead are beautiful. Yes they are indeed.
Fresh from the sea lice on winter steelhead.
Fresh from the sea lice on winter steelhead.

so I guess I’m done for now I did use capitals for I and laced the post with photos and oh by the way I just published my latest book Intruder Essentials which is a dynamite rendering of 24 original Intruder-style flies with step by step photos and just the tiniest slice of discussion about the fly style and no Intruders are not necessarily the best or only fly a guy or gal should be fishing in all places times and circumstances but they do catch steelhead and salmon and they are darn fun to tie and dream about and the flies in this book are worth your consideration and will I assure you catch giant fish if given a decent chance which I proved this season by catching steelhead on all sorts of flies and non flies and you will too if you stick to it long enough and manage to be on the water on a few days like was when everything came full circle and I got actual bites from real fish that I did not jerk my hook away from and so let me plead with you to click on this Intruder Link and buy this book and while you are at it click on Book of Revelation to find an amazing glossary/novella/historical journal/memoir that will entertain you on and on in its weighty but light 344 pages and thank you very much and I wish all of you whether you are among the few who made it to this point in this blog post the best health and joy in life and maybe even a fish or so but don’t  you go thinking about poaching my water or pinning down the river ahead of me OK?

Jay Nicholas, March 10 2015 and I will be 66 on the 26th wow what do you know about that?

Steelhead Intruders and Fishing on My Brain


Jay Nicholas Cats observing Intruder fly tyingI was pretty sure that I had Boomer’s full attention the last few days when I was worked into a frenzy tying Intruders and Rabbit Tube Leeches and thinking about fishing.  I had all the studio lights turned on in the den and found Boomer lounging on top of my material drawers, on the “warming station.”  Plenty of light to photograph flies makes for a nice warm place for my kitty to nap.

Jay Nicholas Bandit Naps in Truck

This reminded me of Bandit who I found napping pretty much the entire day last time I went on the river with my friend Jim.  Seems like a good life to me.

Jay Nicholas Steelhead In Lake

And when I was looking at the weather report and see rain on the way and should I go fishing today or not I remembered how much fun it is to sight-fish withe small wet and dry flies for summer steelhead planted in a nearby lake.

Jay Nicholas Steelhead Intruders

So I put aside the Intruders and am making this post quickly, still undecided about what I’m going to do today.  Probably some paperwork to get caught up on, right?  Or maybe watch Skagit Master 4 another three times today.  Maybe.

Jay Nicholas Steelhead Intruder a

On the other hand . . . .

Best to you all today, and every day.

Jay Nicholas February 4th


A Salmon Fisher’s Journal, January 2015

Jay Nicholas Echo Glass Two Hand on coast a

This is a four day retrospective.  Four days living and fishing and minutia that clogs our brains.  Along the way I’ll be reviewing some Echo and Arflo products so kindly bear with me.

Sidebar: Ok, maybe I was a little manic writing last night up after midnight which for me is out of the ordinary and  here it is barely six AM and I go back to see what I wrote and oh-my-gosh there are a lot of syntax errors and word omissions and bad auto corrections but hey, I don’t have time to edit this thing and I’ll be willing to live with the scathing critique of the perfect writers in order to devote most of this new day to family and let this piece like most – live on in its imperfection. That said, I decided I just must go through and make a very few corrections in my once over so I’ll do this now.  Whatever awkward writing that remains is intentional and is what it is.  Thanks for your patience,  because anyone who makes it to the end of this is going to need patience among their virtues.

Day one, January 21, 2015. I fished the Town Lake with my dear friend Jack Harrell.

Now this is a place where an editor or an english teacher would tease me.  So, they would ask, is jack a friend or a dear friend?  And how would you or anyone make the distinction between the two.  How many categories do you place your friends in.  Two and only two?  Or do you have three, four or five categories of friends and how do you describe these? And very importantly, do you tell your friends which category they are placed, do you move them up or down in stature depending on your mood, and how should they feel when their friends status is revealed on the Internet or in a book? And do you always use descriptors to categorize your friends and if so are you consistent?  Take Jack for instance, is he a dear friend one day and a mere friend the next?  If so, is the distinction real or simply a matter of lazy writing on your part?

Fortunately, I’m free from the need to answer any of these annoying if relavant questions and just write and let the reader figure it out on their own. And the plain fact of it all is that I have very few real friends these days partly as a consequence of being so wrapped up in my own head while fishing or writing or organizing tackle before or after fishing or shooting fly tying videos and the like that my world of friends has indeed become very small populated by the few strong people who can tolerate my intense focus (or are they foci?) on whatever it happens to be in front of my nose from day to day, hour to hour.

Anyway, I got to the cabin at about 10:30 – late – because I pulled over to talk with Bob Hooton for quite a while while I was driving over to the coast.  Not the Oregon Bob Hooton, but the BC Bob Hooton.  It’s been too many years since I’ve seen BC Bob and fished with him and Oregon Bob.  Wow, what a combo to have in a boat at the same time.  But those are stories to be told another day, if I ever get to ‘em.  One that would be good to tell was the time I was falling ill with Hepatitis when the two Hootons and I were fishing Vancouver Island back in the 80s.   I felt so bad one day that I lay down on a gravel bar in sub freezing weather to sleep, pretty sure that I would freeze to death and not caring the slightest, while the two Hootons (sometimes referred to as the Hootons-squared)  headed upriver chasing winter steelhead, to hell with me.  Fortunately, the fishing was sub-par and they came back before I died and they took me home. The hepatitis I had was the salad kind, not the shared needle kind, not that anyone should care but for whatever reason I can not remember the Hepatitis A, B, C, D and so on nomenclature so I just call it the salad kind.

Bob is retired now, like me, and we chatted a little about writing and book publishing and then I promised to send him a copy of one of Book of Revelation and call him in a few weeks and then I was on my way to the coast again.

Five minutes after I got to Woods, Jack pulled in with his yellow glass drift boat in tow, loaded my two rods while i slipped my boots on, and we made the arduous three minute drive to the lake.

I was fishing two ECHO rods this day, about the fourth week I have been fishing both.  The first is a most amazing cheap rod, the BECHO BASE.  I fished the 8 ft 4 wt BASE with a double taper Elite super dry line and it is amazing.  Honestly, if someone had put the rod in my hands and told me it was a 700 buck Winston or Sage, I would not have doubted them a second.

I expected the rod to be clunky, whatever that might mean.  I expected to struggle with an inexpensive 8 ft rod.

I was wrong, I was astounded.  I made long casts, short casts, and with great accuracy.  The rod rocked in every respect.  I will say that I was fishing leaders of about 12 ft and having far better satisfaction with my lay-out by adding 4 ft of 5x RIO Fluorocarbon tippet to a 9 ft 4x RIO tapered leader.  This allowed me to lay out the full length of leader right where I wanted out in front of the steelhead, and there were plenty of fish for us to cast to this day. The little ECHO BASE rod has proved itself over some three dozen summer steelhead caught and released in the lake – the problem this rod presents me is that it delivers every bit of performance I could want.  I frankly don’t know if a caster of my skill could tell the difference in on the water performance between this entry level rod and a more expensive rod, realizing that the more expensive rods have nicer hardware, but cast for cast, I felt like a superstar. Anyone who want a starter rod or a backup can not possibly go wrong with the BASE.  Full warranty.

The second rod I fished was the 3 wt ECHO GLASS Switch rod.  At 10 ft 6 inches this is a wonderful rod I am going to put into action a lot in whatever future I have remaining. My inspiration to get this rod was actually a desire to fish the lower Rogue with another dear friend, Steve Jacobs, who I had coffee with a few weeks ago.  I had not seen Steve for close to a year and he had pretty much written me off as missing and unaccounted for.  I begged his forgiveness and I think he granted same.  Anyway, he told me how he had experienced most excellent half pounder steelhead fishing in 2014 (I think around Agness), fishing a Tim Rajeff two hand 7 wt spey rod.  Well, I was thinking that rod was about four times over the power one should be fishing for cute little silvery fish about the size as a first-run blueback and what he needed was a little 3 or 4 wt switch rod to make those long swings in the lower Rogue instead of a powerful full-on Spey rod perfectly capable of subduing chinook and hefty winter steelhead.

I also got an ECHO 7 wt GLASS Switch rod rigged to fish and took it out onto the lake to try my hand at spey casting, which was Ok but not so great and I figured out I would do better the next day when I was fishing in a river instead.  I can tell you that an Intruder is not the fly of first choice on these lake acclimated summer steelhead but I got a few photos and got back to serious lake fishing for spooky fish on light tippets.

Jay Nicholas Echo Glass Two Hand on coast r

Jay Nicholas Echo Glass Two Hand on coast p

Jay Nicholas Echo Glass Two Hand on coast n

I’ll pretty much let the photos speak for the GLASS two hand and switch rods.  Exquisite.  Feels good.  Looks good.  I’m not one to pay much attention to finish and components on fly rods.  I demand performance and these rods deliver.

So I got my little 3 wt GLASS Switch rod and fished it in the lake with a 5 wt DT AIRFLO Elite line and again (sounding trite and repetitive I understand) this rod is a winner.  My first surprise was the ability to cast long and accurately with a rod that has such deep flex.  True, if I don’t pay attention, the rod will put the fly exactly where my hand guides it, and if I’m being sloppy, my fly is as likely to land ten feet behind the silly fish as the 4 ft in front where I would prefer to place my fly.  But when I do my part, this long rod allows me to reach far out over the lake and lay a fly (sometimes a #8 glass bead bugger and sometimes a size 18 Griffith’s Gnat) just where I want it.  And fun to play fish on?  Zounds!  I love the flex of the long slow glass rod.  Fact is, I’ve panicked and broken- off several steelhead on the 4 wt BASE  but I think the greater range of flex in the GLASS saved my tippets when my head was telling me to pull harder than my leader should have tolerated.  Close to three dozen summer steelhead have blessed this glass switch rod.  I am anxious to take it to Hood Canal in the next few months to fish sea-runs with Guy and Jim, if I get my courage up to travel that far from home.  I think this will be a great beach rod for sea runs and then if I make it to half pounders on the Rogue in August, well that will be icing on the cake.

Jay Nicholas Echo Glass Two Hand on coast s

Better speed this up, three days to go and …

Jay Nicholas Echo Glass Two Hand on coast m

January 22nd. Finally, I got to fish with my dear friend RR (keep ‘em all on a level playing field, huh?).  Rob came over to the cabin the previous evening (I know the dates can get confusing and all but …) and I didn’t take my evening meds until after ten PM and we talked and talked like we needed to catch up and why the heck we hadn’t already but I was sort of in hermit mode for the bulk of 2014 and Rob understood and eventually we watched a sci-fi movie that I had already seen four or five times and Rob sort of got it but also missed the point partly and it was midnight by the time it was over and by six AM I was still on the sofa and all groggy but we made coffee and went to the “rich people” coffee shop near Kape Kiwanda and picked up a turkey sandwich to split for lunch and I followed Rob to the so-and-so river where he was sure that conditions would be perfect and they really looked good to me and we slid his boat into the river or actually he did all the work and uh-oh here I go forgetting to use punctuation and real sentences and all so I’ll stop for now and catch my breath OK?

Jay Nicholas Echo Glass Two Hand on coast l

So Rob was right and the so-and-so river was perfect but guess what?  Rob got pulled four times and caught two trout but I got only one little tug from a trout – no it was two tugs and yes I am sure it (they) was/were a trout and not steelhead unless it was a steelhead or two steelhead.  But probably not.

I was equipped with seven wt ECHO GLASS long rods, the spey at 12 ft 9 inches and the switch at 11 ft.  The switch was rigged with a 450 Skagit Switch line and AIRFLO T-10 FLOW Tip.  The Spey rod was rigged with a 510 gr Skagit Switch and Y-14 Flow tip.  For me, the both rods were dialed in just right.   I did a lot of casting and swinging from the boat because my right knee is due for replacement, the tendon tear on my left foot is still a mess, and my balance is horrible.  Excuses aside, standing in the front of a drift boat makes me shine as a caster, and I was happy to let Rob wade ahead of me through a run and follow him in the boat.

Towards mid afternoon, Rob anchored and assured me that we were in a great place for me to wade fish.

Jay Nicholas Echo Glass Two Hand on coast c

Jay Nicholas Echo Glass Two Hand on coast j

Jay Nicholas Echo Glass Two Hand on coast i

Jay Nicholas Echo Glass Two Hand on coast b

Jay Nicholas Echo Glass Two Hand on coast g

Jay Nicholas Echo Glass Two Hand on coast o

So I got out of the dang boat and made my way down the river in water deeper than I was entirely comfortable with but my casting stayed strong and my flies swung well and at one point I really thought I was going to get pulled but no such luck but it was  really really good for me to be wading and Rob – thank you Rob for getting me out on the river and wading again.

Soon, we’ll fish again soon.

January 23rd.  Lisa and Jackson are going to join me at the coast today.  See, I’m mixing my tenses and being a horrible writer but sometimes I write like it is today in these journals even though today is really the 24th.  But I’m gonna do it anyway.

Jay Nicholas Echo Glass Two Hand on coast f

Fresh from my wading victory of the previous day, I strap my GLASS rods on the 4-runner and head upriver from the Cabin to fish the such-and-such-run, a place that is only thirty minutes from the cabin. The practice of never mentioning the rivers that we are actually fishing is part of a steelhead tradition that I have been taught by my most serious steelhead fishing friends. It seems silly to me at times, but apparently if I were to mention wade fishing the upper Nestucca River, such mention would cause approximately seven hundred fly anglers to beat me to my favorite two pools before I could get there on any given day.

Driving upriver in a light rain, I learned that this superstition is more than silliness, because when I arrived at the turn-out near the big fir tree at the tail-out of the most perfect steelhead pool you can imagine, I found an unauthorized fly angler stringing up his rod.  I pulled in beside him, said something nice and considered hitting him over the head with my wading staff and taking first water.  Then I considered just getting out of the truck and running down the trail to the river and fishing it first, because after all, my rods were already strung and who the hell was he to be parked here anyway beating me to the place I wanted to fish a mere few minutes earlier than me.

But I smiled and drove upriver a little way to another perfect steelhead run, grabbed my rods, and headed down the easy trail to the river.  I fished through the run with the  GLASS Switch and T-10 Flow tip first, then went back through with the Spey rod and T-14 tip.  Perfect water, my presentation and flies were awesome, but no tugs followed.

Jay Nicholas Echo Glass Two Hand on coast d

Jay Nicholas Echo Glass Two Hand on coast e

Jay Nicholas Echo Glass Two Hand on coast k

I headed back to the cabin and arrived there at about noon.  Lisa and Jackson called and told me they were still a few hours out, so I backed up to my Koffler 14 ft RMTB, exchanged the seven wts for my 3 wt GLASS and BASE, and headed up to the Lake. Oh yes, I left my steelhead flies at the cabin, got out of my cleated boots, shed my SIMMS  stocking foot waders, slipped on my chore boots, grabbed my SIMMS boat bag with my trout flies, and off I went.

Three minutes from the cabin, I slipped my boat into the lake.  Two and a half hours later I had been rebuffed by close to a dozen summer steelhead.  Some spooked as my line came close to the water, some came to look at my fly and then ran away.  A few followed my fly and then turned aside.  Rowing toward the ramp at 3 PM, I spotted a shiny bright steelhead laying on the other side of a log.  I eased the bow anchor down, picked up my rod and made the cast.

Oooops.  The size 12 glass-bead brown bugger landed ten or twelve feet to the right of where I intended to place it, across another submerged log.  I know there was  no chance the fish would take my fly.  Something caught my attention off to the right from the fish.  I looked away.  When I looked back, the steelhead had moved forward to were my fly landed and was gliding to a halt.  Somewhere in my pea-size brain, I knew the fish must have taken my fly.  So I pulled back and sure enough, there was the head shake and big silvery flash. Several jumps, a quick net and release, and I was back at the cabin a good two minutes before Lisa and Jackson arrived.

Jay Nicholas Echo Glass Two Hand on coast q

 January 24th. Family day.  In the last hour of daylight, Jackson and I headed out to the lake at 4 PM.  We had an hour to fish.  Most of the steelhead I spotted ignored or ran from my fly.  Jackson kept me company and texted with his friends back in the Valley while I talked to the steelhead.  One fish cooperated and came to my fly near the Dock, and that made for good entertainment.  I overheard one angler say that he had kept a steelhead earlier in the day.  I fished right up to dark and had one other fish follow but not take my fly.  The water was dead calm.

Jay Nicholas ECHO GLASS Two Hand and Switch Rod Review 1

GLASS Two Hand and Switch Rod Review 3

GLASS Two Hand and Switch Rod Review 2

I may fish the lake a few hours tomorrow morning before my family is up and ready to go for the day.  I need to deal with the insurance company and figure out how much it will cost to replace the gear lost when my boat sank last month.  Greg’s Marina will reopen real soon and I’ll get my back-up RMTB back in action to fish in the Tillamook basin in the next few weeks. We’ll all head back to the valley tomorrow. I have revisions to make to a new book and push it out the door.

Almost forgot – Gary Palmer interviewed me for a podcast on Fishing the Oregon Coast. Gary apparently found my book SEA FLIES on Amazon, ordered the book and is not looking forward to fly fishing in the ocean this season.  You can listen to the podcast by clicking here – Jay on Fishingtheoregoncoast.

jay nicholas sea flies cover

You can find the book SEA FLIES on AMAZON. The contents page is shown above.

About the product reviews:  Those of you who know me understand that I fish all brands of gear.  Well, not all brands, because that would be crazy.  But I fish rods reels lines and leaders produced by many manufacturers, because I like to know what is out there, experience a little of it, and be able to make mental comparisons and recommendations to people who ask.

Here is my nugget about the new ECHO GLASS two hand and switch rods. They are excellent casting tools.  Extremely intuitive.  Their action allows me to feel the rod load and execute my cast very well.  I have yet to “fight” a steelhead on the 7 wt two hand and switch rods, but judging from fishing them and from fishing the 3 wt switch rod over roughly ten days and three dozen steelhead, I am sure the seven wts will be a blast to have between my hand and a fresh steelhead at the end of my line. 

Jay Nicholas Sage Domain Fly Reel 1

Jay Nicholas Sage Domain Fly Reel 2

SAGE DOMAIN FLY REEL.  Listen up, I fish a lot of great SAGE rods and reels, so don’t dismiss me as a brand-blind guy who can’t recognize good equipment – regardless of who makes or sells it.  Anyway, about three years ago, I spoke to George Cook the most highly respected SAGE sales rep and dear friend, asking why on earth there are so few full frame fly reels on the market and venting my frustration about getting my shooting line caught and generally fouled up in the frame of so many high price fly reels.  George told me the consumer had demanded the exit of the full frame reel in order to make reels lighter and lighter and I should get over myself.  I said no, I wanted to see more full frame fly reel options because I was continually frustrated and asked him to consider my request and input. Less than a year later out comes the SAGE DOMAIN in a full frame configuration.  Now I’m not an expert, but I bet you five fly lines that George knew full well that SAGE was going to release the DOMAIN at the same time he was shoveling crap on my head about how full frame reels were dead in the water and had no future. He may be right, but I for one really love this fly reel.  The drag system is decent, and the full frame is incapable of letting my shooting line get jammed and fouled, and this is a wonderful feature.  The reel has a magnetic spool securement system that is not familiar to me but has performed well for a full year fishing chinook and now for several dozen lake bound steelhead.

Back to the rods.

I recommend ECHO GLASS two hand and switch rods to anyone who fishes long rods.  If you are already an expert, you’re going to want to see how well these rods perform.  If you are a beginner, I believe that you will be able to learn to spey cast very quickly with these GLASS rods, because you can feel them load and unload so well. Components are subtle and elegant.  The rods look great, cast well, and feel good too.  Price?  What a bargain.

Jay Nicholas, January 25th, 2015

Post script that people may or may not ever see: It is nearly 7:30 and I’ve been  picking though this post to clean up and add a little here and there. The sun isn’t up yet but I can see the Dairy farm across the gravel road and Duke, the giant friendly doberman puppy that weights about two hundred pounds has been on the deck to say good morning and NPR is droning on about some socially revenant issue and my family is safe and snoozing close by and I think it is time to heat water for decaf and I’m thinking about a few hours on the lake today and then all of us getting back to the valley and working on a new book and I need to get some photos ready for when I’m at Joel’s Royal Treatment Fly Shop to talk about ocean fly fishing and yes I guess I’m going to be productive as ever in the next few days.  Life is full of surprises.   Thanks for your patience.

Fishing and life in January, 2015

January has been a great month so far and I expect 2015 to keep rolling along.

Jay Nicholas Sunk Koffler Boat a


My boat sank in December but my dear friend Jimmie salvaged it and with a little work at Greg’s marina in Garabaldi it should be back and good as new for the 2015 seson that is beginning to unfold.

Jay Nicholas Boat recovery process

Jay Nicholas boat being towed after salvage

Fortunately I have a second Koffler Rocky Mountain Boat just like this one, because this boat is still sitting at Greg’s pending repairs and such, and I needed my twin boat to fish the Town Lake last week.

Jay Nicholas ECHO GLASS Switch and SAGE Domain

Jay Nicholas Summer Steelhead Selfie

I caught some very nice hatchery summer steelhead on small wet flies fishing with Jack Harrell, (Pacific City Fly Fishing) usually with Jack doing the rowing and coaching me casting to the fish we spot.

A new ECHO GLASS Switch and SAGE Domain reel were a pure joy to fish and I may write more on that later but may be too busy fishing so for now, just know the #3  ECHO Glass Switch rod with the #8 SAGE Domain are a great pair.

I’m excited to say that I now have 8 books on Amazon, and will soon have number 9 published in the next week or so.  The next book will be Intruder Essentials: Tying Tube and Shank Intruders for Steelhead, Salmon, and Trout.

Jay Nicholas fly tying with Boomer

Jay Nicholas Steelhead Intruder

Here is one of our fine cats, Boomer, helping during production, and one of the flies that will be featured in the new book.

I’ll be up at Royal Treatment Fly Shop with Joel La Follette in February. This will be fun and I’m still working out of the hermit mentality I was in during so much of 2014.


February 14th: Fly fishing the Pacific

I’ll have about an hour or so to present photos and maybe some Go Pro footage of offshore fishing, talk about tackle and tactics, make up stories and pretend that I caught some fish, and generally have fun.  Ill tie flies that afternoon, concentrating on saltwater flies and trying to sell a few books to buy gas and replace gear lost when my boat sank.  Ha ha.

February 21st: tying Intruders 

I’ll have copies of the Intruder book, co-authored with Thomas Rangner.  Tom is a young man who brings fresh perspective to my decades of blah blah blah and he’s the dude who will be creating a DVD of Intruder tying hilarity to add to the Nicholas fishing book portfolio.

Speaking of portfolio, I have posted a few of my sketches and photographs on Fine Art America, and you can see these by clicking here.

Oh still thy beating heart! Now you can order a throw pillow with a salmon or a dory or a bent fly rod on it for a most reasonable price, not to forget canvas, framed prints and such forth.  No sales yet,  Probably a scam for all I know.  Greeting cards anyone?

Enough blatant commercialism for now.  Forgive me.

I’ll be fishing in the next few days again, maybe for freshies as the water drops back into shape.  Got me at least a hundred Intruders created as part of shooting the next book.

Wishing you all the best and I’ll be back soon.

Jay (18 January, 2015)

Not Dead Yet

Jay Nicholas Dec 2014 selfie on river

That’s right folks, I’m still here; just been busy as all get-out and fishing my tail-off, and tying flies, and writing, and – get this –  publishing some books.  Not real fancy official books like you would get in the media commercialized press, but straight from the head to the heart, to the hand,  to the book, with little editing in between to sanitize the content and ensure that it is in tune with whatever convention in style in the fly fishing industry military industrial complex this moment.

Books?  Yes indeed books.  In fact I have just published five books related to fly fishing via Create Space and these are available on Amazon as both print and Kindle e-Books.

Five down, one to go in the next two weeks and two to follow shortly in January and more in 2015 should good fortune and the luck of the draw allow.

Here are the five book titles published so far:

Jay Nicholas Fly Fishing Book of Revelation

Fly Fishing Book of Revelation: the Ultimate, Irreverent, Illustrated Fly Fishing Glossary – this is a 340 + page spectacular coffee table book that takes on the definitions and legacy of over fourteen hundred give or take a few words, terms, phrases, and concepts related in some manner to fishing and fly fishing in specifically.  You will laugh, cry, burp, and roll your eyes as you read this book. Forewords by Misha Skopets and Randy Stetzer will hypnotize you into purchasing this book and that will be the beginning of the end. As with many of my books, there is an element of memoir to this one, and although this is featured as a fly fishing glossary, there are many elements of lure, bait and catfish noodling techniques referenced along with notations as to the ethics of fishing beads, jigs, center pin reels, and bobbers while pretending to fly fish ha ha. Are you an anger?  You’ll love this book.  Do you work with an angler, date an angler, are you married to an angler, is a parent or child an angler?  You’ll find insight to the inner workings of said angler’s mushy brains in this bold tome. Apologies in advance to any person, product, or angling practice that I may seemingly have offended ‘tween the pages of Book of Revelation.

Jay Nicholas Super Flies B:W edition

Super Flies: this is a 6×9″ black and white book featuring a genuine authentic Nicholas sketch of the 52 greatest trout flies, steelhead flies, salmon flies, sea-run cutthroat flies, and half pounder flies ever in the entire world especially in the waters that I fished here in Oregon starting back in 1962 or whenever that was.  This is the artist edition of Super Flies. Foreword by Rich Youngers, Oregon FFF Fly Tyer of the Year in 2006.

Jay Nicholas Super Flies - Cplor

Super Flies – Color: I started with the text for the previously noted book, deleted part of the text, added new text, switched around a few flies, edited some of my childish word usage, and replaced the artist renditions of each fly with genuine and original Nicholas Macro Photographic  representations of the 52 flies.  Most of these flies pictured are fresh from the vise in 2014 BUT tied in vintage style on vintage half century old hooks like Eagle Claw 1197-B, 1197-G, and Mustad lord save us in this new day of fancy materials and hooks and threads.  Close to 150 color photos of flies, fish, tackle and a few people grace this full color large format book.  And if you fished with me years ago I may have told a story about our trip that reported me catching more and larger fish than anyone else and also related how I personally invented most of the good fly patterns out there and you are naturally free to believe any of my drivel or simply be entertained or write a review contesting my account of the events as may please you upon such reading.

Jay Nicholas Sea Flies book

Sea Flies: this little beauty has a ton of color photos of 24 saltwater flies that I have tied and fished offshore Pacific City Oregon in the last three seasons.  Well, actually only 23 of the 24 are tested on live fish but the 24th fly is so promising and unique that I just had to include it in this book because I am convinced that it will be a monster fish catcher in 2015.  Jack Harrell wrote the Foreword for this book and Jack is the experienced fly angler, friend, and mentor who first got me to sea to fly fish the mighty Pacific ocean three years ago.  This book features flies that are assuredly superior in their ability to draw bites from salmon, black rockfish, lingcod, and albacore tuna.  Short and to the point, the photos and fishing stories laced with a little about these fine fish will entertain angler and tyer who aspire to fish the salt or who wish to see what other crazy salty anglers are up to these days.

Jay Nicholas Tarpon Sketch

Sketch: This is an over two hundred page thriller that has little text but contains the best of my sketch collection drawn from images I created between maybe 2008 and 2014.  Factual and fantastical flies, fish, and fishing gear are all here with titles and minimalist text.

I am working on making these available at your local fly shops but so far any anxious reader may 1) order print or e-Book directly through Amazon, or 2) contact the Caddis Fly Shop because I’ll be there on the front end of a statewide tour (ha ha ha  ha) on Dec 12/13 and 19/20 to accept pre-orders and personalize books with signature, a chatty note, and a Nicholas vintage-style fly in a little sealed plastic bag that you can save for posterity or fish – your choice.

After a year and a half of this website being inactive, I have no idea if anyone will even find this new post, but if you do, stay tuned please, I hope to continue producing fresh original books as long as I’m able and I have several more in me.

But this is plenty for now, I’ll follow up with more on the next books to be published shortly.

Thanks so very much to all of my readers for your patience and support. These books mark a very important stage of my life, and it feels great to get them out for others to enjoy.

Jay Nicholas, December 9, 2014

Bye-Bye Blogosphere

This blog has been fun, work, and all that goes with work and fun.  I’ve come to a place when there just isn’t sufficient time to take care of the essentials.  I have been neglecting my best friends, focusing on family, working a little, and fishing my brains out whenever possible.   I have several great projects in progress, but none of them involve producing respectable content for this blog.  So, time to call it quits, a little late, but it’s time.  In a week or so.  Pulling the plug so to speak.  You may see me on the water,  most likely alone, or enjoying coffee, Pizza, or Thai with my family.  I’ll be producing text-light content, mostly photos, for the Oregon Fly Fishing Blog.  Hope you have found some curiosity in some of my past posts.  Meanwhile, I’m moving on.

Be well.

Jay Nicholas, June 2013Jay Nicholas Salmon Fishing 11:16:2011-4