Jeff & Kathryn Hickman Team up to Fish the Swing in BC on the Dean

Jeff and Kathryn Hickman on the Lower Dean River, BC, where they operate Kimsquit Bay Lodge.
Jeff and Kathryn Hickman on the Lower Dean River, BC, where they operate Kimsquit Bay Lodge.

Where does the time go?

It seems yesterday when Jeff Hickman patiently guided Ed Bowles and me down an Oregon Coastal River and did what he could to put us into winter chrome.  I’d mention the river but then there might be 3 people fish there instead of two, and my dear angst ridden fly fishing buddies would drive over to my cabin on the coast and let the air out of both of my boat trailers and siphon gas out of the tanks and maybe even borrow my drain plugs to teach me a lesson.

It wasn’t yesterday, that fine day fishing with Jeff.  I do remember that my casting was accurate and powerful (ha ha ha ha), I hooked a fish with only my sink tip out of the guides, Ed lost a fish after several runs, released a kelt, I broke one of Jeff’s Spey rods using it as a wading staff as I fell into the river in slow motion with fifty feet of running line tangled in my feet, we laughed and told stories and had a great day.

Since then I’ve fished with Jeff on the Clackamas (too many years ago) and out in the ocean off Pacific City (just this year).

This season has been a time for me to shift from the hermit-mode that characterized my 2014 season to re-connecting with friends like Jeff. There just ain’t enough time to get all of my daily tasks done but I’m consciously working to achieve better balance.  No – I’m not succeeding to the extent I’d like, but I’m doing better than I have for years.

Sorry, rambling as usual. Point is this – I’m late to figure it out, but Jeff and Kathryn Hickman became owners of Kimsquit Bay Lodge at the mouth of the Dean River in BC in 2014.  Jeff and Fish the Swing is just now finishing up his winter steelhead season on the Oregon Coast while winter steelhead are piling over Willamette Falls and stoking the swing fishery on the Santiam, but it’s time for Jeff and Kathryn to be making final plans for their venture North to the Dean River, where they will host anglers from all over the world to fly fish for anadromous fish that are fresh from the ocean as they charge into the Dean.

Inseparable from the fact that Jeff is a trusted friend, I’m impressed with the full package that he brings to everyone he fishes with.  Jeff is more than a great angler, teacher, fly designer, caster, teacher, mentor and guide.  Did I mention that he’s a great teacher?  Oh well, he’s a young man who loves and respects rivers, , wildlife, adventure,  and people; he brings his positive outlook on life to his guiding, and the entire experience of fishing and hang-time with Jeff is rejuvenating.

Kathryn Hickman with Dean River dry fly steelhead.
Kathryn Hickman with Dean River dry fly steelhead.

Add Kathryn to the mix and you have two people who complement each other and are a pure joy to relax with, fish, go hiking, clamming, boating, breakfasting, and adventuring, as the opportunity may present itself.  I only met Kathryn a few weeks ago after hearing about her for years.  She and Jeff have taken on the challenge of managing a year-round swing fly fishing guide service – quite a challenge –  and one that they are superbly qualified by skill and temperament to excell.

View of lodge at Kimsquit Bay, lower Dean River, BC, now operated by Jeff and Kathryn Hickman.
View of lodge at Kimsquit Bay, lower Dean River, BC, now operated by Jeff and Kathryn Hickman.

Jeff and Kathryn are nicely recuperating from a great winter steelhead season on the coast, their guides are busy on the Willamette as I write this, and there are plenty of details to arrange as they prepare to move up to Kimsquit Bay Lodge on the Dean and begin their season there with the famous/infamous run of magnificent king salmon that will be greeting clients in mid June.

The following notes identify times when a few slots are still available to fish with two highly skilled guides who work for Jeff and Kathryn.  Jeff won’t be guiding, but he will fish just a little.  Most of his time working with Kathryn will involve the basic aspects of hosting clients, helping maintain tackle, working with guides to plan the next day’s strategies and tactics, and generally making sure that the lodge runs smoothly and everyone has a wonderful time with their entire experience at the lodge.

There are currently still available spots in these weeks:

June 19th – 26th Chinook

June 26th – July 3rd Chinook

July 3rd – 10th Chinook and Steelhead

August 7th – 14th Steelhead

August 14th – 21st Steelhead

Dean River Sea Lice at Kimsquit Bay Lodge-  Fish the Swing.
Dean River Sea Lice at Kimsquit Bay Lodge- Fish the Swing.

Cost:Prices are $6150 and include transportation from Smithers, BC. This includes 6 days guided and one day unguided fishing from the Lodge – 7 nights lodging and meals.

In my opinion, these are trips that are valuable beyond comparison.

Contact me anytime for stories behind the stories, and for help getting connected to book a trip or click on one of these links to book with  Jeff via Fish the Swing and Kimsquit Bay Lodge.

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?