Late Winter Chrome on the Nestucca River

My Dec Hogan II sees mid afternoon action on the Nestucca.
My Dec Hogan II sees mid afternoon action on the Nestucca.

You never know the joys and challenges life will bring.  I have been blessed with all good news lately, but realize that many of my friends face all manner of heartache on a daily basis.  This may seem like an odd way to introduce a short post on a wonderful day I spent with an old friend – but while our day was very good, the same was not for everyone, and I just needed to say that.

So my day began with breakfast at the Grateful Bread with Jack and john Harrell; we talked fishing and great plans for the season just unfolding, and I headed back to the cabin to mess with tackle, flies, book promotion and the like.  Steve showed up about 9 Am, we visited a little, and then we loaded the boat and headed up to Town Lake.  Five minutes after leaving the cabin we were on the lake, and in short order we were catching hatchery trout.  Several trout.  Ok, maybe more than several.  It took Steve about five minutes to get accustomed to the subtle aspects of the bite and spit tactics, but he got it figured out and was soon showing those trout who the boss was.

The best flies we fished were barbless Jigged nymphs like the Bead Head gold Ribbed hares Ear.    There were other good nymphs too, and our flies were out fishing the power bait anglers in the vicinity, who noted that we were getting bit on about every cast.  The fish were so fast on the take that we only hooked some 20% of our takes, so it was a real challenge and a lot of fun.

I rowed Steve around the lake looking for summer steelhead, found several, and one bit a size 14 chironomid nymph  that he expertly placed about 6 ft in front of the 8 lb fish.  Sure enough, as the fly sank, the steelhead moved towards it and then coasted to a halt.  He’s got it, i whispered, pull back now!  He did and the fight was on.

in mid afternoon, we went to lunch, and then wafered up to head up the Nestucca for a little Spey Casting instruction session.  Well, apparently, I am a poor teacher, but Steve managed to chuck his fly out into the drift, and pretty soon he was fast to wild hen with sea lice at the base of her anal fin.  The fish had been hooked as a smelt because its maxillary bone was injured by an old scar, but the fish was a pleasant surprise on a sunny afternoon when we should only have been casting, not catching.  I got a small bright wild male that came to  a Micro Intruder and our afternoon was perfect in more ways than we would have asked.

Steve was fishing an ECHO Tim Rajeff Two Hand seven wt rod, I fished an ECHO  Dec Hogan II seven wt rod.  I fished an Airflo Skagit Intermediate Head and felt it was perfect.  Steve fished a long piece of plasticized string he found in his backyard in Corvallis, and I’m pretty sure that his casting would be better if he just had a line tuned to the rod.  But being a manly man, he top-handed his casts, whipping the rod furiously about his head, and caught as many fish as I did, so we were both happy and he is now convinced that “found” string is the next phenom in the Spey Fishing World.  He’s probably right.

I was camera-less that day, selling old cameras and waiting for new ones to arrive, but we had our phones so we got a few shots of our fish before releasing them carefully.  I hope these photos do not offend anyone, because the fish were momentarily head above water, but I’m quite confident that the fish were fine, being in cold water and only briefly up-periscope so to speak.

Steve's fine wild April winter steelhead, on one of my signature steelhead flies.
Steve’s fine wild April winter steelhead, on one of my signature steelhead flies.
My fine  male winter steelhead caught on a signature Micro Intruder.
My fine male winter steelhead caught on a signature Micro Intruder.

Photos taken with cameras can be confusing.  The untrained observer might think that Steve’s chromer is larger than mine, but I assure you that his fish weighed perhaps seven or eight pounds, while mine was easily twelve pounds.  Steve’s camera was set on “make your buddy’s fish look smaller” feature, and wow it really worked.

We were both thrilled to have had our flies grabbed that sunny afternoon, and lucky too, because I fished alone the same place next day with no grabs to show for my effort.  Now I’m wandering around Pacific City looking for rubberized string to put on my Spey rod.

At least I know I have good flies.

And good reading too, because I have my very own set of nine books wherever I go, so if I can’t sleep and tying flies is too taxing, I can pick up  one of my own masterpieces and ponder the next stage in shameless self promotion.

Shameless self promotion via product placement.
Shameless self promotion via product placement.

And if shameless self promotion wasn’t rampant enough already, this photo featuring SIMMS sweater, shirt, waders, boots lanyard, nippers, boots, and wading staff could just about put anyone over the edge, ya think? Too bad the ECHO DH II rod and Hardy Marquis fly reel are submerged and not easily visible, loaded with AIRFLO Skagit Intermediate head, RIO iMOW tip (no brand loyalty here) and OPST LAZER line!

So, Ben, and Eric, and Red, and George let me rest for a while, will ya?

Really folks, I’m just poking fun at all us gearheadsl.

I am grateful for this day, and hopeful for the days that will follow, whatever they may bring.

Jay Nicholas, April, 2015

4 thoughts on “Late Winter Chrome on the Nestucca River

  1. Everyone. Drop your flyrod, go to the internet and buy all 9 of Jay’s books! If you can’t be fishing, then read about fishing. Jay’s knowledge and unique style will keep you informed and entertained. The most fun you can have with your waders off. Almost.

  2. Thanks as always for your support and good humor Jim; I’m happy that you are enjoying my signature creations. Hope to see you out on the water soon. JWN

  3. Jay – I would like to take Jim’s advice and get ALL your books. I already have your book of revelations and have enjoyed many giggles from it. Next on my list is your book of intruder flies. your micro intruder connected me with an early summer steelhead last night (didnt land it) obviously if i had your book that would have been a fish in hand! 🙂

    i live in the portland metro area and would love to meet up with you in person and get books from you directly – rather than through amazon if possible. message me if this is a possibility

    cheers!
    paul

    1. Paul: thanks for contacting me. Yes, I do offer singed numbered limited edition sets of my books and would be pleased to ship a set to you or meet somewhere at our mutual convenience to deliver a set. More soon, let’s talk. JWN

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