Oregon Chinook Flies – New Book Released

Cover of Oregon Chinook Flies, just released on Amazon.
Cover of Oregon Chinook Flies, just released on Amazon.

Rob Russell just shipped off our full draft of Modern Steelhead Flies to the editors at StackPole Books a few weeks ago.  Huge accomplishment, with over 400 flies from innovative steelhead angler/tyers and tons of step-by-step photography. Stunning photos, stunning narrative, a great read and bound (ha ha) for recognition of a keystone book in steelhead fly literature.

I know this seems beside the point but it isn’t. Rob is the lead author, I’m the co-author, and Jay Nichols (StackPole) will help us make the story legible. Rob and I are expecting a fair amount of work still to come, on a tight time-table, as the professional editors challenge us to deliver the best of the best.

Stay tuned with credit cart handy, because Modern Steelhead Flies is close, and will be a stunning visual and intellectual masterpiece in the fly tying literature – trust me on this.

Meanwhile, I’ve polished Oregon Chinook Flies as much as I can stand, and pulled the trigger to self-publish this little gem on Amazon. At 77 pages at 8.5 X 11″, this full color book is stuffed with photos of roughly 200 Chinook Salmon flies. Like all of the books I’ve self-published, this surely still has a misplaced word or two, plenty of incomplete sentences, and – well – let’s just say that a professional editor might roll his or her eyes at my unsupervised writing.

Never-the-less, I’ve received wonderful support and encouragement from many, including the 22 Chinook anglers/tyers who contributed their flies to the book. If you note the difference between 22 and 24, it is because two of the angler/tyers represented in Oregon Chinook Flies are deceased.  Gene Davis and Jerry Stoopes were pioneers in the Chinook fly rod game, and I thank Stan Davis for tying his father’s flies, and Jeff Hunter for tying Jerry’s flies for this book.

Justin Coupe (Rivers of A Lost Coast) read this book draft closely, offered some great creative suggestions to improve the book, none that I can execute now, and closed by saying:

“Great work Jay, glad someone captured the history. It’s important to do these types of things because no one else is. I hope we meet on the water soon and if you’re not looking I’ll nudge the butt of your rod to keep you alert.”

Thank you Justin.

Oregon Chinook Flies barely scratches the surface of a rich angling culture. This is a work of deep personal significance. Quoting again, Justin said,

“The foreword is excellent and Rob Russell did a fantastic job laying the scene and parameters of the book.”

There is a story behind the story of this fly book. I’ll not go into the briar patch here, just note that writing about the culture of fly fishing for Chinook salmon is ripe with emotion.

I’ve reserved the first 50 First Edition Print Run to issue as a limited edition of signed, personalized copies for readers who contact me. Direct sales are my best deal economically, and I’ve met some great friends through direct sales of my other books.

Oh yes, the book. Hummmm.

This is not a traditional fly tying book, with crisp photos set against a bland background.  No recipes for these flies. What you get is my artistic rendition of the Chinook flies fished by 24 Oregon anglers, photographed against a second photograph that features some aspect of salmon fishing. I’ve also noted the size of each fly and analyzed the entire collection to characterize the colors, styles, and sizes of the portfolio.

Joe Sugura contributed a nice piece on the Russell Chatham ‘Comet,  Jack Harrell relates the history of the Ramone Salmon Killer fly, and of course, 22 dedicated Chinook angler/tyers contributed short stories about their files and the culture we all love.

Oh yes, Frank Amato read the draft said he loved the book, and told me that the first edition of STS in 1967 (Vol. 1, No. 1) included an article by Roderick Haig-Brown on the question of “Will the Chinook Take a Fly?” Thanks for your encouragement Frank, and for the neat Landing Net Brace you sent me recently. It came in handy three days ago.

Let me know if I may provide copies, let your local fly shops know about this book, and thanks to everyone for your support and patience.

Jay Nicholas, September 19, 2015