Urban Spring Chinook Fly Fishing

We dream of bright grabby salmon and steelhead in remote, wilderness settings.

Sometimes there are good fish close to home. Perhaps the salmon aren’t quite as large as we might prefer. Sometimes they are found in uncomfortable proximity to people who care little of our passion for clean air, clean water, and clean fish.

Beauty, like peace of mind, is to be found in surprising places, if we can find what we need where we are at the moment.

I have been blessed with good friendship and strong bright salmon, and for both I am grateful.

Jay Nicholas – July 2017

Pacific City Dory Launch and Fly Fishing for Rockfish

This is a very short video that records highlights from a recent (mid July) trip on my friend Kevin’s dory. Kevin, Rob, and I fly fished for Pacific black rockfish and had a very enjoyable day on the ocean out of Pacific City.

The video shows the process of dumping the dory off the trailer, a little of the fishing, and the run onto the beach at the end of the trip.

Several people have asked for video of the launching process, so I hope this helps people understand the what is involved when we launch into the surf. I note that the ocean was very calm on this day.

My best to you all.

Jay Nicholas July 22, 2017

Steelhead Simplicity — still strong in 2017

Jay Nicholas Jon Hazelet summer steelhead

Some ten years or so past, my friend Jon Hazelet taught a spey casting clinic on the Mckenzie River for the Caddis Fly Shop. As I spoke with Jon at the end of the day, I opened up one of my fly boxes and picked out a dozen or so of my favorite summer steelhead flies, several color varieties of the Steelhead Simplicity.

Yesterday, on July20, 2017, Jon sent me this photo and a short note.

“Just caught my first summer steelhead of 2017 ten minutes ago. Remember giving me 10 or so flies years ago after the first Caddis Fly Spey class I did? Thanks buddy for the good mojo!”

Thanks for your note Jon. You made me smile. The Steelhead Simplicity will be featured in Modern Steelhead Flies (Stackpole Books; Rob Russell and Jay Nicholas, due to be published in fall 2017) as an example of the humble roots  of the innovative and specialized range of steelhead flies that are being fished today across the range of the species.

The modern steelhead angler now has the opportunity to fish excellent patterns that had not even been imagined 50 years ago.

I still have a few, probably less than two dozen, of the flies that were in the box that held the flies I gave to Jon. I’m really-really happy that those flies are still producing.

My best to you all –

Jay Nicholas (21 July 2017

 

 

 

 

 

Salmon Fisher’s Journal is a go!

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Wow, thanks to 108 backers, we met our goal on the fifth day of the Salmon Journal Kickstarter Campaign. This means that we will be able to deliver the goods (books) early in 2018 if not sooner.

On behalf of our volunteer production team, I thank everyone who has already backed our work. The early achievement of our goal is both stunning and heartwarming to all of us.

But please don’t stop now!

A ton of the supporters who have backed out project to date are names that I don’t recognize, and this tells me that there are many friends and long time supporters, both within and without the community of dedicated fly fishers, who have not yet turned their attention to supporting publication of the Salmon Journal.

Achieving our goal has already assured that we will be able to deliver a great product, but by exceeding the goal, we might be able to 1) bump the delivery date, 2) double-down on the book’s specs, and 3) add a companion, soft-cover edition containing text and images that we cut to condense the original manuscript.

Screen Shot 2017-07-15 at 7.23.33 AM

So, on the dawn of day 8 of our 30 day Campaign, we are sitting at 104% of initial goal.

I’m asking for your help reaching out to people who haven’t acted to back us yet, or people who have not yet heard about the opportunity to back this project.

Finally and again, thank you all very much. Publishing the Salmon Fisher’s Journal in true “coffee table” style has been at the very forefront of all my book writing and publishing to date. I’ve saved the best for last. We’re where we need to be to deliver.

Securing more backers now is a delightful bonus that will up our game — and that will please everyone associated with the project. This is angling literature history. Thank you all for being part of the dream.

Jay Nicholas, July 15 2017

Salmon fishing with Jack Harrell June 2017

I had the opportunity to fish with my friend Jack Harrell nearly two weeks ago, and he kindly rowed me around the estuary looking for any signs of spring Chinook. Our evening was most pleasant and relaxed. Jack hooked a fine bright hatchery springer late in the day, and I rowed him over to shore where he beached the fish. Thank you Jack, for another great time on the water, sharing stories and making plans for the future. Thank you for your friendship.

Jay Nicholas
June 23, 2017 (posted on June 26)

 

Fly Fishing Baja with Gary Bulla 2017

Jay Nicholas Baja Dorado by JB

I just returned from a very enjoyable week fishing with Gary Bulla in Baja, La Ventana and Baja Joe’s to be more specific. Gary runs a great show for fly anglers of all skill levels and his panga captains are gentlemen as well as fly fishing mentors.

I put together a short clip of highlights from the week, of course I failed to record some of the hottest action during the week plus, I lost one of my cameras at the end of day 6 of the trip. Oh well, stuff happens don’t it?

I also posted a trip report with more photo images on the Oregon Fly Fishing Blog.

In short, I did not catch a rooster, but I came close. Really close. I was told that you can’t retrieve too fast for the dorado and roosters, but I now question that advice, as I’m pretty sure I pulled my fly away from both species at crucial moments when they were trying to chomp it.

Again, oh well.

Jay Nicholas with Gui in Baja

On day 6, our guide Fedilito cruised in near a buoy and threw a few ballyhoo to see if there were any dorado about. Well, there were three dorado ready to chase bait and they commenced to crash the surface, throwing water two feet in the air in the process.

This was my first week fishing for dorado and I had never seen fish of this size crashing around chasing bait. My angling companion for the day, Karen, commenced casting as I did. She is an experienced dorado fisher and kept her cool, but I was going nuts casting to the giant fish as it raced around in front of us. Of the three dorado we saw, two were very large and one was modest sized. We both cast and cast, Fedilito threw a few ballyhoo to keep the fish active, and  — oh my gosh — the biggest dorado was chasing my fly straight towards the boat as I was retrieving! I probably only had ten feet of fly line out of my tip-top when the dorado consumed my fly and turned away from the panga.

As usual, I shouted with excitement, just like a kid.

Game on.

I did not capture any of the excitement before hooking this big dorado, but it was much like the action of a few days earlier when I hooked a modest size dorado and managed to record that event on the Go Pro. I am pretty well captivated by the sight of brilliantly hued fish chasing bait and flies around in plain view. This sort of fishing excitement is something I could easily become addicted to. Oh my goodness.

Our panga captain Fedilito was as pleased as I was to have the big fish take the fly. It was a good 200 yards into my backing in a flash and jumping while I turned on the Go Pro. Fedilito cautioned me — grande dorado, no break.  This fish was a real prize to a young panga captain.

Here is the video clip. I hope you enjoy it. Better still, I hope you are able to go fishing down in Baja someday yourself. I never imagined that I would make the trip but thanks to my dear friends Gui and Jim, I decided to accept their invitation to join them and I booked a trip and a flight less than two weeks notice.

Sure glad that I did.

My best to you always. May your fishing and your world be good.

Jay Nicholas — May/June 2017

Short Video on the ECHO OHS Rod

This is a revised post with a slightly different video embedded.

My dear friend Jeremy cut the footage together for this short video that captures a few memories of a day this winter season swinging flies for steelhead the the ECHO OHS (one hand spey) rod. As noted in my review of this rod for the Oregon Fly Fishing Blog, I prefer to fish this rod in classic two-hand style and find that it performs flawlessly and makes monster casts feel effortless when fished with an AIRFLO Skagit Scout head.

The video has been edited a little from the first one I posted in order to 1) correctly name the ECHO rod as the One Hand Spey, and 2) to show a better view of my super powerful D Loops and give a little justice to how far I was casting — trust me, it was AWESOME.

My best to you on this day May 5th, 2017
This revision posted on June 1st, 2017

Fishing with Jack Harrell in Hebo Lake

Jay Nicholas Hebo Lake Trout Fishing

In the space between glamorous, arduous fisheries for steelhead and chinook, there are occasionally opportunities to fish for hatchery trout in coastal lakes. It was raining cats and dogs at Hebo Lake yesterday, high up on Mt. Hebo far above the Nestucca Valley.

I arrived in Pacific City at about 11:50, barely got changed into my fishing clothes and rain pants, when Jack arrived with his drift boat in tow.

I handed Jack my fly rod out the cabin door, closed my Simms boat bag, and slipped into my boots, throwing my coat over my shoulders as I stepped carefully down my oh-so-slightly rain slickery porch steps.

We were filling out our USFS day-pass up at Hebo Lake by 12:30, and with trout showing all around the lake in the blustery showers,  Jack rowed us out from the boat ramp.

These were not big fish. Not extremely selective fish.But they were nice hatchery fish put into the lake so that people could catch them.

I’ve seen steelhead anglers interviewed for  videos or magazine articles — people stating that they are not interested in catching hatchery steelhead. They only want to catch wild steelhead.

OK.

Jack and I shared stories of our childhood. I’m 68 and Jack is north of 70. We both remembered childhood days fishing long hours and catching nothing. We remembered long days graced by a single little trout, or maybe a 12″ hatchery trout. If measured side-by-side with a chrome bright steelhead or salmon, those trout we caught as little boys could easily be dismissed outright.

But yesterday, Jack and I were as delighted as the young boys we were so many years ago. It didn’t matter that we have moved on and managed to catch some larger and wilder fish. Not at all. The wind howled and the rain sheeted through the trees. We were having the time of our life. We changed flies to see if some worked better than others. We fished fast and slow, shallow and deep, large and small, close and far. We felt the thrill of the hunt and laughed when we were able to see the trout cruise up from the depths to grab or refuse our fly. We remembered what it was like to be 12 years old — actually catching trout instead of just trying to catch them.

I am unreservedly grateful for a wonderful afternoon fishing with a great friend—Thank you Jack.

Jay Nicholas, April 23 2017