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

 

 

 

 

 

Great reception at Royal Treatment Fly Shop

jay-nicholas-salmon-fly-box

Monday morning, and I’d like to share a great reception I had up in West Linn a few days ago. Joel invited me to do a presentation and tie flies for folks looking for a respite from the Typhoon that was sweeping the valley on Saturday. The turnout was great, many regulars and all very kind people.

I had an hour to talk about hatchery and wild anadromous fish on the Oregon Coast – but that ended up being an hour and a half with questions still rolling when Joel dragged me out to the tyer’s table. Where people were already jammed around waiting for me to begin tying.

Bad photo, great crowd learning about salmon and steelhead on the Oregon Coast.
Bad photo, great crowd learning about salmon and steelhead on the Oregon Coast.

Although the photo at the top of the page shows my comet – boss box, I tied tuvbe flies for winter steelhead and managed to product about 4 flies in the next two hours. Rob Perkin kindly went on a lunch run and brought me back a delicious bowl of Mushroom soup to keep my blood sugar sustained.

Another back-lit photo at the Tyer's table on Saturday. I had a great time with all the questions from folks gathered.
Another back-lit photo at the Tyer’s table on Saturday. I had a great time with all the questions from folks gathered.

I had a chance to re-connect with old friends and meet several new friends who are, like me, dedicated fly tyers. About the time the Typhoon winds rolled into the valley, I packed up my gear and headed down I-5 to return to my family. Gusty but not too bad a drive. My supply of winter steelhead marabou tube flies is growing and I sure hope we have a good run with good conditions to swing fish this season.

Here is an example of a Marabou Tube Intruder - the kind of fly I've been tying lately.
Here is an example of a Marabou Tube Intruder – the kind of fly I’ve been tying lately.

Here is an example of the flies I have been tying the last week or so. Thank you Joel, for the invitation to present at Royal Treatment. Thanks to Nick and Josh also – it was great to see you taking care of customers at the Shop.

My best to you all and thanks for your kind notes and phone calls.

Jay Nicholas, October 17th, 2016

Got my Clouser Box ready to fish!

A perfect Clouser Box.
A perfect Clouser Box.

Why mess with something that’s perfect just as it is? Best flies on the planet for king salmon are the Boss/Comet and the Clouser. I posted my Bosses on Instagram already yesterday. This is my Clouser box. Well, not all of my Clousers but just one view of one box. Got a few more boxes ready to go. May start this weekend if I’m able to do so.

My deepest thanks to my many close and distant friends who have wished me well in the last few months. I’ve made tremendous progress, managed to sketch, tie some flies, and do some writing in between taking walks. I am on the mend and have great aspirations for more progress day by day.

I wish each of you good spirits and the strength to persevere through the days when you may find yourself struggling to keep your head above water.

Jay Nicholas – September 16th, 2016

Sea Run Cutthroat fly: Day One – thanks to David Wang

Jay Nicholas Sea Run Cutthroat Fly 1

Here you go David Wang – I will post one fly each day for five days – all will target sea run cutthroat trout, but all are also suitable to swing for summer steelhead on warm autumn evenings and cool mornings. No recipes. Nothing fancy. All tied on #8 hooks.  All wet damp flies. No rationale or hype. Just five flies that I hope to fish in the next month.

This is not something I would normally do, but out of respect for David Wang, Frank and Jeanne Moore, Mia Flora Sheppard, and my many fellow tyers, I sat down this morning to tie all five flies. It was not simple. Then came the photography. Naturally I forgot how to do that part and had to re-discover the process like always.

I do not have someone to nominate for this task/honor to continue, but will leave this to anyone to take up if they are willing and able to do so.

The days are pushing over a hundred degrees here in Corvallis lately. A cramp in my left shin is hampering my walks. Four more weeks ahead to get off the stupid stupid stupid anti-depressant meds. I should be ready to fish by then. Meanwhile, here is Fly One. I’ll take Courtney and Lisa to Farmer’s Market this moring for a few hours shortly. My best to everyone on this Saturday.

Jay Nicholas, August 20th 2016

Little Steps in the right direction – August 18th 2016

6 Chinook Clousers - a new day's work.
6 Chinook Clousers – a new day’s work.

So I’ve progressed from not being able to tie a single fly to being able to tie a half dozen a day and I see this as a very positive movement in the right direction. I can now sit for ten or fifteen minutes at a session and painstakingly craft a single fly that should take 3-4 minutes under what I once considered “normal” conditions. There are other positives too. Far more positives than I’ll bore you with. Thanks to all my friends who trust that we are each as we need to be right now, whether relaxing, working, waiting, or fishing. Speaking of fishing, I’m nearly ready to wet a line. Hummmmmmm, it’s a small step but pretty positive. Maybe not a marathon session, maybe just a few casts, but I’d like to have a hook on a string in the water soon. Over a hundred degrees predicted for the Valley today. Might need to head for the coast soon.  Blessings to all of my friends who are supportive in so many ways. I’ll be speaking in Salem on September 8th and hope I see some of you there. I’ll be ready to rock!

Jay Nicholas, August 18th 2016

Someone will be skating this week!

Jay Nicholas Steelhead Skater a

Jay Nicholas Steelhead Skater b

Nothing fancy here. A simple to tie dry fly for summer steelhead. Inspired in part by Brett Jensen and the Klamath Skaters he designed for Aqua Flies. I’ll skate this fly today and the next several, hoping to get crushed by chrome.

Jay Nicholas July 17th, 2016

Retro Shank Intruder

Jay Nicholas Retro Steelhead Shank Intruder a

Gosh I’ve been way to busy lately with far to little time to tie or fish.

So I grabbed my vise, moved the keyboard and wrapped this fly out — hoping to fish it somewhere in the next few weeks. Just this one fly and now back to work. More soon.

Jay Nicholas Retro Steelhead Shank Intruder b

Jay Nicholas Retro Steelhead Shank Intruder c

This fly is tied on a vintage Eagle Claw 1197-b size 2 hook. A dinosaur to be sure, but it will penetrate and swim with a lot of motion.

May we all find willing fish on our next venture to the river.

Jay Nicholas – June 29th, 2016

Post Script: by request, here is the recipe for the June Thunder Retro Shank Intruder.

“Blue Thunder”

This hook is a size 2 but the main point is to use heavy wire so a long shank heavy wire with hook cut off and a small stinger would be preferable to this one.

Tail: none, the hook is gold.

Butt: Senyo’s Pink Lady Fusion Dub.

Butt collar: Kingfisher Blue hackle to please, this is hen neck.

Body: Lagartun or Hareline Flat Braid, blue holo.

Shoulder dubbing ball: Senyo’s Fusion Dub Smurf.

Shoulder Collar: Fish Hunter Purple Spey Marabou.

2nd collar: Black Craft Fur spun in loop.

Flash: Mirage Lateral Scale. Shoulder: Pro Sportfisher Jungle Cock Natural.

Micro Tube Intruder for Chinook

Jay Nicholas Chinook Tube Intruder

Bare bones this morning, just a photo and note that this fly is a well proven Chinook salmon attractor when fished in estuarine waters.

Courtney just finished editing a video that features tying this Intruder and I’ll deliver it to Chris today, to be posted shortly, along with the usual materials list. May you find salmon and steelhead receptive to this and whatever flies you may be fishing soon.

Thank you all for your good wishes and positive spirits.

Jay (May 23, 2016)

Nearly Time for Spring Chinook

SAMSUNG CSC
Spring Chinook Gotcha 

Might as well tie a new fly for the 2016 season, something perhaps unexpected but likely to produce if fished at the right time and place. Hummmmmm. I know what to do. Kings eat plenty of Krill in the ocean, not only baitfish. This basic pattern is one that I found laying on Chris Daughter’s desk at the Caddis Fly. I asked him about it. He couldn’t remember—thought I had tied it. Nope. I fished it last spring for sea runs and had one of my most productive days ever in the estuary. Of course it helps to find the fish too. I tied up a dozen (10 yesterday and 2 this morning). I’m going to see if the Spring Kings will eat these beauties. My thanks to whoever crafted the sample that I’ve modified here.

Wish me luck, and may you have a wonderful season too.

Oh yes. These are tied on a #6 SW Gammie, light wire, with glass beads for the body and Ice Dub for tails and shoulder. Wing is orange ProSportfisher American Possum with a hint of black bucktail over the top. Bead Chain is large with the rough edges filed down. Thread is white. I have used clear or orange glass beads and a variety of clear and shrimp pink Ice Dub for the tail. I think these will do the trick for something in the estuary, at least the Staghorn sculpin should like ’em!

Jay Nicholas, April 7th