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 Journal Kickstarter is Live!

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Yes. Finally. The time has come to make the final push from the high-elevation camp to summit the mountain. I have a plan in place to finally publish Salmon Fisher’s Journal.

I’ve dedicated fifteen years to writing, on top of nearly six decades of fishing to complete the manuscript, assemble the photo images, and ink the sketches. My all-volunteer team of professional creatives have dedicated nearly two years in pre-production mode. I’ve received financial, product, and moral support from a long list of friends who are formally or informally associated with the fly fishing community.

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With the support of professional book designer, photo editor, videographer, and project manager—we are ready to launch this Kickstarter Campaign. Our goal, the remaining funds needed to print and ship the book have been whittled down to $18,500.

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My Kickstarter goal is the amount I need to transform the Salmon Fisher’s Journal from manuscript proof to a collector’s quality, two volume set of books that tell the big story of Chinook salmon. This story is wide ranging, more comprehensive than anything ever written about the species and the fly fishery. Really.

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I characterize Salmon Fisher’s Journal as — too much and not nearly enough. I say this because no one, ever, has laid out the story in this depth, and yet after reading over 500 pages and two hundred thousand words—you’ll likely be wanting more. Such is the nature of tackling a topic so deeply fraught in passion, culture, mystery history, and technicality.

 

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With this plea, I’ll conclude.

Kindly visit our Kickstarter Page for Salmon Fisher’s Journal as soon as you can. Make a contributing to the cause. Make a donation—pure and simple, with flies, or with an original ink pen sketch. Order one or several books on a pre-order basis. Reserve a book and go fishing with me. Be a Journal FOUNDER or PRODUCER and be recognized on the title page of the book.

Enough said. Thank you.  Act now. Share this with your friends, family, and anyone who cares about the culture of fly fishing for anadromous salmon and steelhead.

Jay Nicholas

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

A Purple/Black Steelhead Tube Fly for the Weekend

Yes, I realize that I’ve already published two videos this week, but I’m on a mission to create fresh content for my blog and my YouTube Channel, so consider this a bonus post.

The fly featured here is a purple-hued rabbit-strip steelhead fly tied on a tube. My thanks to Brian Silvey for his inspiration. Most of the flies that look roughy like this are related to his rabbit strip fly. We just can’t help ourselves, can we. I’m quite sure that I will feature more rabbit strip flies similar to this but tied with different color rabbit and hackle collars.

The fly is so simple that I will not list materials but will refer you to the short version of this video at the Oregon Fly Fishing Blog.

The video posted here continues my pledge to post the abbreviated (land the plane, Jay) on the Caddis Fly Blog while posting the long, rambling, story telling version on my personal blog.

One way or another, I invite you to browse the world of fly tying and see if you can find ideas and techniques of interest.

My best to you all.

Jay Nicholas

April 2017

Just 4 Guys Casting

I’ve started experimenting with my cellphone taking slo-mo video of friends casting. This makes perfect sense since we are not catching much. Problem is that my phone has poor quality video at slo-mo.

Anyway, I edited this short 3 minute movie that features a few river scenes and images of my friends and I casting on the river. Please don’t expect great quality video. We are just 4 guys having fun while hucking our flies across the run, hoping for a grab.  And please don’t expect great casting style from me — my friends do better — but we all had fun.

I’ll be experimenting with a different camera shortly, trying to get better resolution in future casting videos.

Thanks for your patience.

Jay Nicholas, winter season 2016/17

Fly of the Week: Blue & Black Fish Taco Steelhead Tube Fly

Keeping with my goal of producing roughly one post for each week, here is the latest installment. This is a steelhead tube fly very much fashioned after Jeff Hickman’s Fish Taco. I have tied this fly with a blue/black color theme but I’ll reiterate my advice that most steelhead and salmon flies are not intended to be tied EXACTLY as illustrated. Part of the fun and creativity is that each tyer has the freedom to diverge, adapt, and modify flies as you see fit.

If you view this video you will see that I am learning how to edit video, and will probably decide that I have a long way to go in developing my skills.

Thanks for your patience – I hope you find something entertaining here.

Jay Nicholas
Winter season, 2017