Fly Fishing Glossary review by Marty Sheppard

Fly Fishing Glossary: AKA Book of Revelation
Fly Fishing Glossary: AKA Book of Revelation

Here is a sample of the stuff that caused my unbiased friend, Marty Sheppard, to laugh out loud and blog about the Fly Fishing Glossary, also known as the Fly Fishing Book of Revelation.

If you click on the link in this sentence you will see what Marty posted on Metalheads about the book.  Thanks for your support Marty.

I quote from Book of Revelation.  Remember, you can order direct from Amazon or by contacting me here in the internet ha ha for a personalized copy – or contact your local independent fly shop and ask them to carry the dang book!

Improved Clinch Knot
The clinch knot is a great knot, period, end of story. Naturally, however, some attention-seeking angler decided to make waves and fancy-up on the original knot so they devised this so called improvement. I say nonsense. If you fish 15 pound Maxima Ultragreen leader with a size 12 Adams, you will never have a problem with the basic clinch knot breaking off on a twelve inch trout; therefore you have no need for the improved clinch.

See Frenzy knot.

Independent Fly Shop

In the good old days, independent, locally owned fly shops were sprinkled all across the country. Sadly, many have dried up, strangled by big box stores and the imaginary lure of lower prices. Some fly anglers practice the despicable behavior of spending hours, days, and weeks chatting with the employees in their local fly shop, soliciting advice regarding what sort of rods, reels, lines, and so on would be best for their intended fishing parameters. These slugs then make an Internet order from some monstrous soulless anonymous entity because they can save twenty-seven cents on a spool of thread. Then when they receive the wrong size fly line or their rod breaks in seven places and the reel is set up for upside down retrieve, they take the stuff into the local fly shop and ask for exchanges, free shipping for warranty repair, and a cup of coffee to boot. Truly despicable.

These are the same guys who spend half their day on the Internet chatting over how to save three cents on a 25-pack of hooks. Most of these fellows spend little time actually tying flies or fly fishing. For these types, the hunt for a few pennies savings is more thrilling than actually tying a fly or trying to catch a fish. Go figure. They have to resort to making up imaginary stories about tying flies or catching fish. Then these same guys bitch and moan when their local fly shop goes out of business because the owner’s profit margin dropped from thirteen cents per hour to less than seven cents an hour and his wife forced him to close the doors because the fly shop was clearly nothing but an excuse to throw cash down the toilet.

Then what? Ha, ha on these guys. No more local fishing reports from real people, no more in-town experienced advice on tackle selection, no one to steer you towards the best fly poo for your particular color of fly line. All they have is some distant voice on the phone or an imaginary chat persona on the Internet.

By the way, there’s nothing, repeat, nothing wrong with Internet sales, if they originate from an honest-to-goodness locally owned fly shop. There are indeed a few of these fly shops still alive, though their number is shrinking quickly. The long term benefits of supporting locally owned store-front fly shop is the relationships and community provided by a place where friends can hang out, drink coffee, and share stories. These are the equivalent of the old-time wood-floor hardware stores where you could buy nails by the pound and get three size-sixteen wing-nuts for five-cents a nut – most of those places are gone too.

So get yer ass down to your local fly shop and support their business, OK?

Incidentally, experience has conclusively proved that female fly fishers NEVER engage in this sort of behavior. Never. The moral standards of women are far too high to behave in such an unscrupulous manner. Thank you ladies.

Now for another term . . . ..

This term is typically employed in a complementary context to indicate positive, desirable, and tasty qualities. It can be confusing however, because a steak may be juicy and actually exude juice, a nine-hundred buck fly rod may also be referred to as a very juicy rod, whilst exuding no juice whatsoever. Flies may similarly be referred to as juicy (see Juicy Bug), Beef Jerky may be juicy, and a Saracione 4.25” fly reel is certainly juicy, even when sitting all polished up in a Man Room display case.

Rest assured that the term juicy is usually a good thing and explore the context to decide if any actual liquid matter is involved.

Rare exceptions to the overall positive connotation of this adjective exist, and one shall serve to make the point: juicy fart. This is indeed not good, especially when delivered within waders. Perhaps this is sufficient and the topic is now fully covered.


This is probably sufficient quotage for the time being.  Sales of Fly Fishing Book of Revelation have lagged behind my marketing hopes of selling one book a month, and I need to earn enough to buy another bag of cat food soon, so I’m pumping this in hopes someone out there will take pity or find the book’s crazy approach sufficiently attractive as have the 8 other readers who have given it a 5 star rating on Amazon.  I assure you that these are all upstanding citizens who are entirely unbiased in their acclaim for the glossary.

Have fun with this folks. This book contains of over 340 pages of serious, crazy, funny, true, fictional, and amazing information that you will never find in any other book about fly fishing, guaranteed.  Please do not let my therapist see this book…….

Best to you all,

Jay Nicholas, May 28, 2015.


Do Hatchery Fish Spawn in the Wild?

Here we go again.  Blogosphere Google searches seeking information.

Q:  Do hatchery fish spawn in wild

A: Why yes they do.


Not always.

Sometimes hatchery fish simply die before they mature sexually and are therefore unable to spawn in the wild.  Sometimes this death occurs as a consequence of actually being caught and “retained” by an angler, as intended. So that pretty much negates any possibility of spawning in the wild.

Sometimes the hatchery fish do not get caught, don’t die, and do in fact spawn, either with other hatchery fish or with wild fish.

Sometimes the offspring of the hatchery fish survive and themselves reach maturity and spawn.

Sometimes the offspring of hatchery fish live for a portion of their life cycle and then die before spawning.  Studies of the effectiveness of hatchery fish spawning in the wild, compared to wild native fish spawning – a mouthful – usually show that the hatchery fish are not as productive (i.e., they express lower fitness) than the wild fish spawning in the same stream.

There are some examples where hatchery salmon or steelhead that escaped from net-pens have established “wild” naturally produced runs, but these are, to the best of my knowledge, principally in places where the salmon are exotic (not native) and in these places, and the exotic salmon have decimated any native fishes that were present in the streams.

Bedazzled and confused by my oversimplifications?  You should be.  The matter is complicated.

Beware of simple, one-size-fits-all answers.


Nicholas’ Fly Fishing Glossary: Okie Drifter

Nicholas’ Fly Fishing Glossary

Q:  Okie Drifter


This Google search takes me way back to the early 1960s.  That was when I was trying mightily to catch my first winter steelhead here in Oregon.  Fishing Neskowin Creek and the Nestucca River, I was.

Glass spinning rods of about 7 ½ or 8’.  Mitchell 300 spinning reels.  My Scotch line was a pale pink, if I remember correctly.  The Okie Drifter was a standard for winter steelhead anglers.  These hard plastic gizmos were hollow and were threaded on a leader with one hook above and one hook below the hollow drift lure.  These were usually fished drift-style with pencil lead weight about 18”- 24” above the Okie.

The two-hook rigging was believed to increase hooking probabilities over the use of a single hook below the drift lure, and that thought was probably correct.  By the way, pencil lead was soft lead shaped like a pencil, typically ¼” or 3/16” diameter, stuffed into surgical latex tubing.  Some folks still drift fish this way today.  Some anglers fished lead shot referred to as “cannonballs.”  Slinkies were yet to have been invented in those days.


This doesn’t seem to have much to do with fly fishing, does it?

Well, yes it does, because it is part of my roots as a fly fisher.  If I had a fly fishing mentor like Frank Moore back then, I would have made the transition a whole lot sooner, I think.

I do remember hooking a beautiful winter steelhead (several in fact), on Okie Drifters.  I judiciously managed to break each one off, in quick succession.  Eventually, I hooked a steelhead small enough that I was unable to break it off.  That fish was hooked on a copper and red WoblRite spoon.

That fish probably would have taken an Egg Sucking Leech.


Fly Fishing Commandments

More Google search questions that bring folks to my Blogospheric droning.

Q: Fishing Commandments

Thou shall fish more this week, month, year, and decade – than you did previously, resolving to not ruin thy life by entirely forsaking thy professional commitments, friends, family, medication, and need to seek counseling.

Thou shall have fun, rejoicing in the mere fact that ye be alive and in sufficient health to go fishing.

Thou shall issue honest bond that ye shall indeed mow the lawn, take out the trash, paint the garage door, weed the garden, arrange to secure workmen to repair thy leaky roof, vacuum the fly tying den, and scour the corn dog sticks from neath the seats of your vehicle, all being necessary in due time.

Thou shall give thanks that ye have a fishing pole, hook, and string to fish with.

Thou  shall respect the fish you seek, not killing more than you need, and maybe less than you need.

Thou shall think about the ecological needs of the river and the fish before killing your catch.

Thou shall learn more about your craft, and take pride in the angler’s craft.

Thou shall not soak thy flies in shrimp-garlic-anchovy-taco oil.

Thou shall teach a child to fish, or at least teach a child to appreciate fish and rivers.

Thou shall help thy friend learn how to keep from wrapping a Skagit Compact around his or her head while executing a Snap Z.

Thou shall not feel obliged to loan your Burkheimer 8139-4 to your best friend who is just learning how to Spey cast, lest he or she attempt to use said Burkie as a wading staff.

Thou shall forsake all manner of non-fly-fishing equipment when venturing forth to pursue salmon, steelhead, and trout – including but not limited to jigs, bait, spinners, and plugs.

Thou shall smile having read the previous Commandment, knowing that it was not intended to demean fellow anglers who do not exclusively fly fish and was merely a suggestion for consideration.

Thou shall teach a friend to understand that hatchery fish are not the same as wild fish, while respecting both, each in their respective place in the universe.

Thou shall invite other anglers to share your water, especially if you are in a boat and they are afoot.

Thou shall take a deep breath and smile, if an angler should intrude upon the waters you are fishing, perhaps stepping into a run just below you.  Said angler may know exactly what heinousness this action represents, but thou shall not sully your day by imagining said angler with his insides wrapped about his outsides, lest ye fall prey to the dark-side.

Thou shall give thanks to the marvelous and never quite comprehensible life force of the universe when eating a fish.

Thou shall not eat farmed salmon. Ever.

Thou shall not reply to your buddy who has enquired as to what flies you recently used to catch twenty-seven steelhead — “oh, a little of this and a little of that.”


PS: these commandments are non-denominational, having sprung from the salmon mother herself.  More to come, no doubt, in the future.

Burkheimer Trout Fly Rods, and more…….

The Google questions just keep on rolling in.  Anglers continue seeking the truth.

Here are a few of the week’s miscellaneous and un-categorical questions, just for fun.

Q: C F Burkheimer trout fly rod

A:  Good call.  Kerry Burkheimer builds some absolutely gorgeous fly rods in the troutish action  realm, principally in the 2 wt to 6 wt range; but one can pretty much ask Kerry to build the trout fly rod of their dreams and he can get’ ‘er  done.  Russ Peak and Lefty Kreh both influenced and helped Kerry refine his thinking and rod designs for trout fishing.  Each Burkheimer fly rod, including the trout rods, has been designed from the mandrill-up, by Kerry, refined over time.  Truly most excellent, unique and rare fly rods.

Check out Burkheimer trout fly rods here:

Q:  Funny objects caught fishing

A:  Blank.  This Google inquiry draws a complete blank.  I have seen a lot of funny things while fishing.  And recently, while casting my fly in the intersecting prop-wash tracks of 700hp powerboats trolling herring in Tillamook bay, I overheard the anglers in said powerboats laughing their raingear-clad asses off and snickering at the sight of a loon fly fishing down in the bay.  So maybe, just maybe, I qualify as a “funny object fly fishing.”

Q:  Harbor seal + coho salmon

A:  Tasty snack for the seal.

Q:  King salmon fly rod

A:   If I had to choose one fly rod with which to fish for Chinook salmon here in Oregon (perish the thought) it would be a 9 wt, moderate-action fly rod of 9-10’.

Q:  Jay Nicholas Comets

A:  I have no idea where this one comes from.  I do not fish comets.

Q:  Teach kids how to fish

A:  Great idea.

Q:  Ten hippies

A:  Better than nine hippies, but not as good as twelve hippies.  A Hippie is also the name of a most secret summer steelhead fly that I invented 59 years ago at the age of 2 and have pretty much kept under wraps, or so I thought until last summer when some dude walked into the Caddis Fly and innocently asked for ten hippies to slam in his fleece leader wallet in preparation for an upcoming trip to the Deschutes.  Now the horses are out of the barn, so to speak, I might as well share the dressing.  Hook:  #4 snelled Eagle Claw bait hook.  Thread: 6 lb Scotch line.  Body:  clump of black Lab body fur obtained by repeated belly rubbing and “atta-boys.”  Wing:  clump of winter-kill deer obtained from carcass adjacent to Deschutes River “camp water.”  Note: all materials may be attached with half hitches and none need be aligned or proportioned in any manner.  Second note:  Grasshoppers may be used to increase the skatability of the Hippie.

Q:  My Girlfriend wearing waders

A:  Cool.  Nice imagery. But dude, like, gimmie a beak.  Lisa doesn’t even have waders, I sure as hell don’t have a girlfriend, and I ain’t gonna post s story about your girlfriend wearing waders.  Not smart.

Q:  Should Chinook salmon be capitalized

A:  Spell checkers say yes.  The vast majority of professional scientific journals say yes.  Webster’s, apparently, according to my buddy Rob Russell, says no.  So he harasses me continually on this matter every time I capitalize Chinook (harassment will be forthcoming).    Most people either don’t care, or think that coho and steelhead should be capitalized, which they should not.   Rob and I agree that we can live with whatever; life is too important to get our Simms panties in a bunch over capitalization.

Q:  Wild fish pros

A:  Anglers who only fish for wild fish. And they do it for money too.  Imagine that.

Q:  Why is fishing bad

A:  Generally, fishing is not bad.  It is a hell of a lot better than going to the movies, except maybe Avatar or Sector 9.

Q:  Why wild fish harvest is bad

A: It ain’t, just so long as there are sufficient numbers of wild salmon, steelhead or trout (salmonid obsession here) that can be harvested and still leave a fair ecological and genetic share for the wild fish and the river ecosystem.    Abundant and productive runs of wild salmon and steelhead can afford to yield some fish for the human diet, no doubt.  Sometimes a lot if you wish.  The finesse required is to figure out how much harvest of wild fish is suitable and how much is too much.  Complicated.  Healthy wild salmon runs can support quite a nice harvest.  Problems arise when people kill too many wild fish in runs that really should be left to spawn.


Nicholas’ Fly Fishing Glossary: Best Steelhead Fly

Google away, folks.  Fun every day.

Q:  Best steelhead fly

A:  The fly you have secured to your leader right at this instant, just so long as you soak it in water that contains at least one actual steelhead and that I, Jay Nicholas, have personally, myself, humbly, invented and even perhaps tied the fly.

If only imaginary steelhead inhabit the waters being fished, it makes as much sense to fish a bass fly, an egg pattern, or some monstrous Intruder invented by Jeff Hickman or Ed Ward because – after all is said and done – why waste one’s best steelhead fly on steelhead-less waters anyway?

Some fly fishers think that the best fly is the last fly they happened to catch a fish on, but this only tends to produce a self-fulfilling prophecy anyway because it causes said angler to continue fishing the same fly because once upon a time her or she caught some silly fish on the dang thing.


Tie on a Bucktail Caddis.

Tie on a Burlap.

Tie on a Teeny Nymph.

On second thought, do not tie on a Teeny Nymph.  Sorry Jim.

Any of these and two thousand other steelhead flies are generally ineffective and will not catch nearly as many steelhead as a steelhead fly that I have invented.

Just go fishin’ and tie on a fly designed by me, personally, and you are virtually assured of hooking at least seventeen fine chrome steelhead, be it winter or summer, on my ingenious fly pattern, that also happens to be completely original except for the fact that it looks a lot like a Green Butt Skunk, minus the green butt, minus the black chenille, minus the black hackle, minus any tail whatsoever, minus the white wing, with the addition of a kingfisher blue hackle and a few straws of Mirage Flashabou.

This is the best steelhead fly.

Except for the other steelhead patterns that I tie, which are also the best.

Ha ha.


Bolgosphere Questions & Answers from the Netherworld May 2010 Part 5

Bolgosphere Questions & Answers from the Netherworld May 2010 Part 5

This is part five of five. Ain’t done yet folks.  The fascinating questions keep pouring in, and I’m gonna try to answer to the best of my ability, so help me . . . . . ..

Q:  Strike indicators bells

A:  These are large (5 – 7”) bells attached under the left arm-pit of Spey fishers.  The purpose of said bell is to announce to God and one’s angling companions that one has received a pull, grab, yank, tug, or bite.  This is accomplished by rapid waggling of one’s body in a rotational fashion such that the “strike indicator” bell flops against the anglers chest and back, alternately, in concord with the body’s rotational motion.  Strike indicator bells are very important, because they usually signal the best part of the day.  This is because most fish are lost promptly after dealing a fly fisher a strike and if it were not for the strike indicator action, one would be left wondering, “did I get a strike?”

Q: Tell salmon issues

A:  Where to start?  Salmon need whole ecosystems, from the mountains to the far oceans.  They need places to spawn, for their young to shelter and feed.  They need unpolluted, free passage to and from the ocean.  They need protection from over fishing.  They need to avoid predators that have little else to feed on these days.  They need not be exposed to adverse ecological interactions with hatchery fish – competition, disease, predator attraction, direct predation, and so on. They need not be ground up in dams when migrating downstream, and need not be delayed by dams on their upstream migration.  They need spawning gravels not too compacted or sullied with silt.  They need shelter and food when they first emerge from the gravel.  If any link in the ecological chain from birth to death is broken by human activities, the salmon are at peril.  Guess what?  That is what people, humans do best.  We humans take great pride in messing with Mother Nature.  We think we can re-arrange the chain of ecosystems that salmon depend on, taking out some water here, cutting a few extra trees there, building a road across a river bend, throw in a few dams, dump a few tons of Prozac down the toilet, fertilize the crops, spray the bugs, stock hatchery fish, drill for oil (it can be done without risk, I assure you), dike the wetlands, run drain tile across every field, put our homes and businesses right on the river banks, sell twelve million drift boats and jet sleds and gummy worms to anglers, and  — and the list goes on and on.  Salmon issues?  Where should we start?

Q:  Red kelt

A:   A kelt is a post-spawning steelhead or Atlantic Salmon.  Females very quickly silver up as they migrate towards the ocean.  Males, because they will mate again and again and again (did I note that males are not a do-it-once-and-get-back-to-the-ocean fish), retain their spawning colors for a very long time.  In male steelhead, these colors are dominated by a reddish stripe along the length of their body.  A “red kelt” would likely be a male steelhead.

Q:  Wild hatchery steelhead the same

A:  No, wild and hatchery steelhead are not the same – ever.  A hatchery steelhead may be the first generation product of taking wild broodstock from a river and raising the young in a hatchery.  They are not the same critter when they return to the river.  Ask hatcherymen (hatchery-persons?) if the offspring of wild parents behave differently in the hatchery.  The usual answer is – yes – the offspring of wild parents behave much differently than the offspring of hatchery parents.   Some hatchery steelhead are able to reproduce fairly well almost as well as wild fish spawning in rivers.  Some hatchery steelhead reproduce  very poorly in streams or reproduce successfully only once in a while depending on river flow conditions, for example.  Hatchery fish, even highly domesticated hatchery salmon and steelhead, have been able to establish “natural” runs of fish in south America and far off regions where no salmonid fishes were present.  This is true, also, for hatchery rainbow becoming established in the Eastern US, where brook trout were native, and for transplanted brook trout establishing “naturally reproducing “ populations in the West.  That said, it is unusual, at best, for a transplanted steelhead or salmon stock to “replace” a native stock.  I can not think of a single example where this has occurred.  Elk and or Chetco River Chinook were transplanted to the Alsea, in hopes of producing a late-run Chinook to spice up the recreational fishery.  That was in the days when fisheries agencies commonly transplanted fish around, hoping to improve on nature.  Didn’t work.  It turns out that wild fish native to specific rivers tend to have very specific genetic traits that give them a strong survival advantage in that basin.  This is not to say that a salmon or steelhead stray from one basin to another will not survive or could not provide a beneficial addition of genetic diversity to the local native population.  This is simply to say that, on the whole, salmon and steelhead are best adapted to their local rivers, and that similarly, hatchery salmon and steelhead are best adapted to early live in a hatchery environment.  Ahhhhhh. I am sure I have erred more than once in this make a complex issue simple.   Forgive me or not.  I ask that you consider these ideas as starting points for constructive discussions, not as the final word.  Thank you.

Q:  Wooly buggers tied on octopus hooks

A:  Never heard of this.  The result could be interesting and might set of a frantic feeding frenzy at Diamond Lake of one were to chuck one of these flies into the water and strip it in over the weed beds.  But I need to enquire – would this be a Waddington Shank Wolly Bugger with an Octopus stinger, or would it be fully loaded on the Octopus hook and look like a big fuzzy scud?  Would you want to tie on red Gammies?  Nickel black?  Ooooooooh, how about Damsel fly olive on a green Gamakatsu Octopus hook, maybe a size 2?  Deadly.


Blogosphere Questions & Answers from the Netherworld May 2010 Part 4

Blogosphere Questions & Answers from the Netherworld May 2010 Part 4

The questions keep rolling in from the blogosphere’s deep recesses.  Some are legitimate and logical, some crazy, and some are a little on the scary side (see smelly jelly entry below).

This is part four of five. Have fun, and keep the questions coming.

Q:  Snagged salmon in the mouth

A:  One must enter the arcane and dangerous realm of fly fishers brains to sort this one out.  A fly that has been eaten by a salmon will usually become lodged somewhere on the inside of the mouth.  This fish is not snagged.  A fly that is lodged on the outside of the tooth line, if such lodging is a direct result of the salmon innocently swimming by and accidentally encountering the fly leader, thusly becoming entangled in said salmon’s jaws, consequentishly resulting in a gradual drawing of the fly against the outside of the jaw – this is a case if accidental snagging or flossing.  Deliberate flossing is to be distinguished from unintentional flossing, although the end result is the same.  Sometimes, a salmon will intentionally grasp half a fly near the tip of its snoot.  Depending on whether the front or the back half of the fly is pointed in whichever direction, this is a fair hooked fish with the hook either just inside or just outside the upper jaw near the snootish end of the mouth.  Sound confusing?  It is, and it isn’t.  Snaggers know in their hearts that they are trying to snag, just as ethical and educated fly fishers know that they will, unavoidably, foul some salmon, if conditions cause it to be so.  Each of us, when we feel the first pull or when we draw that salmon close for inspection, at the moment of truth, can either make an honest call – or play pretend games.

Q:  Soaking steelhead flies in smelly jelly

A:  Shame, shame, shame.  Not necessary.  Not helpful.  Counter-productive.  Gums up materials. Causes one’s steelhead flies to swim backwards, making any hooking of fish a virtual impossibility.  Produces permanent  oil stains on one’s Simms causal camp wear.  Makes fingers stink.  Ruins reputations.  Tarnishes outlook on life.  Could very well initiate ripping asunder of Earth’s moral fabric, irrevocably.  Definitely causes foul nightmares of fly angler eating Zombies.  Rest assured, even Lee Wulff and Lefty have pondered this action, but men of strong moral character have resisted.  Frank Moore never even considered such a thing, knowing full well that all one needs is a Muddler in the Summer and a sparse Muddler in the winter – sans smelly jelly.  Nuff said.  Skeddaddle.

Q:  Spey clave

A:  This is a paranormal phenomenon that has been observed during the last decade on the Sandy River, Oregon, sponsored by Mr. Mark Bachmann of the Welches Fly Shop.  Hundreds of crazed fly fishers descend simultaneously upon the Sandy River.  A row of clean blue outhouses appear in a neat line-up at the edge of the parking lot.  Tents spring from the earth.  Purring Honda generators disperse around the area, providing power for lights and sound systems.  Men, and increasingly, women in waders roam the grassy fields and gravel bars with long rods.  People from all across the west meet andre-acquaint themselves.  This is a family friendly event.  Stories are told.  Fish are re-caught.  Fishing trips are planned.  Guide trips are scheduled. Rods, reels, and lines are tested on grass and in the Sandy River.  Chips, barbecue, potato salad, cookies, water, pop and an occasional clandestine “nip” is available for sustenance.  People with international reputations (all good) exchange pleasantries and information with commoners in the crowd.   Smiles abound.  Flies are exchanged.  Business cards, too, are slipped into palms.  Resolutions to purchase fly rods, reels and lines are noted or renewed.  No cell phone calls are made, as this secretive event is held in a no-coverage hole.  Haven’t been there, ever?  Shame.  Go next year.  Be glad you did.

Q: Steelhead flies soaked in eggs

A:  This practice is common in Forks, WA.  Here’s how it goes.  A party of hung-over CEOs in their 60s and 70s meet their fishing guides for breakfast early in the morning.  These guys are too old to party, but seem to want to recapture the glory days or whatever they imagine the high school and college height of puberty spouting crazy worlds were like.  They do this even f they were meek eggheads on the chess team, telling largely made-up stories about how hot they were in their youth.  It is pathetic.  A few of them are telling the truth, about 7% – the rest are fabricating.  No matter how many millions of bucks these men have stashed away over the course of their careers, they still feel a guttural need to compete with their so-called buddies.  They make bets on first steelhead, largest steelhead, and most steelhead each day, as if competition was even an acceptable pat of sane fly fishing experience.  They know, secretly, that they will even claim to have caught a fish if their guide gets one on bait or a plug – out of sight from the rest of the group.  They will kill a fish if it is legal, and especially if it is a brute.  Anyway, here they are at breakfast, all pasty green and feeling queasy after the previous night’s debacle in Big Ed’s suite, when one of them leans over the table to burp, and spills his fly box out of shirt pocket into a platter of half-cooked scrambled eggs.  Naturally, the box pops open, the flies embed themselves deeply into the gooey yellow eggs, and it then takes about 45 minutes to dig ’em out of the mess.  No time to wash these babies off, cuz it’s time to get on the water.  So back into the box they go, all covered in yellow wet gunk.  Funny thing is, unlike smelly jelly, soaking steelhead flies in half-cooked scrambled eggs actually increases the odds of hooking an Olympic Peninsula winter steelhead from 0.006 (per day) to approximately 0.009 (per day).  Fish biologists would call this a “significant” improvement.  I say BS.


Blogosphere Questions & Answers from the Netherworld May 2010 Part 3

Blogosphere Questions & Answers from the Netherworld May 2010 Part 3

People are searching. Searching for what?  Don’t always know, but here, again, are some of the web searches that bring folks to this blog.  This is part three of five. Have fun, feel the force flowing, and  keep the questions coming.

Nice hatchery Kelt. Nice fins.  Not all stubbed-off like we see in many hatchery steelhead and catchable trout.

Q:  Hatchery trout worn pectoral fins

A:  Yes hatchery trout do normally have worn pectoral fins.  This is not to say that it is impossible to raise a hatchery fish with very nice fins.  It is possible, but not common.   Trout that are raised in hatcheries with the intent of planting” or “stocking” them in rivers, lakes, and reservoirs for people to catch more commonly have fins, including their pectoral fins, that are eroded, worn, or stubbed off as compared to the natural shape of the fin.  Wh?  Most likely, it is caused by erosion, rubbing against pond walls, and/or the constant nipping by other trout in the pond.  Adult steelhead raised at many hatcheries across our region (CA, OR, WA, and ID) often still show clear evidence of their rearing origin by the severe stubbing or distortion of their fins.  Some hatcheries produce steelhead with practically no dorsal fins.  I find this disappointing and wish that the means could be found to raise hatchery steelhead that look like fish are supposed to look.  Just a personal thought.  I would still want the fish marked by removal of an adipose fin so that anglers could know a hatchery fish from a naturally produced fish, but as to the rest of the fins, i would prefer that they look sleek and whole.

Q:  Head lice life cycle pictures

A:  Sorry, I have photos of sea lice, not head (shudder) lice.  Get thyself back on the Internet.

Q:  Hippie fishing

A:  Well, yes.  I do have long hair.  Yes, I went to college in the mid-late 1960s when practically everyone was smoking, but only a few, reportedly, actually inhaled.  Ha ha.  They were too drunk to make the distinction, if I remember correctly.  My hair at that time was short.  Navy ROTC.  No dope.  None.  I might have been a dope but I didn’t –whatever, people make up their own stories about other people, and I have seen people try to re-make their own history.  I did wear bell-bottom jeans and listen to Jimi Hendrix and Cream.  Saw Neil Young and Jefferson Airplane at OSU.  So maybe I was a short-haired-Midshipman hippie.  Went on to be gunnery and nuclear weapons security officer on THE USS NEW DD 818.  Could have been a closet hippie even then.  Listened to 8-track Yes, Credence Clearwater Revival, and Jethro Tull tapes at sea.  Oh my.  And I dreamed about getting back from the East Coast to go fishing again.  Took a correspondence course in fisheries biology from some mail order college.  Funny.  John Kitzhaber tells me to keep my long hair and continue wearing blue jeans to fancy dinners, so I think I will stay the course.  Unless I return to a USMC style crew-cut, which Lisa does not like, or a mullet (yep, had a mullet once), which Lisa swears, she will not tolerate.  Am I a hippie?  Nah.

Q:  How do the male and female salmon look

A:  Often, male and female salmon steadfastly refuse to look at our flies.  If they do look at our flies, they usually look at our best offerings with considerable skepticism and outright disdain.  Sometimes they look briefly at our flies and then wander off, feigning indifference.  Occasionally, rarely, they look upon our flies with great interest or curiosity, or whatever, just prior to engulfing said fly.

Q:  How to make caddis fly

A:  The most effective way to stimulate a caddis to fly is to wave one’s hands near said caddis, which is usually sufficient to cause the little beastie to take to wing.

Q:  How to write a journal entry in French

A:  I do write A Salmon Fisher’s Journal.  Some of the expletives I resort to in time of crisis might have French derivation.  I do not, however, insert such expletives into my blog, thusly keeping the content family friendly.  Ya all can translate if you wish.  Otherwise, I can not answer this query.

Q:  Intruder fly

A:  This is any fly that makes its way into your shopping cart without your direct approval and invitation.  Several disreputable online Fly Fishing Businesses have developed software that will secretly add 37 dozen of whatever fly is leftover in their inventory from years gone by to your shopping cart, in the eye-blink between when you look at your shopping cart contents and when your mouse hovers over the “complete checkout” button.  The same effect can be achieved with in-store customers by tossing the moth eaten flies under the pile of goodies a fly fisher has stacked on the counter, right under the hammock and the pontoon boat.  Flies that have often been “Intruders” in such manner include Non-bead-head Gold Ribbed Hare’s Ears; size #6 Elk Hair Caddis; and any traditional steelhead flies tied with chenille (shudder).

Q: Shrimp oil for spring Chinook flies

A: I plead innocent on this one.


Nicholas’ fly Fishing Glossary: Anchor Release

Nicholas’ fly Fishing Glossary:

Anchor Release (noun)

This is a trick device, typically installed in all drift boast, at an additional cost, naturally.

The advertised function of the device is to release an anchor when the boat is positioned in a desirable location to fish, eat lunch, pee over the side of the boat, or receive a cell phone call enquiring as to where, if anywhere, one could find an actual salmon or steelhead on the river where the recipient of the call happens to be.

In practice, however, the anchor release never functions as advertised.  Here’s what happens.  The oarsman maneuvers the boat to a desirable anchor location.  The oarsman grasps the anchor rope, stomps on a stomping-release device, or pulls mightily, as may be required with the individual anchor release design, thereby attempting to release the anchor from the non-released position.

At this moment, more often than not, the anchor does not, in fact, release as it is supposed to do.

Then, most likely, the oarsman pulls harder, using the rationale that if a little heave does not do the job, then a mighty heave-ho will. 

Now, by this time, the boat drifts toward crashing surf, a waterfall, or a whirlpool at the edge of the known universe.

About the time the oarsman ceases his or her futile attempts to release the anchor, grasping the oars in a desperate attempt to row away from danger, the anchor inexplicably releases and holds the boat directly in harm’s way.

The crafty anchor release pictured here is just waiting to cause trouble on the water.  Just you wait.  Really.

Several manufacturers offer fundamentally different anchor release designs and each develops enticing glossy brochures regarding their respective virtues.

Don’t believe any of it. All of these devices function perfectly in the showroom or garage, but perform most disagreeably on the water.

As is the case of all anchors performing similarly regardless of weight, all anchor releases only release an anchor in the worst possible places.