Sea Run Cutthroat Book Published (at last)

sea-run-cutthroat-book-cover

Well, they say that all things must find their own time, but finally, finally I managed to put the polish (Ok it is a Jay polish that must assuredly still include some novel spelling and punctuation) on my sea run cutthroat  book.

The book title is Sea Run Cutthroat: Flies and Flyfishing. This book (100 pages) includes a short chapter on Puget Sound fishing by Blake Merwin of Gig Harbor Fly Shop and a foreword by Puget Sound Guide Leland Miyawaki. The emphasis of the discussion regarding anadromous cutthroat life history and fishing is, naturally from my perspective, the Oregon Coast, but I wanted to reach out and include some fly patterns and discussion of the Puget Sound fishery since it is to very different from the SRC fisheries we pursue here in Oregon.

This 8.5″ x 11″ book  contains half-page photographs of 60 great sea run cutthroat flies, along with each fly’s tying recipe and tying notes. I also offer my perspective on the Oregon distribution of SRC, their life history variation, catch and release fishing, best tackle, SRC boats, SRC flyfishing tactics,  SRC fly styles, and the history of Oregon’s fishery and SRC hatchery programs.

The Puget Sound chapter by Blake Merwin and the flies he so generously contributed to this book help broaden the reach of the discussion by providing a glimpse into the rich fishery for SRC that has deep roots in Puget Sound. Oregon’s fly fishery for SRC has its roots that extend back a century and I included a quote from that era illustrating that these fish were as finicky then as they can be now-a-days.

Leland Miyawaki’s foreword is a generous invitation to explore the book and dig in, saying:

“There’s a lot of meat in Jay’s book, particularly when he discusses fishing Oregon’s rivers and their estuaries. So unless you’re fishing our Washington estuaries, Jay’s book is a revelation and, in the end, a total godsend. And about those fly patterns, whoa! Like I say, there’s a lot of meat in this book.”

This book is available now on Amazon, and will shortly be available at Gig Harbor, Royal Treatment, and the Caddis Fly Shop.

I would be pleased to ship a signed copy to anyone who contacts me directly, and note that delivery of signed books will probably be delayed until the week after Christmas.

My thanks to many friends who have encouraged me to create this book and catalog some of the very best flies one can fish for SRC (there are some great Puget Sound coho flies in here too).

Thank you always for your support and patience.

Jay Nicholas, December 7th, 2016

Jay’s Thoughts on Sea Run Cutthroat Fly Patterns . . . . .

Sea Run Cutthroat flies – favorite fly styles

Note:  This is a preview of more to come, think about 2011 as time to dig deeper into the lives and flies of Sea Run cutthroat.

Everyone who fishes Sea Runs has their preferences.  That’s what you are about to see here:  preferences, not absolutes.  I tie and fish several basic styles of flies for sea run cutthroat, depending on the circumstances of where I am fishing, time of day, time of year, and how I see the fish behaving in a particular time and place.  If you have not seen this video recently, or ever, check it out.  Chris Daughters and I shot several videos, including this one on Sea Run cutthroat fly patterns and styles, as part of an extensive set on flies designed to catch these foxy fish.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F_ByJLURTW0&feature=related

I won’t say much about or estuary and saltwater flies popular in Puget Sound, mainly because I have zip personal experience fishing there.  These fly patterns lean heavily to the baitfish and shrimp genre.  Small Clousers and modest-size scuds are apparently effective, and these fly patterns are targeting fish that are actively feeding in salt and estuarine waters.  This might make it useful to consider that individual fish often key-in on specific types, sizes, or colors of feed; if so, imitating the preferred food of the moment could be important.

Anglers fly fishing for sea-run cutthroat in Alaska and BC are in the habit of fishing egg-sac fry flies.  These are little streamer patterns with a ball of yarn or dubbing under the throat of the fly to imitate the not-quite absorbed egg-sac on a juvenile salmon fry.  This is intellectually useful but has limited application in Oregon, where the population of sac fry for sea-run cutthroat to eat is less than 0.0000367 of what it is up north.

For better or worse, as the saying goes. Here is a short description of my favorite Sea Run Cutthroat fly styles.

Traditional, named Sea Run flies. These are a few flies I tied back in the 1970s for fishing Blueback and Harvest Trout.  These principally include the Female Coachman, Pete’s Special, Spruce, and Siletz Special.  They were effective flies then, they still are, and there is some feeling of tradition associated with tying and fishing these flies.

Baitfish Imitation flies. These tend to be very slimish, longish flies intended to imitate a small fish that any self-respecting Harvest trout would want to eat.  Sea Runs, like all coastal cutthroat, are a very predaceous species:  they like to eat other fish.  Rarely, I will tie small Clousers, but I usually shy away from Clousers unless I am fishing where I want my fly to sink a little deeper.  Puget sound anglers seem to like Clousers (I have never fished there), but when fishing the upper tidal reaches of Oregon coastal rivers, I have thus far concentrated on simple streamers that fish well in the top three feet of the water, where I can see the fish take the fly.

Slim bodied wet flies. This fly style is based on the characteristics of Sea Run Cutthroat flies that were fished for decades and are well portrayed in Les Johnson’s book (fly Fishing for Sea Run Cutthroat; Frank Amato Publications).  These flies are characterized by the use of Uni Yarn for the body.  I also use Mirage Flashabou for winging these flies, finding that the flies sink well, swim true, and have just the right amount of fish drawing sparkle.  I tie these flies without tails, and I have proof that the tail omission feather increases solid hook-ups by a factor of 0.000239.


Dubbed Body Wet Flies. These depart from the profile of the slim bodied wet flies in two ways: 1) I use special fuzzy dubbing blends to make a buggy body that is thicker; and 2) I use hackles that are a little fuller, longer and/or webbier than on the slim bodied wet flies.  This fly style also incorporates Mirage Flashabou and omits the tail.

Double Hackle wet flies. This fly style incorporates a blended dubbing for a body, but places a webby hackle at both the rear and head of the fly.  Reminiscent of a Renegade fly, these flies were inspired by a fly I tied in the 1970s, a Bear Paw (I think).  This fly style continues a progression from subtle and slim to a more authoritative and juicy.  Again, no tail, but also no wing; the hackles alone are just the ticket to induce the take.

Reverse Spider Hackled wet flies. I tie these flies with rooster saddles or neck hackles rather than mallard, but the main point of these flies is that the hackles are tied with the dull side facing forward of the hook eye, and dubbing is wound at the rear of the hackle to keep the hackles “cupped” forward.  No tail, No wing.  No flash.  This is an intriguing fly style, a little difficult to tie, but effective and worth experimenting with.  A few Blueback devotees I know consider this their “secret” fly.  Dunno what to say.  Hope they won’t quit speaking to me.  Can’t be that good, a fly, can it?

Deer Body Hair Wing Flies.  The bushiest, boldest Sea Run Cutthroat fly style I tie incorporates a deer hair wing and a full hackle tied over the flared wing.  These flies tend to elicit the most spectacular reaction from Blueback, are the most fun to fish, but have one significant weakness.  Sometimes these flies excite the Sea Runs so much that they will slash at the fly, even bumping it or grabbing it by the wing only, refusing to take it in their mouth.  This makes for great fun and adrenaline rushes, but comes up short on tugification.  The solution to this dilemma is to go to a smaller fly, amping down on the bodacious properties of the fly.  Fish that will show boldly to a full profile deer wing fly will calmly engulf a slimmer, more subtle wet fly.  Not every time, but often enough that it’s worth keeping this tactic in mind.  Same tactic applies to steelhead, right?

October Caddis. As the season progresses, Sea Run Cutthroat move upriver with the Chinook.  A lot of these fish will key in on loose eggs drifting out of spawning redds, but many of these fish are also interested in eating big October Caddis and are wonderful fish to raise to a swinging fly like a caddis imitation or a smallish Muddler.

Egg patterns. These are little flies that are deadly effective and will catch harvest trout by the bucket-full when they are laying in riffles behind spawning salmon, gorging on loose eggs until they puke.  This is strike indicator fishing.   Plastic beads are not flies, but are fished in the same manner and are unspeakably effective when fished by bead-o-maniacs.  Fishing egg patterns can be crazy at times.  Although all fishing is fun in its own right, I’ve found that the thrill of catching a 12”- 14” fish is way greater when I can see the fish romp a fly just under the surface, so I concentrate my Blueback fishing down river where the fish still have blue backs.

JN

Jay Nicholas’ Salmon Fisher’s Journal, September 5, 2010

Jay Nicholas’ Salmon Fisher’s Journal, September 5, 2010

Alsea Tidewater: Two Decades Later………

Yeah, it has probably been at least twenty years since I fished Alsea River Tidewater.  For lots of reasons.  No.  Don’t want to talk about them.   For about a decade, I spent much of each October bobber fishing for Chinook out of Kozy Kove.  Interesting time of my life.  Not one I would want to go through again.  Lots of fish caught, lots of emotional pain, some life lessons I recall, in my head, grateful to have moved on.

September 5, 2010 was a great day.

New boat.  Nice.  More than nice.  More to follow.  Lots of good times to follow.

I am still a little terrified, and a lot excited about the new boat.  No.  I’m a lot terrified and a little excited.  75/25?  No.  30/70.  Whatever.  There is a mixture of fear and excitement.  I ran a 16’ x 48” Alumaweld sled twenty years ago.  I do remember swearing to Lisa that I would never, ever get a powerboat again.  Too much hassle.  Too much money.  Too much maintenance.  I’m too old.  I don’t need one to fish were I want to fish.  No place to store the boat.  Everyone else would love the boat but I’d be the one who would have to maintain it.  Too loud, just too noisy.

Crap.

Changed my mind one day andpresto – here comes the new sled.  Joe Koffler built me a  16’ x 60” flat bottom sled boat.  I initially thought I would go with a 20 hp outboard, I said.  By the time I got the boat it was a Yamaha 60/40 (60 horse outboard motor rated at 40 hp at the jet pump).

Rob Russell, my dear salmon obsessed kindred spirit, was in the boat with me, on this first sort of serious fishing day in the new boat.  Rob, experienced guide and boatman, suggested that I shorten my bow line, to avoid the possibility of sucking the rope into the impeller.  Good call.

Rob chose our first anchor point. Six or eight boats had been fishing where we anchored when we were at the boat ramp, but had all motored upriver as the tide turned from slack to the incoming.

Forgot to mention – no point trying to launch a jet sled, or any other craft for that matter, on Salmon River at a minus tide.  We had arrived at Salmon River at daybreak, loaded our gear into the sled, and found about a hundred yards separating the end of the boat ramp from the water.   A dozen cars parked at the Hwy 101 bridge told us that yes, there were some kings in Salmon River, but we cruised on down the coast, blabbing away, headed for the Alsea as the day brightened.

First anchor point. Ten minutes into our fishing.  Rob got grabbed.  Solid.  Beautiful strong chrome fish.  Long powerful runs.  We stayed on anchor; in deep relatively snag free water.  Rob worked the henfish close and released her.  We were both happy, excited, and smiling big smiles.

This fly hooked Chinook was a big deal. For all the King Salmon I caught back in my bait and bobber days, I never caught a Chinook on a fly.  Never even tried.  Never saw anyone flyfishing for salmon back in the 1980s.

Wow.  As far as we can tell, we are the only guys crazy enough to fly fish for kings here on the Alsea.  No doubt, we will go back.  Whether we catch any more kings on flies, who knows.  But we will try, I guarantee, we will try.  Unless we get lured off  by the Rogue, or the Umpqua, or the Nestucca, or the Tillamook, or the Nehalem.  Oh well, we’ll fly fish for Chinook salmon somewhere, and soon too.

We fished on up to the head of tide. We charted fish on the graph.  We anchored and tried different fly lines, and different flies and fished for sea run cutthroat in the sun.

Sea run cutthroat will always show themselves, I always say when I talk to people about sea run cutthroat.  They might not eat your fly, but they will always flash at it if they are anywhere near.

Hah.  Several big sea run cutthroat were taking something at the surface, under a leaning tree.  Rob and I tossed big flies, small flies, bright flies and dull flies at these raising fish, to no result whatsoever.  Alas, I didn’t have a dry fly line and a size #12 Stimulator or some such dry fly to test on the cagey little beasties.  One fresh-run blueback eventually came to a purple-bodied, sparsely hacked fly with no flash (Rob insisted on pulling off the 3 strands of flashabou).  This was a clean, blue-backed, first ocean fish of about 12″.  If this fish spawns, returns to the ocean next spring, and doesn’t get ambushed in between, it will likely be 14-15″ on its next run in 2011.  Two months from now, it could be miles upriver from here, eating eggs drifting out of Chinook spawning redds.

A beautiful day. Sun and clouds.  Bagels.  Lamb chops and pretzels, and banana chips and one beer and 4 bottles of Gatorade.  Lots of catching up on life, science talk, salmon talk, lamprey talk, striped bass talk, sturgeon talk, hatchery talk, guide talk, friends talk, personal life talk,  and our dreams for the future.  It was a perfect day to fish a little and devote most of our focus to things a lot more important than fish.

I was pretty tired when we got back home, having been up at 3:30 to make it to Salmon River at daybreak, parking the boat back home at 8 PM.

Our plans to fish on the 6th transformed, partly out of our exhaustion, to a plan for sleeping-in, catching up on non-fishing life, and looking forward to our next adventure.

JN

Nicholas’ Salmon fisher’s Journal: August 22, 2010

Jay Nicholas’ Salmon Fisher’s Journal, August 23, 2010

Siletz Sea Run Skunk, Washington Sea run cutthroat are in….

Yes I’m talking about the elusive sea run cutthroat, the smaller anadromous cousin of the mighty steelhead.  I love these fish.

Can’t help myself here, I feel compelled  to review a few of the factoids about the life history of sea run cutthroat, Oncorhynchus clarki clarki, here in Oregon.

These fish are found in virtually all, yes all – Oregon coastal rivers, and are in most if not all of the Columbia River tributaries at least upstream to Bonneville dam.  Formerly, and maybe even now, they were distributed as far upstream as about Hood River.  That’s what Oregon fish experts think, and what the Native fish Status report by Oregon says.  The matter of an anadromous fish of 12-14 “ making the migration from Hood River to the ocean and back seems a tiny bit intriguing.  Maybe they did, they could have, but maybe these migratory cutthroat simply migrated into the mainstem Columbia to chow down on juvenile salmon and steelhead before returning to the Hood.  Maybe they hung out in the Columbia /estuary rather than going out into the ocean.  I bet there was a lot of food for a piscivorous fish when the Columbia was wild.

Difficult to say for sure, and mostly an academic matter now, because there are about none of the feisty “sea run” cutthroat above Bonneville these days.

I should mention that recent research on sea run cutthroat in Lower Columbia River tributaries has found that some of the migratory fish have stayed in the Columbia estuary, or mostly in the near shore areas of the Columbia river plume, but that some have been tracked thirty or so miles offshore, so they sure as shootin’ are what I would call a “sea run” fish.

Back to sea run cutthroat life history in Oregon. Two to three years, usually, in freshwater before they “smolt” and migrate to ocean or estuary.  At this age they can be anywhere from 8”-12” long.  Interestingly, an Oregon researcher, three or four decades ago, recommended that the minimum size limit on coastal rivers should be 10” in order to adequately protect pre-smolt cutthroat from harvest.  The recommendation was not adopted.

So, juvenile sea run cutthroat spend 2-3 years in freshwater, migrate to the ocean/estuary, and then return after roughly three months.  This makes the migratory timing and duration of salty residence very similar to the half-pounder steelhead native to the Rogue and Klamath rivers in southern Oregon – Northern California.  Big difference is that virtually none of the half pounder steelhead are sexually mature after their first seaward migration, but virtually all of the sea run cutthroat will spawn on their first return from the salt.  This is true for Oregon, however as one looks north to Alaska, one finds that many sea run cutthroat may not be sexually mature on their first return to freshwater.

How big are sea run cutthroat? First migration blueback (they have beautiful blue backs just like fresh run steelhead when they first return to freshwater) are often in the 10”-12” size bracket.  if you catch a 14” sea run cutthroat here in Oregon it is probably 1) on its second migration back to the river or 2) an individual fish that stayed in the river until it was 11” long before it smolted.

If you encounter a sea run cutthroat in Oregon that is 16”, 17”, or more, you almost certainly have a fish that is on its 3rd, 4th, or even 5th migration back to freshwater.  es, I have heard the stories of 20” + sea run cutthroat here in Oregon.  They are true.  Trusted friends who dive our coastal rivers every year see a few of these fish , but the monster sea runs steadfastly elude my best efforts to catch them.

Question.  What is the most dependable way to catch sea run cutthroat in Oregon?

Answer: 1) find a deep hole in any Oregon coastal river a little distance above the head of tidewater; 2) make sure the hole is somewhat secluded location: 3) wait for night fall; 4) build a bonfire; 5) ensure that adequate supplies of beer, chips, hot dogs, and all the trimmings are at hand; 6) plunk out a gob of worms, crawdad tails, shrimp, or bullhead meat on a hook; 7) sit back on the beach, have a nice social time with friends, and reel in the cutthroat like crazy.

Think I‘m kidding? Not hardly.  This method was described to me as the traditional sea run fishing tactic practiced in the 1920s, a dairy farmer confided his secret methods in the 1960s, and in 2008, a young guy working a coffee kiosk in Monmouth bragged that this was the only way to really catch sea runs, having just returned from a successful fishing adventure on a certain nearby river.

Common, how about a fishing report?

Fished Siletz tidewater on Sunday. Sunny.  Last half of the incoming and early to mid outgoing tide.  Fished above and below Strom Park.  Great water.  Plenty of shady sea run habitat.  Most excellent fishing technique was applied.  Two fish scientist fly fishers giving our best.  Skunked.  wait, there were two cutthroat that could, possibly, if I really wanted, be classified as sea runs.  It would be a stretch.  Each fish was about 12”.  Maybe they had already been in for a month and slimmed down.  More likely, they were resident cutthroat.  Just tellin’ it like it probably is.

There were fresh sea runs in the area where we fly fished. The fish finder marked a fair number of fish in the deeper holes.  Were they sea run cutthroat, Chinook, or summer steelhead?  Don’t know.  They had to be fish though, right?  A fish finder never misleads.  Ha ha.

One fellow fishing a Ford Fender with worms caught a big blueback, and we found a fresh gut pile at the boat ramp.  So they were there.  Maybe if it had been cloudy with a little drizzle.  Maybe if we had fished first light.  Maybe.

Meanwhile, a fine day on the river with Kipper snacks, a beer, and good friend.

Ready to go again, yes sir.

Washington?  Almost forgot to tell ya.  A friend had great success on a Washing river last weekend.  Really got ’em to go on slim, yarn body flies.  Wish I had been there with him.

JN

Nicholas’ Salmon Fisher’s Journal: Sea Run Cutthroat are in, Chinook Grabby on Small Flies – – –

Nicholas’ Salmon Fisher’s Journal

August 7, 2010.

Sea Run cutthroat are in; thirty-plus fish day; King salmon grabby on small flies.

That is how the headlines read.

Wow. Every word is true.

But – – – – – –

Sometimes the truth has little twists and turns that could be sorted out, if one wished to sort them out.

On the other hand, maybe the nuances of the truth should be left to lay, because that’s how legends are made, or so it seems.

August 7, 2010 was indeed a legendary fishing day.  A legendary day fly fishing for sea run cutthroat in oregon.  A legendary day fly fishing for chinook salmon in oregon. Please allow me to set the record straight, by filling in the details behind the headlines.

Steve and I were going fly fishing for sea run cutthroat. We decided to sleep in (Steve) and do some work on the computer (Jay).  I was to meet Steve at his home at 7 AM.  at 6:45, I’m about to ump in the truck and the hone rings.  “Take your time,” Steve tells me.  OK, this gives me another half hour to multi-task.

We head for the coast. It’s been waaaaay to long since we have been fishing together and especially fly fishing for sea run cutthroat.  Usually I anchor in the rock hole on the South Santiam and make Steve fish there for 6 hours straight.  .  We blather.  Mostly I blather.   I relate many stories about my expeditions chasing sea run cutthroat, the elusive blue back, the harvest trout.

By the way, please excuse my inconsistency in capitalization of all these fish names.  Sometimes I do, sometimes I do not capitalize common fish names.  I suppose as a fish scientist I should be consistent and proper.  My friend Rob constantly chides me, rightly so, but what the heck.  Time is short, my mind wanders.  I am inwardly conflicted about whether or not these fish names should be capitalized, so I wander around doing this and that, not worrying about it.  Rob will edit our books and get it straight when the time is right.

So we’re driving to our sea run cutthroat fly fishing destination, and after every story I tell, Steve says: “really”?  As if I was making it up.  Sometimes he asks if the storied fishing trip occurred during the most recent two decades.  I act appropriately offended, laugh, and tell another story.  So what if I exaggerate.  So what if the story relates to a fishing trip in 1967.  Who cares, really?

We go fishing. We hook 4 honest-to-goodness Sea Run Cutthroat.  See what I mean about capitalization?  Three of the 4 fish are larger than usual.  One is an honest 17”, measured against a tape on the boat.  We have a great time and drive home in the afternoon sun.  It has been a great day fly fishing for sea run cutthroat, because any day when you find a Blueback or two that is willing to rush your fly is a great day.

I go home and email Chris Daughters a photo of the 17″ Sea Run Cutthroat with a caption that reads, “Sea runs are in.”

It is about 5 PM.

Jackson, want to go up to Foster? Sure dada.  Will we get root beer floats?  Nah, I say, a big smile on my face.

We stop for a to-go burrito, a kid’s quesadilla, and it is on the road for the South Santiam.  Think about it.  Head west in the morning.  Fly fish for sea runs.  Catch a few.  Catch one big Blueback, fresh from the sea.  Then load up your son and your pram and head east.  Life is good.

Jackson and I arrive and get the Pram in the water by 7 PM.  We have seats in the Pram now.  Joe Koffler has leaned out the interior for me, just as I requested.  No fish box – don’t keep fish any more.  Cut off the slide for the fish box – one less fly line hang-up gizmo.  grind off the anchor bracket I never use in the center of the transom.  Weld up the various holes I have drilled in the transom over the years.  Cut off one rope seat.  This leaves one bench with a rope seat and one bench that I will equip with foam so that one or two passengers will have a comfortable place to sit.  I can row from either seat position.  Strengthen one of my Dirks anchor cleats so that it doesn’t bend over when the rope catches while the anchor is descending at mach three.

Jackson sees a fish rise, and he tells me we are going to catch a lot of fish tonight.  I say, maybe yea, maybe no.  He wants to know why.  I am distracted and give several conflicting answers, each is greeted with another question and each question answered with internally contradictory rationale.  He laughs at me and we row the pram out from the boat ramp to anchor.

Jackson is dragging his fly and has a fish on before I get the anchor set.  An hour and a half on the water allows us to hook and release over thirty fish.  The vast majority are hatchery Chinook juveniles that never migrated out of the river when they were released in the spring.  These little Chinook are all fin clipped (adipose fin), are starting to turn yellowish, indicating that they are approaching sexual maturity.  We catch two wild cutthroat and two wild steelhead juveniles, plus a few residual hatchery steelhead that, like the hatchery Chinook, never went to sea like they were supposed to.

Last time Jackson and I fished here a Hare’s ear soft hackle (#14) was the hot fly.  Tonight it is a #16 Renegade.  What a great fly.  The fish are wanting the fly on top, with a dead drift, as often as they want it skittering on the surface or raising to the surface from a wet swing.

Jackson casts and catches fish. He hands me the rod to cast.  I pass the rod to him, sometimes he passes a fish to me.  He constantly jibes me about whether or not fish feel pain and don’t I feel bad torturing the fish.  I finally ask him to not spoil it for me, after going through the science and the genetic fact that we men are hunters, and the respect-for-our-prey rationale.  He sees all the loopholes in my defensive answers and enjoys needling me.

There are twenty or so guys fishing for steelhead at the hatchery deadline, a hundred yards upstream.  We hear lots of cussing, and they are foul hooking a lot of fish.  One fly fisher wades into the water at the deadline on the south side of the river.  He hooks a fish and looses it.

Jackson and I talk about cussing and bad angling ethics and hatchery and wild fish, and how can I tell that they are foul hooking fish, and why it is bad to try to foul hook fish, and why would anyone try to foul hook fish.  All of my wisdom is impaired by the fact that I am having fun concentrating on the fishing.  Jackson is messing with the oars, trying to see if he can scare the fish off, paying only a little attention to our conversation.

Shall we go now, I ask at 8:15.  Let’s make a few more casts, my son says.  He really is having a good time, and I smile.

We pull out after dark, Jackson winches the Pram on the trailer, we call Lisa to let her know when we will be home, and we are ready to hit the road.

Chris Daughters and I have a quick email exchange before I pull out of the parking lot at Foster.

My email to Chris reads like this: “30+ fish up at Foster with Jackson.”

I talked to Chris the next day. He told me how he related my amazing day fly fishing for Sea Run Cutthroat to a mutual friend.  Chris said he knows how rare it is to hook close to three-dozen Blueback in a day.

I laughed. I cried.  Yes the Sea Runs were in.  Yes I caught some.  Yes one was 17”.

But – – – the 30+ fish part of the story was about trout-size hatchery fish up at Foster, not sea runs.  Chris was laughing too, by this time, and we talked about how missing a word or two in a conversation or an email can really change the message.

Imagine if I had emailed that we had caught close to thirty Chinook on flies (all true) that day?

These are the truths and half-truths that legends are made of.

JN