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

Salmon Fisher’s Journal Meets Kickstarter Goal in 5 days

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With 14 days until the campaign is complete, we are currently at 110% of our initial fundraising goal, thanks t the support of 121 backers.

I’ve said it many times, but I want to thank everyone who has taken action on the campaign, and my all volunteer team says a big THANK YOU too.

Naturally, I set my sights on delivering an even more spectacular set of books on Day Three of our campaign.  I’d love to be able to upgrade the quality of the cover from the initial specs we submitted to the printers, add more color images to the interior, increase the overall page count of the two volume set, and …….

I have a secret plan too, an enhancement I’m not going to mention because I’m not sure if it will be economically feasible. All of these optional enhancements to Salmon Fisher’s Journal will be fun if we can pull them off. As it stands, the book will be something that I am very, very proud of delivering. I’ve always been a person who has difficulty letting go of a task that I have set my sights on. Publishing this journal as a collector’s quality book is something I’ve been working on for two decades.

The bridge between dreaming and delivering is about to be traversed.

So — rest assured that we’ve succeeded in securing the backing to produce and deliver. My efforts over the next two weeks are focused on pushing the standards of what we can publish even further into the spectacular zone.

And I have a few cards up my sleeve too.

Jay Nicholas, 22 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

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)

 

ECHO EPR Review – Clearly a Great Fly Rod

 

This is a thumbnail sketch of a fly rod review I wrote for the Oregon Fly Fishing Blog—featuring the ECHO EPR (extreme performance rod) fly rod. I based my review on a week fishing recently with Gary Bulla out of La Ventana in Baja.

Jay Nicholas EPR fly rod strip set

If you examine the image above closely, you will see the small splash of a skipjack taking my fly in the upper left corner of the photo. You might also be able to see that there is a slight upturn in the tip of the 10 wt EPR as the line is just coming under tension as I’m stripping. In the center of the image, there is surface commotion as other skipjack are crushing baitfish, throwing water into the air and generally getting all of us anglers about as adrenaline infused as possible.

Jay Nicholas EPR fly rod Review

The image immediately above shows my fly line leaping as it clears the deck after strip setting the hook on the previously referenced skipjack.

Jay Nicholas ECHO EPR fly rod review

The final image here simply shows my 10 wt EPR fly rod under strain. This is a good kind of strain that we fly anglers all hope to experience.

Without fanfare, I can recommend the ECHO EPR unequivocally, based on my experience with the 8 and 10 wt rods, plus my long association fishing a wide variety of ECHO fly rods ranging from 4 wt glass rods to 12 wt high modulus graphite.

I invite you to read my detailed review of the EPR on the Oregon Fly Fishing Blog, but in the meantime, I’ll reiterate that you positively can’t go astray if you purchase one of these rods. Their casting ability and fish fighting power rank very favorably alongside rods that cost twice the price; their guides and handle are superbly right-sized for saltwater rods, and this is something I have not found to be true for some more expensive rods. Finally, the reel seat has the sturdiness and saltwater resistance that I expect in an ocean bound rod.

I would be pleased to answer questions you may have about this or any other fly rod I have experience with.

Jay Nicholas  – May/June 2017

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

Tying a Sardina Fly with Jay and Guy

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This is the director’s cut of a shorter video posted on the Oregon Fly Fishing Blog. Thanks to Guy Allen who has tied and fished this fly to perfection and is always prepared to fish some version of the pattern on his yearly trip to Baja.

So. Last minute, I decided to join Guy and Jim on their adventure to Baja. I had a great time and some blog posts will follow when I get time to write them. For the week we were there, the sardina caught a few fish but the ballyhoo fly was better because there were not very many flat iron herring around. Still this is a pattern one would be foolish to omit from their Baja fly box.

I hope you enjoy the discussion as Guy and I explore the tying and fishing of this great saltwater fly.

Jay Nicholas, spring season 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