Tip of the Day: Handling Running Line and Utilizing the “Turn Out” Method when Spey Casting

George Cook furthers our previous video discussion of handling running line. He adds the “turn out” method in order to help the caster maximize his or her running line “shoot-ability”.

Posted in Fly Fishing Gear Review, Oregon Fly Fishing Tips, Summer Steelhead | Leave a comment

Salmon Slam 2014

Sekiu 2014 — Julian just bought a new Striper SeaSwirl, a 24-foot monster with twin 115 Yamaha outboards. We trailered the huge boat for the first time across the wilds of Greater Seattle rush hour traffic and the rugged topography of the Olympic Peninsula.

We pulled into town at 11pm, dead low tide. Nowhere to put the boat in the water at this low level, at this dark hour. The town seemed deadly quiet. The gas station had a sign in the door, “Closed until the fuel truck arrives.”

The moon on the horizon was beet red, not even blood red – something brighter, arterial — hanging there huge, and half lit. Creepy. White gulls wheeled and whined off the docks where the remains of the day’s fish bobbed in the swell. The flags barely rustled. Dead calm.

That was the last time I’d see the sky for a couple days. By 5am the fog had rolled in so thick you couldn’t see your hand in front of your face. By some miracle of fate, Julian had not only bought a boat with real electronics, but he’d managed to learn how to use them. It was the only way we could have fished at all. All day long the Coast Guard talked to people on the radio, smashed up on rocks or another group that had lost a scuba diver in the soup.

Nonetheless, we persevered and caught lots of salmon, drank lots of whiskey and even a few rockfish. A few days they were really up on top, smacking the bucktails. Other days the were caught by less elegant methods. The sun broke through here and there. Salmon Slam forever!







Blood on the deck #salmonslam14


Finished rye indeed #salmonslam14


Prehistoric dog #salmonslam14


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Wild Crazy Albacore Dory Fly Fishing

Tuna fishing is nothing short of crazy, like crazy good and we left the beach about 6:30 and by 9 we were into the Albies on the fly and seeing big tuna leaping after bait all around the dory and it just went on and on with some fish on the trolled fly and some on the strip after we cut the motor after someone hooked up and a few on the cast and strip and some fish that we saw take the fly and we saw tuna swimming around under the water and chasing bait and tuna leaping out of the water and fish mostly in the mid 20s range and a few in the low thirty pound range and they ate the fly so very nicely and it was so much fun and it went so fast and we had lots of ice and there was blood everywhere and we were stumbling over each other and sometimes had three on at a time and one fish got cut off probably by a shark and our lines got twisted around in a spiral three or four times and it was tough to get the lines untangled but we did and some fish just came unhooked and I am exhausted but we are going to make the Albacore run again tomorrow because life is short and when there are giant schools of grabby tuna you and I had better go if we possibly can right?

Jay Nicholas August 28 2014

And yes, this makes up for my previous trip when I never got a single grab from a tuna!

End of post, have fun out there folks wherever you are and yes it helps to carry 300 – 400 yards of backing on your reel because if you don’t you will be sorry and yes I I do have over 400 yards and don’t whine about following fish like someone  Iknowwho has about 175 yards if that and is afraid of loosing their line or is it losing a line i never can tell the best loosing versus losing and all that but we can talk about flies and lines later but not now nite nite.

Post Script:  4 AM and we are about to head out again OMG and I was awake at 2 AM so excited and whipped out a few more Tuna Special flies here and now it is time to make a PBJ or several and get the boat ready and the waders are out on the front porch and they will be wet from the salt attracting dew but who cares because we are about to go see what the ocean again and see what we find!  Bye bye.

Posted in Oregon Saltwater Fishing | 4 Comments

Tip of the Day: Managing “Over Hang” When Spey Casting

Northwest sales representative for Sage, Rio and Redington George Cook discusses and demonstrates tactics related to “over hang” when two handed casting. Conditions often dictate how the spey caster deals with his or her spey head, and the distance it is in or out of the rod tip. George goes into detail in the video below.

Posted in Fly Fishing Gear Review, Oregon Fly Fishing Tips, Summer Steelhead | 1 Comment

Snorkel outing on the South Fork McKenzie

Last weekend, members of the Native Fish Society and the Blueback Chapter of Trout Unlimited invited folks to join a snorkel outing on the South Fork McKenzie River near Delta Campground/Bruckart Boat Ramp. Nine snorkelers from as far away as Portland met at 10am on the South Fork to learn more about fish conservation efforts of the two non-profit groups before donning wetsuits supplied at no cost for all in attendance and entering the frigid 49 degree waters of the McKenzie.

Snorkelers saw Chinook smolts, rainbow and cutthroat trout, sculpin, caddis flies, and a number of other species during the outing. The US Forest Service conducted extensive in-stream habitat restoration on the reach of the McKenzie that the groups snorkeled to improve habitat for spawning adults and rearing habitat for juvenile fish. Large Woody Debris (LWD as it’s called by restoration professionals) was pulled into the river and also helicoptered in by the Forest Service to create hydrodynamic complexity (fancy way of saying riffles and pools) which in turn creates different habitat types for fish. By entering the water with a snorkel, it was easy to see that fish preferred the areas where LWD had accumulated, and avoided areas where cover and habitat complexity was lacking.

For more on the Forest Service project, check out Water & Wood by Freshwaters Illustrated out of Corvallis. And for a peak of what the snorkelers saw during the outing, see this short film by snorkel participant David Merwin.

The next snorkel outing planned by NFS and the Bluebacks is scheduled for Sunday, September 21st on the SIletz River. To join the waiting list for a spot on that snorkel, email bluebacksTU@gmail.com.

Huge thanks to Conrad Gowell for leading the snorkel trip! Photo credit- Steve Meicke.

Posted in Oregon Conservation News, Oregon Fly Fishing Clubs and Events | Leave a comment

Pacific City Albacore Fly Fishing August 22, 2014

We departed the beach in The Fly Guy early, not quite as early as planned, but that is another  story.  At least we got going!

At about 25 miles offshore, we had our first hookup, on a traditional cedar plug, and this fish came to the gaff with great ceremony.

Each fish was dispatched using a strictly defined ritual that involves pithing, immersion in salt brine ice water, quick chilling, and bleeding to keep the fish genuine certified “Sushi grade”.  Not all details I understand but our skipper John does, and we followed protocol to maintain the highest quality food product.

about 10 AM, we had tuna boiling at the boat, but the wind began to pick up.  Drat it all.  Fishing with three other dories, they decided to head for the beach to be safe, so we left fish behind for another day and made our very wet way back ashore.

Our Captain John Leach had his dory running smoothly, and we braved moderate seas and plenty of water over the bow, back to to a beach bathed in sun and crowded with tourists interested to see what we had caught.  A nice few Albacore in the box, and an appetite for our next trip offshore to chase these beasties.

Back at my cabin, friends Ed, Kevin, and Jack were sorting and re-icing their catch for the day, and I asked for a quick photo of their two big fish, honest thirty pounders.

These are magnificent game fish on gear and fly rods alike.  I did not get a pull on my fly, but 4 of 5 anglers who fished a fly did – that makes my chances of hooking up on a fly the next time out – about the same as before, I guess.  But those of you who know me understand that I’ll be working the “Buggy Whip” as Blair Wiggins would say.

Wish me luck next time….

Jay Nicholas August 23, 2014

Posted in Oregon Saltwater Fishing | 1 Comment

OPST Lazar Running Line

OPST SP Lazar Line running line

The Lazar running line from Olympic Peninsula Skagit Tactics (OPST) is an incredible new running line that was developed to “right all wrongs” in the world of monofilament running lines.

Traditional monofilament running lines shoot line very well, but they degrade over time due to UV sensitivity.  Additionally, they have a lot of memory and can create coils and tangles in running lines very easily when casting long distances and stripping in large quantities of line between casts.  The OPST lazar line is a much more durable, super-slick, and narrow running line that is completely memory free in both hot and cold conditions.  This consistent performance allows it to excel in a host of different fishing situations-whether it be spey casting in board shorts on the Deschutes in August or braving monsoon-like rain on the Coastal streams during winter, this line remains free and limp.  Another aspect of this line that makes it unique is that it is hydrophobic, and it floats very well, allowing for good pickup and control.

I have personally fished this running line with both Skagit and Scandi heads and used various fishing methods with it; anything from heavy tips and weighted flies to floating lines and skated dry flies.  It casted great and was consistent in both situations and allowed me to seamlessly shoot line immense distances with noticeable ease, and frankly, make me look a lot better than I actually am with a spey rod!  I really enjoyed how this mono running line floats as well, it made it easy to see and control my line on long drifts as my fly swung.

Overall, if you have had issues in the past with tangling or deteriorating running lines or are looking to add a new dimension to your spey game, this is the line for you.  This line is available online in 50m spools in 25, 30, 35, 40, and 50lb test at $31.95.  And even in the larger weighted varieties (50lb), the diameter of the Lazar line remains surprisingly small and just as limp as the 25lb.  I highly recommend you give it a try.  Don’t believe me? Hear it from the guys who designed it:  watch?v=–JYunDrxJM

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What have the Silvers been eating lately?

Many folks have enjoyed some great fishing for slivers this summer in the ocean offshore Oregon. The season in which hatchery (adipose fin-clipped) coho may be harvest by recreational anglers is over, but there will be another period of harvest permitted soon, and fishing should be great so if you can make plans to go, I encourage you to do so. This next short season will allow us to retain any fin-clipped and non-clipped coho, but it is important to check regulations regarding seasons, daily limits, and hook regulations.

The fly fishing in the ocean has been awesome to, say the least, and the fish have been relatively large this season and this indicates that they have been feeding very well indeed. As a biologist/angler, I am always curious about what these fish have been eating from day to day. The ocean near Pacific City last year seemed to be teeming with baitfish, mostly anchovies, but we have not been seeing big concentrations of bait fish this season. What has been common, at least on the days I have been on the ocean, is what my commercial buddy refers to as “crab spawn”.

This is actually the first year I have been out often enough, and conditions were just right, that I was able to see the elusive “crab spawn” floating around near the surface of the ocean.

On some days, the crab spawn (juvenile crabs) have been concentrated in current rips and the silvers have really been chowing down on them. A few of the photos here are common examples of stuffed to the gills conditions we have observed in the fish we have killed.

One might wonder (all my friends have) if we should have been fishing flies imitating these little crabs, instead of the 3-4 inch long bucktails we have been using. Nah, I say – the larger bucktail flies give the coho something to notice better than they would if we were fishing a fly less than the size of a dime, floating around among ten thousand other little crabs. The big bucktail and the motion we impart gets the salmon’s attention right quick, and they have a strong genetic impulse to eat baitfish even if there aren’t many in the water on any given day or hour.

Oh well, the crab are obviously providing great food for the salmon.

Have fun out there and fish safe.

Jay Nicholas, August 2014

Posted in Fishing Reports, Oregon Salmon fly fishing, Oregon Saltwater Fishing | 1 Comment

Saltwater Albacore Baitfish Fly Tying Video using Steve Farrar’s Blend and Cure goo

Preface: I am posting this video today, as I am getting my tuna tackle ready to fish either tomorrow or Friday -ocean conditions permitting. I am super excited about the possibility of launching a Dory (most likely The Fly Guy) on the beach in the pre-dawn surf, and making a long run looking for Albacore. My host knows his stuff and if we can get to the tuna, they will probably cooperate enough to leave us all in a melt-down. Wish us luck, and expect a report if all goes well. JN

Now for the regular fly post!

Steve Farrar’s Blend is an excellent material – I was new to the saltwater fly tying game and this synthetic winging material a year ago. Not now. I can tell you that different colors of the SF Blend product line exhibit different textures. The vast majority of the Steve Farrar’s blend colors are easy to tie with but a few are in my opinion a little more difficult to work with. The only colors I use that are in the hard-to-work category are the Electric Yellow and Bucktail White.

The Electric Yellow is a base material that is too straight and glassy for my tastes, but it has the ultra-bright yellow-chartreuse color I insist on in some flies. The Bucktail White Blend is too crinkled for my tastes, but it incorporates just the right amount of flash and a stark white color just like natural Bucktail (only more durable), so I live with the crinkles.

And speaking of 5” – this is a very effective length for a saltwater Pacific albacore fly, although I am quite sure that a smaller fly is more effective when Tuna are keying in on little bait. Really.

Jay Nicholas

Saltwater Albacore Baitfish
Overall Length = 5” – 5.5”
Thread: Fine Mono
Hook: Mustad #3/0 Gamakatsu SC 15
Belly: Fishient Flash N Slinky – White
Under Wing: Steve Farrar’s Blend – Bleeding Gray
Lateral Wing: Steve Farrar’s Blend – UV Mackerel Blend
Over Wing: Steve Farrar’s Blend -Midnight Blitz
Eyes: Cure Goo 10mm Lava
Cure Goo: Thick and Hydro

Posted in Fly Tying, Fly Tying Materials and Supplies, Oregon Saltwater Fishing | Leave a comment

Handling Running Line Using the 50% Rule While Spey Casting

Northwest sales representative for Sage, Rio, and Redington, George Cook demonstrates how to manage running line when spey casting. The 50% rule is a good guideline to help you manage your running line of any type.

Posted in Oregon Fly Fishing Tips, Summer Steelhead | Leave a comment

Beulah Aero Head Mid Belly Spey Review

The new Beulah Aero Head is a modern mid-belly spey head designed to reestablish the presence of mid belly lines in the modern spey world.  Traditional mid belly lines accommodated longer spey rods that were commonplace years ago; however, as the sport has evolved we now use rods between 12′-13.5′. This mid-belly taper is designed to be fished with the spey rods we find ourselves fishing with today.  Similar to a Scandi head, the weight is in the back of this shooting head, and I found it casts and turns over very comparably to one.  As you move toward the front of the head, it tapers down and becomes narrower and lighter–an “old-fashioned” line style with a modern taper.  It is also different from traditional mid and long belly fly lines in that it is not an integrated full line but rather a shooting head, allowing anglers to continue to fish and experiment with new and improved running lines as well.



I cast the 510 grain weight 7/8 Aero Head on a Beulah Platinum 7132-4.  This particular head is 47 feet long (they range from 44-62 feet depending on the rod you put it on/grain weight).  I was casting it with a 13 foot monofilament leader with a small traditional wet fly, which is fished very effectively with a mid-belly line.  Heavy flies and sink tips are not what this line was designed for.  In my opinion, this is the line you want to fish during shade sessions when you are swinging flies on or near the surface for steelhead.  What I noticed immediately about the line is its awesome mending capabilities.  Due to its longer length, I also found it convenient not having to strip in large amounts of running line between casts like you have to with scandi and skagit heads. After adjusting my swivel speed and the size of my D loop I found myself seamlessly shooting line and carrying a nice, tight loop across the pool I was fishing.  Honestly, it felt to me like a Scandinavian head that was simply twice as long as usual and because it felt like a scandi head, I treated it like one, using a similar casting stroke and primarily employing single speys as my main cast.

The Aero Head's debut on the Town Run

If you enjoy fishing Scandi heads with traditional wet flies or dry flies for steelhead in the Summer, I highly recommend you give this line a shot.  But even if your experience is limited, this is a great line to fish because it allows you to cast immense distances and turn over flies well.  It also bridges the gap between older spey techniques and modern equipment and spey fishing styles.  Available in grain weights that accommodate 6-11 weight spey rods, this line retails $69 and is available in all sizes both online and in the shop.

Posted in Fly Fishing Gear Review | 3 Comments

DamNaton Film Event in Roseburg August 24th

You are cordially invited to the first exclusive local DamNation film event, 6pm Sunday 8-24-14, at Splitz on 2400 NE Diamond Lake Blvd in Roseburg. It’s dinner and a movie — pizza and salad buffet for only $9 – cosponsored by three local groups as an affordable, entertaining, and educational event. The film explores the historical role of dams and the more recent role of dam removal in river management and restoration.

Posted in Oregon Conservation News, Oregon Fly Fishing Clubs and Events | Leave a comment

Surface Action Fly Fishing for Black Seabass at Pacific City

Hey all you saltwater fly fishing enthusiasts out there – I think that I mentioned recently a day when we found the sea bass on the surface for an extended period of time and had loads of fun casting to them. Well, I did NOT have a GoPro set up, but at one point it was so crazy that I held my iPhone in my right hand and tried to roll cast 15 ft with my left hand. My casting was terrible and awkward so It took a few casts but even at such close range, the sea bass came to the fly quite nicely.

This short video is but a tiny glimpse into the wild action that day, the BEST I have experienced in the last several years. Although this video does not show it, the bass sometimes jumped out of the water and came back down to crush the fly as they re-entered! I’m not sure if it shows in this video but I get very excited at times like this.

And don’t count on the fishing being like this all the time, because the last five days I fished, the sea bass were totally stuffed with little shrimp and other unidentifiable matter and we had a very difficult time catching a few of these fine fish on our bait-fish fly imitations. Such is often the case fly fishing the ocean, and easy-catching one day can transition into VERY challenging fishing the next.

Have fun and get out there if you can.

Jay Nicholas, August 2014

Posted in Fishing Reports, Oregon Saltwater Fishing | 1 Comment

Sage Introduces the ACCEL Series of Spey and Switch Rods

I spent a recent afternoon with George Cook, the Northwest sales representative of Farbank (Sage-Rio-Redington). After he showed me all the new gear in the shop, we headed out to the river for some “on the water time” testing out the new rods and lines. George is a dedicated two handed caster and angler. His enthusiasm for casting and fishing is evident and his “Cookisms” have become part of the fly fishing industry vernacular. It’s always a pleasure spending time and money with him!

I filmed several videos based specifically on product for Caddisflyshop.com that are in this post. We also filmed videos on “handling running line”, “the turn out method”, and managing your hang down” that I will post later.






Posted in Fly Fishing Gear Review | 1 Comment

Of Toyotas, Takodas & Thunderstorms: Deschutes, Metolius, & Crane Prairie Reports

Last Monday I left Eugene with a mission: buy a used Toyota Tacoma and get some fishing in. Thankfully I did both, but with a few hiccups. First I learned I had to wait a week before I could get my truck from the Toyota service center, and second, thunder and lightning threatened to stall any afternoon/evening fishing in central Oregon. Betting against the weather my mom, dad, and I took a Tuesday-Wednesday Deschutes float trip from Warm Springs to Trout Creek. Thursday and Friday I headed to the Metolius, and Sunday I explored the murky bottom of Crane Prairie Reservoir in a less-than-comfortable raft.

My parents at the Warm Springs put in.

X-Caddis proved to still be effective on the Warm Springs-Trout Creek stretch of the Deschutes, as did Pheasant Tails and Sparkle Pupas. At the risk of sounding like a broken record dry fly fishing was good early and late, while nymphs floated deep under an indicator worked well all day. It was a bit slower this time than previous trips, but there were still hundreds of bugs about with eager trout looking for an easy meal.

Thankfully the promised thunderstorms held off until we were on our way home. Still, we had to take refuge in the Takodas Restaurant in Sisters while thunder cracked and hail smacked the streets and cars outside. Now here’s a selfless plug for Takodas’ Buffalo Burger with a side of onion rings. It’s the best thing ever after a few days on the river!
Rain, hail, and lightning, mid-storm on our way home from the Trout Creek take out.
Thursday I learned the entire fly fishing only section of the Metolius was open after fire crews contained most of the Bridge 99 Fire. With next to zero surface activity it took a while to learn what the fish were eating. I tried Yellow Sally nymphs, but quickly switched over to a size 22 WD-40 micro mayfly nymph. After a few casts I had on a sizable whitefish. Whitefish were the name of the game and bit actively while the redsides seemed not to want to come out to play. Still I managed one bite from a large trout that took me for a few runs before breaking me off in strong current. The next day was a similar story. Zero surface activity, but active subsurface feeding on micro mayfly nymphs.

Big reservoir, little raft, at the put in at Quinn River Campground.

With my recently purchased Toyota Tacoma still locked up in the service department I decided to make a trip to Crane Prairie on Sunday. Since this was a solo trip I couldn’t bring my pontoon, so I was stuck toting my mom’s inflatable raft, which she lovingly refers to as her “rubber ducky.” It’s a three-person raft that hardly fits one and gear with next to no legroom. Still, it was fun cruising around Quinn River area. Even though the fishing was slow and after several fly changes I finally hooked into a famous cranebow only to have him run around a snag and shake off. After eight hours my leg cramps had me paddling towards shore, but it was still fun exploring a new place, and I’ll definitely be back but this time in my pontoon or a proper boat!


Deschutes: X-Caddis, Pheasant Tails, and Sparkle Pupas. Downsized tippet also helped, 5X & 6X for dries, 4X for nymphs was okay, but fluorocarbon seemed to work better than mono.

Metolius: Micro Mayfly Emergers like the WD-40 in sizes 20-22. If you nymph the Met at all you know fluorocarbon is the only way to fool fish. 4X for end of leader and 6X for droppers worked well, and go deep!

Crane Prairie: I tried everything from Chironbombers to leech patterns, but had my only bite on a #16 Pheasant Tail on a slow retrieve at about twelve feet.

Bryan T. Robinson

Posted in Central Oregon Fishing Report, Fishing Reports | Leave a comment