Support Native Fish Society: Babine Raffle

From Native Fish Society:

You could spend a week steelhead fishing on the Babine for only $100!


Babine Steelhead Lodge and Epic Waters are donating a prime Babine week for 1 angler to support the work of the Native Fish Society.

Keep in mind there are more 20+ pound wild steelhead on the Babine River than any other river in the world! That’s right, more than any other river in the whole darn WORLD!

Dates: October 15-22, 2016

How does it work? Native Fish Society is selling 100 tickets at $100 each. We’ll draw the lucky winner on July 1st and they’ll get ready for the time of their life!

To buy your tickets call 503.344.4218.

What if you aren’t the big winner? Every penny we raise during this campaign will support our work protecting and recovering wild, native fish in their Northwest homewaters. So, no matter what, you’re giving a boost to wild salmon and steelhead, not to mention your fishing mojo. And that $100 becomes a tax-deductable donation to Native Fish Society.

*Does not include travel to Smithers, British Columbia, classified waters license and gratuity.

Posted in Oregon Conservation News | Leave a comment

Simple Muddler Minnow Fly Tying Video

In this video Jay Nicholas demonstrates how to tie a versatile muddler minnow pattern. This pattern is great for trout and steelhead. Good variations include a weighted body and changing the color of the flat braid body.

Jay flies April 2016

Simple Muddle Minnow

Hook: Daiichi 1530 #6
Thread: White Veevus 10/0
Tail: Lemon Wood Duck
Body: Lagartun Carded Flat Braid
Wing: Senyo’s Freckled Predator Wrap
Hackle: Brown Saddle
Head: Natures Spirit River Humpy Deer

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

Get Ready for Green Drakes on the McKenzie and Willamette Rivers

Green Drakes

Late May is the time of year when the Green Drake emergence begins. The hatch can last into July so it’s a great time to have some drakes in your box. We see some of the nicest fish of the year recklessly attack Green Drake Adults when the hatch is intense. Typically a late afternoon affair, on warmer days the hatch can push into evening. Fish love both adult and struggling or emerging imitations. Here are some of our favorite patterns and videos.

Extended Body Green Drake


Parachute Ice Dub Green Drake


Quigley’s Film Critic Green Drake Emerger


Hairwing Green Drake


Crippled Green Drake


Green Drake Parachute Fly Tying Video

Quigley’s Green Drake Emerger Fly Tying Video

Posted in Fishing Reports, Fly Tying | Leave a comment

McKenzie River Fishing Report Late May 2016

McKenzie may with catch mag

This week the McKenzie has been fishing great! The river is in fine shape and a great variety of insects are hatching. I spent a couple of days as camera boat with Todd Moen of Catch Magazine filming Carol Labranch and guide Kelsey Helfrich for the River for Life – Women in Fly Fishing project. We fished above Leaburg Dam on our floats but all reports in the shop are indicating that the river is fishing well top to bottom.

McKenzie river "a river for life"

Best patterns have been Green McKenzie Caddis, Golden Stone imitations, Parachute Adams, Rusty Brown Elk Hair Caddis and Prince Nymphs.

McKenzie may with catch mag

McKenzie river "a river for life"

McKenzie river "a river for life"

McKenzie river "a river for life"

McKenzie may with catch mag

McKenzie may with catch mag

McKenzie may with catch mag

Posted in Fishing Reports, McKenzie River | 2 Comments

Green Butt Soft Hackle Fly Tying Video

In this video Jay Nicholas uses a classic steelhead fly theme to tie a wet fly for trout and Sea Run Cutthroat. Swing and twitch this one on a floating line for trout in the spring.

Jay flies April 2016

Green Butt Soft Hackle

Hook: Alec Jackson Chironomid #7-9
Thread: Veevus 12/0 Black
Butt: Chartreuse Ice Dub
Body: Peacock Black Ice Dub
Rib: Copper Wire
Wing: Grizzly hair Fiber (New from Cascade Crest Tools)
Hackle: Badger or Grizzly Hackle


Posted in Fly Tying, Fly Tying Materials and Supplies | 1 Comment

Out-takes from the 2016 Spey Clave

I experienced a great four hours at the 2016 Sandy Spey Clave on Saturday, May 14th.  A mere four hours. So little time and far too many friends to try and catch up with. Knowing that I was at risk of getting drowsy if I didn’t head home by 5 PM, I just randomly visited with a few friends who happened to stumble my way. No master plan to watch presentations. No idea what the presentation schedule was. No agenda regarding who or what I should see.

The consequences of this behavior is a collection of random images, a very small collection, a tiny fragment of the greatness that unfolded at the event.

My apologies.

No story line here, just snippets, crumbs, to represent a day when I had a genuinely good time connecting and re-connecting with people who share my passion for flyfishing and fly tying.

Kerry Burkheimer. Randy Stetzer. Jeff HickmanEric Nufeld. Tim Rajeff. Steve Rajeff. Simon Gaesworth. Doug Brutaco. Dick Sagara. Marty Sheppard. Tom Larimer. Trevor Covich. George Cook. Jerry Swanson.

Here are the few images I brought home. No shots of the great on-river spey casting. Oh well, I had a great time and highly recommend this event for all.

Jay Nicholas, May 2016.

2016 Spey Clave insights a 2016 Spey Clave insights b

2016 Spey Clave insights d




2016 Spey Clave insights c d 2016 Spey Clave insights f 2016 Spey Clave insights g 2016 Spey Clave insights h

Posted in Classes and Instruction, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Lower Dean Chinook: Strongest Kings in the World?

Dean River King.

Dean River King


Time marches on, and my how it sprints on it seems. My dear friend Jeff Hickman is but a week from heading north to open Kimsquit Bay Lodge on the Lower Dean. Jeff knows the kings in BC and Alaska like I know the kings here in Oregon. It seems right that his king season on the Dean will be commencing just as my Chinook season is beginning to ramp up into the remainder of 2016. Jeff and I have had many a discussion about Chinook salmon around the world, and he enjoys teasing me with stories about the Dean’s kings.

While I know kings on the Oregon Coast, I’ve never fished the lower Dean, and have never had one of those magnificent salmon run me into the backing and head downstream through the rapids below.

Jeff and I talk about what makes a salmon strong – the genetics of energy reserves and pure potential fighting power. While I would rank Oregon coastal Chinook among the finest wild and hatchery fish on the planet – I have a strong hunch that Jeff might be right when he says that his Dean Kings are stronger than our Coastal River Kings.

On the genetics side of it, the Dean fish have evolved to make a longer migration and fight their way upriver through rapids and over falls. This environmental challenge alone could have produced a race of kings that are inherently stronger than our coastal Chinook, given the relative ease with which our kings can move upriver and the relatively short distance many of them migrate to reach spawning grounds.

I’d have to balk if Jeff tried to say that Dean kings are stronger than North Umpqua or Upper Rogue springers. These salmon make migrations of well over a hundred miles —  these salmon historically negotiated swift waters on their upstream migration too.

Of course, our debates are as usual fun and we end up with the highest regard for the salmon we each fish in our different waters.

Without trying to say one way or the other, I’ll say that —yes—I can well imagine that the Dean’s kings might be tougher than the kings in our short reach coastal rivers.

Might be. 

I’ll be seeing Jeff at the Sandy River Spey Clave this weekend and we will probably continue our discussion. Meanwhile, I asked him to shoot me a note regarding their season that is about to unfold. As usual, they were completely booked for the season, but two rods came open due to a cancellation.

June 24 through July 1st is the peak of the king season on the Lower Dean, and there are steelhead in the river then too.

Here is Jeff’s hastily penned note with a few teasers and reasons to jump on this opportunity of a lifetime.


____________This note from Jeff Hickman______________

Although Kathryn and I bought Kimsquit Bay Lodge in June of 2014 and spent that Summer at the lodge managing it. last Summer was our first full season start to finish. It was a whirlwind! We did all of the bookings, planning, barging and made many improvements to the lodge grounds and fishing program. Luckily for us we were full and for the most part the fishing was legendary! Large runs of both Chinook and Steelhead. The one issue we had last year was a very light snowpack which made for all time low water levels. We also had a lot of sunny and hot weather. This doesnt effect the steelhead much, but the Chinook don’t like sunny weather and low clear water.

We are all prepped up for another fun season up north on the Dean River. This time with one extra staff member on board, our newborn son Oly Dean Hickman arrived April 12th this Spring. We are anticipating a great year with large runs forecasted and this year we have a solid snowpack.

Jeff Hickman Dean River a

We have been booked solid but just recently had two spots open up for us. June 24th – July 1st. This is a unique opportunity as normally spots are sold out a year in advance. This is a primetime week for what could be the strongest Chinook in the world in one of the most beautiful places in the world to fish for them. There are always chrome bright steelhead in the river then as well.

Jeff Hickman Lower Dean Steelhead

Kimsquit Bay Lodge is the only lodge that fishes exclusively below the falls on the Dean River…These are the hottest and freshest of the hottest fish in the world. Don’t have a spey rod big enough to handle these mean Chinook? No problem, the lodge has a full assortment of excellent rigged spey rods for guests to use. The lodge sits overlooking the saltwater and amazing views of the Dean Channel near the mouth of the Dean River. Catering to only 6 guests per week, and maintaining six staff members the lodge has a very intimate feel. Each of the two guides takes three clients per day in the jet boat.

Jeff Hickman Lower Dean

With world class guides, friendly staff and an excellent chef; double occupancy cabins with private bathroom and flushing toilets, the best boats and equipment. This is the ultimate anadromous fly fishing trip. Treat yourself.

Jeff Hickman

Fish The Swing &
Kimsquit Bay Lodge
Cell: (971) 275-2269


Give Jeff and Kathryn a call if you’d like to join them the Dean this summer, for a fishing experience of a life time.

Jay Nicholas, May 11th, 2016

Posted in Fly Fishing Travel | 1 Comment

Pacific City Dory Fly Fishing Season Underway in 2016


Well the seas are finally showing signs of settling down and we are able to get out on the ocean again this year.

I had the good fortune of fishing today with Bryson and Jeffrey as Capt. John Harrell searched the reefs and kelp beds in the nearshore waters around Pacific City today, May 11th.


Our  fishing was among the most challenging I’ve experienced, but we managed to go home with our limits of Pacific black rockfish and dungeness crab – with a few lingcod in the mix too.

We found the sea bass and lings at depths from 20 to 40 feet, and when we found fish, they were receptive to a wide variety of Clousers between three and four inches long.

Fast sinking lines were the order of the day, and there are several old options available – including the Airflo Big Game Depth Finder, Depth finder, and Custom Cut Sniper T-14. Rio offers great ones in the Striper and the Custom Cut T-14 Outbound. SA offers several great fly lines that sink fast under their Sonar series of lines.

John Harrell was out on the 10th fishing and found the fish far more accommodating, schooled at depths of 20 to 40 ft, and generally rather more accessible than they were today. A week ago John’s clients found the bass on the surface for part of their day. It goes to show that every day on the ocean is likely to bring surprises and challenges.


Thanks John, for the great trip. Thanks Jeffrey and Bryson for sharing the boat today. Thanks to the bass and the ocean and the surf and the whales and ….

Sorry. I really do love being out on the ocean, and the fish, whatever their mood, are  so much fun.


Hope to see you soon.

Bryson can help you select lines if you have questions and many of my fly tying videos cover the range of saltwater flies we fish from the dory boats.

You may contact Jack Harrell to book a trip at 541 921 1276.

Jay Nicholas, 11 May, 2016

Posted in Fishing Reports, Oregon Saltwater Fishing | 1 Comment

Spring Cleaning Continues : Sale Flies!

Check out our new section of sale flies online here: SALE FLIES

Here are a few, many more are available at the link above.

Sale flies

Sale flies

Sale flies

Posted in Oregon Fly Fishing Tips, Shop Sales and Specials | Leave a comment

SLF Soft Hackle Fly Tying Video

In this video Jay Nicholas demonstrates how to tie a classic wet fly variation. We love to fish this fly on a floating line “down and across” style on our local rivers in spring time. It does a great job of imitating a variety of may fly emergers.

SLF Soft Hackle

Jay flies April 2016

Hook: Daiichi 1530 10-16
Thread: Veevus 12/0 Black
Tail: GP Tippet Dyed Orange
Rib: Lagartun Wire
Body: SLF Dubbing Tan
Wing: Lemon Wood-duck
hackle: Brown Hen or Dyed Brown Partridge

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

McKenzie River Trust Protects Finn Rock

McKenzie River Trust recently purchased 122 acres of riverfront property on the Upper McKenzie.

Upper McKenzie 2009

From the Register-Guard:

The Trust finalized the purchase of the additional acreage, which includes the Finn Rock Boat Landing — which will remain open to the public — and the former Finn Rock Logging Camp, where Rosboro Lumber workers lived from the 1940s through 1980s.

Both properties were purchased from Springfield-based Rosboro, each for $775,000, or a combined cost of $1,550,000, in a closed-bid auction.

Liz Lawrence, the trust’s associate director, said the trust used private donations and a low-­interest loan to buy both properties, now jointly referred to as Finn Rock Reach. The Eugene Water & Electric Board, which is keen to see its­ ­McKenzie River water supply protected, kicked in a $250,000 grant for conservation and restoration efforts.

While specific plans have not been finalized, Lawrence said the trust wants to conserve and enhance Finn Rock Reach in different ways, such as managing weeds, pulling invasive species and planting native plants. The trust also may restore areas affected by timber harvest, or make gravel ponds on the property less hospitable to non-native fish species, such as bass.

From MRT’s Press Release:

“We are grateful to the folks at Rosboro for working with us on this legacy project,” said Joe Moll, Executive Director of the McKenzie River Trust. “When you think of the McKenzie River, you imagine clean blue water, incredible salmon spawning habitat, and healthy floodplain forests. This property has all of that.”

Posted in McKenzie River, Oregon Conservation News | Leave a comment

Spring Fly Fishing on the McKenzie River

McKenzie river fly fishing may 2016

Fly fishing on the McKenzie River is in full swing this May. We have ideal water levels, great weather and good fishing. Numerous insects are available to wild rainbow and cutthroat trout.

This year I have seen more Salmon Flies than I can remember and the fish are really recognizing and attacking them on the water. Historically we have seen this emergence but this year I am seeing more shucks on the waters edge, more insects on the water and flying over head. This past Saturday there were so many that large ravens were seeking them out over the the river.

There are small brown caddis, Green McKenzie Caddis, Pale Morning Duns and smaller tan/grey stoneflies available as well. Depending upon the water you find yourself in you can catch fish from top to bottom right now.

McKenzie river fly fishing may 2016

Water temps have been on the steady rise, this is a key to some of the excellent spring fishing at hand…

McKenzie River Water Temperatures

Water levels are looking good for the near future…

McKenzie River Fly Fishing

Posted in Fishing Reports | 2 Comments

River of Life

River of Life features the reflections of 3 women dealing with breast cancer while out fly fishing on the waters of the Pacific Northwest. The narrative connects the struggles of wild, native and anadromous fish with the challenges the women face in their own lives, while also capturing the magic and joy of fly fishing. This film is brought to life by the sensitive and insightful cinematography of Todd Moen, whose camerawork captures the vibrancy of the natural world both above and below the water line. The film explores life’s tenacity, and its fragility.

Women in Fly Fishing – River of Life from Todd Moen Creative on Vimeo.

The group behind the film is trying to raise $12,000 through donations to make this film possible. Any money raised above basic costs, or through screening the film, will be donated to: Casting for Recovery, Trout Unlimited and the Plastic Pollution Coalition, Costa’s Kick Plastic campaign and other like-minded organizations. Check the link to see the rewards, including a guided trip donation from The Caddis Fly.

Posted in Oregon Fly Fishing Clubs and Events | 1 Comment

Lagartun Flat Braid, Tinsel, & Threads are Back!

Jay Nicholas Lagartun Carded Flat Braid

After a period when we were unable to supply our discriminating tyers with the full range of Lagartun’s superior and unique products, the tide has turned and we are in the process of adding Lagartun back to our regular IN-Shop inventory and catalog offerings.

My personal affection for Lagartun was based on their threads, oval tinsel, and a few colors of Mini Flat Braid (Flat French Mini Flat Braid).

Lagartun threads earned a place as my #1 choice because they are strong (very strong) and lay very flat. I tended to tie with 95D and 150D, but it is available in 74D as well.  I wasn’t very imaginative, most often tying with black, white, chartreuse thread. Needless to say, there are many color options that please a corresponding range of tyers.

What makes Lagartun Fly Tying Products so special? 

Lagertun tinsels are produced in France, are genuine metal and tarnish resistant. the Braids are flat – really flat – with vibrant vibrant vibrant colors. The

The core of the X-fine oval Lagartun Tinsel  is silk, but the core of all other oval Lagartun tinsel is a polyester – meaning that you can reef on it and it will lay very flat and help you compose very neat and tidy flies.

All of the Lagartun tinsels are varnished and are very tarnish resistant -they are also so much tougher than plastic mylar tinsels that the comparison is unnecessary.

The Lagartun, 95D, and 150D are polyester threads. These stretch a little, and they lay really really flat too.

I occasionally used Lagartun embossed french metal tinsel, but I devoured Lagartun oval silver and oval gold tinsel by the bucket load. I found it to be the smoothest, strongest, and it resisted tarnishing quite stubbornly. These oval tinsels make wonderful tags and ribs on steelhead and salmon flies: overall I just felt instinctively that the tinsels were truly a superior product.

The Lagartun product I used more than any others was the Flat Mini Braid, offered on spools. The shiny gold holographic and shiny silver holographic Mini Flat Braids were the staples of my Muddlers. The Fl. chartreuse, Fl. orange, Fl. Blue, and Fl. pearl were always a key ingredient of my Chinook Comets.

My newest Lagartun discovery is the Carded Flat Braid. This material is similar to Flat Diamond Braid – but quite different in several respects. First, it is slim and flat, and I mean really flat. The width is 1/8″ which makes it perfect for larger steelhead and salmon fly bodies, and especially for my Intruders. But the colors of this carded Lagartun Braid are really impressive and moves it immediately to the front of my material choices. I’m in the process of ordering roughly 20 colors of this carded Lagartun Flat Braid for and can already imagine them lined up on pegs in the Shop.

The Lagartun Carded Flat Braid is a woven metaloplastic material  that is roughly 3mm (1/8″) wide. Metaloplastic is a wonderful material that I do not understand in a technical sense, but that makes me a very happy camper when I tie with it. It is strong, it lays really flat, it does not bulk-up when I tie it in or tie it off, and the colors are spectacular and permanent.

I have been tying with Lagartun again for about two months now. Listen to some of the colors: Rainbow, Sky Blue, Pearl/blue holo, Pearl/Fuchsia holo, Pearl/green holo. Pearl/red holo, Pearl/black + Peacock/pearl, Copper, Candy Pink, several Fl. colors, and my trusty holo shiny gold and silver. Lagartun Flat Braid is tough, lays flat, makes bodies as slender as you wish, and I have been creating AMAZING bodies on trout and steelhead flies from size 10 and larger.

Lagartun Micro Flat Braid is a product I’ve not yet tried out, but Ben Gherke, (our Lagartun Rep/owner) tells me that the micro flat braid has been very popular with trout tyers as bodies on Chironomids and with trout, steelhead, and salmon tyers as a colored ribbing material, or as a tag.

Like the wider Carded Flat Braid, Micro and Mini flat braids are a metaloplastic material that is super durable and wonderfully pleasing to work with.

Lagartun colors are vibrant and the range of available colors are a great asset on my bench.

There is more to Lagartun than braid and oval metal tinsel.

Varnished specialty wire.

Micro Flat Braid.

Flat metal shiny Tinsel.

Flat Embossed metal tinsel.

French Silk Floss

All of these Lagartun products are proven quality and are nearly always the first choice of tyers who are crafting the finest classic traditional Atlantic Salmon Flies. More and more, Lagartun is showing up as a first choice among trout fly tyers.

The Caddis Fly Angling Shop is now stocking a basic range of Lagartun products on the wall and we would like you to shoot us an email, phone call or drop in to share your ideas regarding expanding the range of products we stock on a regular basis.

Lagartun special orders?

You bet. Let us know what you would like and we will let you know how soon we will be able to provide the thread, braid, tinsel, wire, mohair, or silk floss of your dreams.

We are pleased to have the opportunity to add Lagartun to our regular tying products and appreciate your patience as we work to adjust our working inventory and display arrangements. We think you will be thrilled to lash Lagartun onto your fly hooks and create superior flies of all sorts.

Questions? Ask away.

Jay Nicholas

Posted in Fly Tying Materials and Supplies | Leave a comment

Possum Leech Fly Tying Video Instructional

Bruce Berry from Pro Sportfisher demonstrates how to tie a “taper cut” Possum Leech steelhead pattern. This fly catches steelhead anywhere they swim. Shrink the fly down a bit and use natural colors and you have a wicked trout streamer as well. Enjoy!

New fly videos

Possum leach

Tube: Micro Tube Orange
Hook Guide large fl orange
Weight pro raw weight small
Body:Pink polar chenille UV
Wing: taper cut hot pink pro opossum taper cut
Flash: Rainbow flashabou
Collar 1 pro opossum hot purple
Collar 2: purple schlappen
Cone: Ultra sonic cone purple metallic

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