Jeff and Kathryn Hickman Grow Fish the Swing to Lower Dean River

Lower Dean River Chrome, fresh from the sea and feel in' grabby.

Lower Dean River Chrome, fresh from the sea and feelin’ grabby.

This post is a hybrid of writing by Jeff Hickman and me (Jay).  I wanted to share the news about Jeff and Kathryn Hickman’s recent transition to owners of Kimsquit Bay Lodge at the mouth of the Dean River, BC.  Jeff is among my dearest friends, in spite of the fact that we barely see each other every few years, and I hope that changes but hey we are both busy, he is a full time guide/outfitter and I’m a cranky hermit who bases out of Corvallis and Pacific City so there are really limited opportunities for us to get together but of late we managed to fish the ocean in a friend’s dory and all caught lingcod on flies ha ha.

I wrote a companion post for my own blog  fishingwithjay and invite you to visit to learn more about Jeff, Kathryn, and the mystery of life (and fishing size 6 Muddlers for giant king salmon) itself.  Ok, forget the tiny Muddlers teaser, I just made that part up.

Jeff kindly offered to help me prepare the text for the post, and he wrote it thinking I would publish it as my own writing.  Silly boy, I’m no plagiarizer but I’ll now proceed to insert the story just as Jeff wrote it for me.  You will see that it suffers from lack on mis-spelled words, poor punctuation, lack of capitalization, and finally the absence of absurdly long run on sentences. Nice try Jeff.

The lower Dean River is probably my number one dream destination, aside from the Nestucca, Tillamook bay, and the Town Lake which are all between 3 and 35 minutes away.  The Lower Dean lives in my head with spectacular scenery, water, and anadromous fish that will inhale a swung fly and head back out to the ocean in high gear setting fly reels a-screaming.

Here is what Jeff wrote for me; it’s nicely done and all true.

Jeff Hickman on Lower Dean at Kimsquit Bay Lodge.

Jeff Hickman on Lower Dean at Kimsquit Bay Lodge.

Being a married steelhead guide isn’t easy. To make ends meet as a guide you need to be on the water a ton and you need to be able to move around with the seasons. Jeff has bounced back and forth between guiding Winter and Spring on the Clackamas and coastal rivers and guiding the lower Deschutes in the Summer/Fall. Too far to commute every day with the long guiding hours, he had to keep two homes. Kathryn worked an office job at DaKine in Hood River for 10 years. Being tied to Hood River year-round made January-June a tough time of the year for them as they would only see each other on the weekends.

Kathryn Hickman fishing our of Kimsquit Bay Lodge on lower Dean River BC. Yep, she gets the grabs on the swing!

Kathryn Hickman fishing out of Kimsquit Bay Lodge on lower Dean River BC. Yep, she gets skated-fly  grabs on the swing!

They saw a summer season together in BC as a possible solution and a way for Kathryn to leave her job. If they could join forces, Kathryn could be free to move with the seasons as well. The opportunity presented itself, they took out a big loan and together they bought the Blackwell’s family lodge at the mouth of the Dean River in BC. Since June 2014 the Hickman’s are the proud owners of Kimsquit Bay Lodge on the legendary Dean River. Owning the lodge together they can now be partners the whole year. Jeff can stick to guiding which he enjoys the most and Kathryn can help to keep him organized, no easy task! They are both great hosts and do everything to make sure all of their guests have an amazing trip.


Here is some of the scenery you will view on the Lower Dean River, BC, out of Kimsquit Bay Lodge.

Here is some of the scenery you will view on the Lower Dean River, BC, out of Kimsquit Bay Lodge.

Now here are the details of how it is all coming together:

Fish The Swing has expanded north to the wilds of BC for the Summer season. Well known Oregon spey guide Jeff Hickman ( purchased the former Blackwell’s Dean River Lodge, now Kimsquit Bay Lodge ( The season on the lower Dean is June through August which compliments the Winter, Spring and Fall Oregon Steelhead seasons perfectly. The lodge sits above the salt water of the Dean Channel with spectacular views of surrounding mountains, glaciers and waterfalls. Just a short trip in the lodges van down the trail to the river.

Here is how you arrive from Smithers, BC, to Kimsquit Bay Lodge.

Here is how you arrive from Smithers, BC, to Kimsquit Bay Lodge.

The strategic location of the lodge allows for easy access to the lower river’s great runs between tidewater and the legendary Dean canyon. This guarantees that fish encountered will be among the hottest and freshest fish on the planet. This is the ultimate destination for swinging flies. The most spectacular scenery and the hardest fighting anadromous fish. With great guides, great food and comfortable cabin accommodations the lodge should be at the top of any fly fisher’s bucket list. All meals are prepared by their talented Red Seal Chef. (note from Jay:  Aside from the fact that Jeff and Kathryn tell me she is an AWESOME chef, i googles this and the Red Seal requires 3 years of apprenticeship, 5,000 hours, tests and such forth of training.  This Interprovincial Program is broadly recognized and highly prestigious certification accomplishment in Canada.)

Two great, fun and experienced guides instruct and help the anglers have the best success possible each day on the water. They use a wooden dory with an out board jet drive to get the clients from spot to spot. Each guide looks after three clients. The small size of this lodge makes for a very comfortable feel, only six guests per week. The guests stay in one of three comfortable cabins each with their own private bathroom and flushing toilet.

Front porch on a balmy day at Kimsquit Bay Lodge on the lower Dean River, BC.  Please note, it has been known to rain here on occasion (ha ha)!

Front porch on a balmy day at Kimsquit Bay Lodge on the lower Dean River, BC. Please note, it has been known to rain here on occasion (ha ha)!

Limited availability of bookings in prime times as follows: Price – $6150 including transportation from Smithers, BC.

These bookings include one day unguided fishing, six days guided fishing, and seven nights lodging and exceptionally fine meals.

June 19th – 26th Chinook

June 26th – July 3rd Chinook

July 3rd – 10th Chinook and Steelhead

August 7th – 14th Steelhead

August 14th – 21st Steelhead

Let us know if you would like to be on a waiting list (will call) in case we get last minute cancellations – unlikely but possible.

Here's what we're talking about when we say Dean River Chinook salmon.

Here’s what we’re talking about when we say Dean River Chinook salmon.

Here is some of the water we will fish out of Kimsquit Bay Lodge on the Lower Dean River.

Here is some of the water we will fish out of Kimsquit Bay Lodge on the Lower Dean River.

Images like this will be as enduring as the magnificent fish that we swing our flies to on the lower Dean.

Images like this will be as enduring as the magnificent fish that we swing our flies to on the lower Dean.

Ok folks, end of the pitch.  I (Jay again) will be available to help people sort through gear options for fishing the lower Dean.  Kings are a different critter than steelhead and require tackle a little stouter than you would fish in August.  Chris and Bryson (Ty and Clay, and Peter and Lou also) at the Caddis Fly Shop can help assist with anything from gear to clothing waders boots and bookings.  Flies?  Yup.

Keep this dream destination in your mind, just as I do.  You’ll know when the time is right – how about now?

Jay Nicholas and Jeff Hickman – March 2015



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Fly fishing film fest comes to Eugene

The International Fly Fishing Film Festival (IF4) is coming to Eugene

Wildish Community Theater | April 30, 2015
Doors open at 6:15 PM. Film begins AT 7:00 PM.
Hosted By: True West Custom Fly Rods, Caddis Fly Shop and Homewaters Fly Shop

Funds raised from this event will benefit Fly Fishing Colloborative.

Tickets are on sale here, and will also be available for $15.00 at the Caddis Fly Shop and if available, for $18.00 at the door on the day of the event.

For more information, please contact event organizer at

Posted in Oregon Fly Fishing Clubs and Events | 1 Comment

Pike, muskie and other predator fly: The Thickness

Despite the synthetic fly tying materials craze, I still think natural fibers are the best for the bulk of my fly tying. You can’t beat the way the natural materials pulse, flicker and taper in the water. To that end, I’d like to introduce you to The Thickness. If you checked out The Chubby Chaser, we used a lot of the same techniques and materials, but you fish these flies very differently.

The Chubby Chaser was designed to suspend over deep rockpiles and drive structure-hugging bass nuts. It’s light-weight and designed to cast on a 6-wt rod with a sinking line.

The Thickness is designed for the super shallows, where the big predatory fish lay up after ice-out, fished on a floating or intermediate line, with an 8-wt rod. You want this thing pulsing about 2-4 inches under the surface of the water.

I would also add that this isn’t a fly for a trip to Canada where you’ll catch 100 snaky 24-inch pike in a day. Unless you’re a masochist or really love spinning deer hair. If you’re going into that situation, lash a couple rabbit strips to any wide-gap hook and knock yourself out.

The Thickness is for those waters where you need confidence to keep casting, where you need something to stand out. That wag, 50% slop, 50% sass… It should look like the fly version Kim Kardashian going blonde.

If you tried to stuff these with synthetics, it would look like this:

The Thickness

There’s something amazing about the bouncing, floating, wobble of a stuffed fly with a deer hair head. This is a Sir-Mix-A-Lot approved fly pattern.

Those Daiichi hooks are the bomb. Literally, the best big predator hooks I’ve ever used. Note the Icelandic Sheep Hair is tied in reverse.

The Thickness
Hook: Daiichi Long Shank 2461 Size 2/0
Thread: UniThread 6/0 white
Tail: White bucktail
Flash: Micro Opal Mirage Flashabou
Body: UV Polar Chenille, pearl
Body: Icelandic Sheep Hair
Collar: Extra-Select Marabou
Head: Deer belly hair

Posted in Fly Tying, Fly Tying Materials and Supplies | 6 Comments

8 Great Fly Tying Tools on my Bench – March 2015

Pictured left to right: Dr Slick 4" Razor Scissors; HMH Tube Fly Adaptor; CF Designs Hackle Plier; Nor Vise Automatic Bobbin; Petetijean Long Loop Trim Scissors; Stonfo Elite Rotodubbing Twister; Pro Sportfisher Flexineedle; Dr Slick Stainless Steel Whip Finisher.

Pictured left to right: Dr Slick 4″ Razor Scissors; HMH Tube Fly Adaptor; CF Designs Hackle Plier; Nor Vise Automatic Bobbin; Petetijean Long Loop Trim Scissors; Stonfo Elite Rotodubbing Twister; Pro Sportfisher Flexineedle; Dr Slick Stainless Steel Whip Finisher.

I take my tying tools for granted, so long as they perform well, but occasionally I’ll reflect on what has and has not worked well and share my thoughts.  The simple assortment of tools above includes a few that I have only discovered in the last six months, and they have become favorites, and all of these merit your consideration, and my brief discussion may also serve to stimulate your own reflection on the performance of your fly tying tools.

Dr Slick 4″ Razor Scissors.  Been using these for close to a decade, and they remain my favorite, although I have tried many other scissors from time to time.  These are adjustable with the thumb nut, the points are fine and sharp clear to the tip, and they can be sharpened.  the 5″ model are too long for my tastes but might fit other tiers.

HMH Tube fly Adaptor.  I use this baby to hold some of my tube mandrels but more often use it to secure my OPST Intruder Shanks, because it holds the shank just like it holds a tube mandrel.

C & F Rotary Hackle Pliers:  Spendy compared to many hackle pliers but these are the BEST I have ever used.  EVER.  I’m generally ambivalent about hackle pliers and have used dozens of models over the year.  These are amazing and I’ve used them for small soft hackles and fat Marabou quill stems with infallible success.

Nor Vise Automatic Bobbin: Been tying flies for more than fifty years now, and used this spring loaded clutch bobbin for over a decade.  My friend Lou V. talked me into trying one,  and after a week of practice, iILOVE these bobbins.  Norm uses these even on his size #24 flies, but I prefer to stick in the #16 and larger hook size range with these bobbins.  So I keep my standard bobbins around for occasional use, but seriously, these bobbins are so good that you are missing out if you fail to give one an honest try.

Petitjean Long Loop Trim Scissors:  Perfection.  Specialization.  If you spin fox or possum in dubbing loops you deserve to have these scissors, and they are better than any other scissor i have tried for trimming any dubbing that is loosely clamped into a loop before spinning.  Not for general purpose use, but when you want to make straight cuts with precision and absolute perfection, these scissors are unbeatable. Every time I use mine I appreciate how sharp and well designed they are – just one more example of “Sir Petitjean’s”  ingenuity and expertise.

Stonfo Elite Rotodubbing Twister.  Another case of discovering a new version of a tool I’ve used for years without thinking but all of a sudden – POW – here comes a new to me tool that performs so well that I’m like – whoa dude, this is amazing!  In short, I love this dubbing tool. The way it works, by holding the handle tight and then spinning the rotational “thingy” with your other hand gives one better control, or at least it seems so to me. And when the dubbing is spun nice and tight, you can tilt the head of the Twister to an angle so that winding around the shank or tube can be accomplished more precisely.  I was neutral when I picked up this tool and began using it.  Now it my number one dubbing twister tool.

Pro Sportfisher (large) Flexineedle.  This is so simple that I take it for granted too often.  The Flexineedle is easily secured in most vise heads, and sometimes i even insert it into my HMH Tube fly Adaptor. The Flexineedle holds the Pro Sportfisher 40/40 tube, the Nanotube, and Microtube.  The Flexineedle also holds the HMH small Poly Tubes.

Dr Slick Stainless Steel Whip Finisher.  This is a surprise to me, because I tie my whip finisher by hand instead of using a tool  Here’s the deal – I use this as a dubbing pick.  Saw Scott Howell doing it not long ago and decided to try it.  the fine curved point of this tool and the way it nests in my hand have combined to make this my favorite dubbing picker tool. You may have your other bodkins and picks at hand like I do, but I find myself reaching for this tool to fuzz up my dubbing every time.  Give this a chance and see what you think.

That’s it for now, hope these ideas stimulate your own quest for the best tools that suit your individual tying style.

Jay Nicholas, March 2015



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

New lingcod flies in March 2015

Yes, with several great days out in the ocean offshore Pacific City already in 2015, i’ve been refining my lingcod flies and having very good response from the big fish – Whoo-hoo!

My shift from my most favorite Clousers that general feature white, chartreuse, and Bleeding Mackerel Steve Farrar’s Blend for the wing to a different color theme began with my friend John Harrell mentioning that he was having better catch rates on brown Twister Tail Jigs than on white.

First, I tied my big clousers with brown theme (belly = Camo Steve Farrar’s Blend; Back: Bronze Back Steve Farrar’s blend.  These flies are about 7 inches long and were well received by big kings in 40 – over 90 ft of water.

Never satisfied, I noticed that the lingcod often puked up suid or little octopus (octopi?).  These were fatter than small fish and I wanted a bolder profile than I could a achieve  with a Clouser. My work in recent months on Intruder style flies gave me good opportunity to work with the new EP Sommerlatte’s and Chromatic brushes, and these seemed perfect to thicken the front end of my new octopus/squid flies.

The colors I have found most useful and best received by the lings to date are as follows —

EP Sommerlatte’s UV  3.0 inch brushes: White/red; Tan/chartreuse; Rootbeer/Chartreuse.

EP Chromatic 3.0 inch Copper Candy; Flame.

Jay Nicholas Lingcod octopus fly, about 5 inch.

Jay Nicholas Lingcod octopus fly, about 5 inch.

Jay Nicholas two lingcod Octopus flies.

Jay Nicholas five lingcod Octopus flies.

Jay Nicholas comparison of 5 inch octopus fly versus 7 inch Clouser.

Jay Nicholas comparison of 5 inch octopus fly versus 7 inch Clouser.

Jay Nicholas - nice lingcod dory fly box.

Jay Nicholas – nice lingcod dory fly box.

I will do more fly and line experimenting as the season evolves, but I wanted to share these new and super effective fly patterns now.

More to follow, but for now, have fun and you may book a charter with pacific City fly Fishing if you are so inclined.

To tie the octopus fly, I start with a Gamakatsu SL 15 3/0 hook, XL plated dumbbell eyes, and just lash the Farrar’s Blend material on the hook in the rear of the shank.  Then I wind on one color of the EP Brush behind the eyes and two colors ahead of the eyes to provide contrast.  These flies have been great producers and I’m still trying to figure out the color scheme philosophy but at times they have produced better than the slim Clouser profile flies.

Jay Nicholas, March 2015.

Posted in Fly Tying, Fly Tying Materials and Supplies, Oregon Saltwater Fishing | 4 Comments

Fishing Plier Review – March 2015

Jay Nicholas fishing pliers review a

Fishing Pliers are part of my all day every day gear that have become second nature to carry, whether I’m on a lake fishing for hatchery trout, on a river swinging flies for steelhead, or out in a friend’s dory boat fishing the Pacific ocean.

Shown left to right above and below are images of my Hatch, Dr. Slick Typhoon, and Steeamworks Night Hawk fishing pliers.

Left to right - Hatch, Dr. Slick Typhoon, and Streamworks Night Hawk fishing pliers.

Left to right – Hatch, Dr. Slick Typhoon, and Streamworks Night Hawk fishing pliers.

First thing you should know is price.

Hatch Nomad Pliers: $280

Dr Slick Typhoon:  $59.95

Stream Works Night Hawk: $59.95

Simms Plier:  159.95 (Not pictured.)

I have used all but the Simms over the course of the last year.  The Typhoon are the newest Dr. Slick Plier and I have only used it a month or so.

Here is the thing about fishing pliers.  You get what you pay for, they all work reasonably well, and the only bad fishing pliers are the set you leave at home in your rush to get on the water (or the pliers you drop overboard in a thousand feet of water).

I have fished all of my pliers hard, I do not clean them after use, and they take a real beating.

My well used Stream Works Night Hawk Pliers

My well used Stream Works Night Hawk Pliers

My stream works pliers are still covered with dry blood from Albacore caught offshore last September.  There is corrosion that would have been avoided if I had but rinsed the pliers after each saltwater use.  That said, the Night Hawk Plers work very well, they have the longest reach (handy at times) and have been entirely satisfactory.  I do wish the handles did not stick up quite as high in the holster, but it works none the less. If you fish at night the LED light in these pliers are a huge help.  The batteries are replaceable, and this unusual feature does come in handy at times.

Dr Slick Typhoon Plier for fishing application

Dr Slick Typhoon Plier for fishing application

My Typhoon Pliers are the latest Heavy Duty fishing Pliers offered by Dr. Slick, they are stout, the cutters are on the side of the plier, making them easy to see to use, and the set comes complete with spare jaw liner and cutters, a very nice feature. The nose of these pliers is a little shorter so if you need a long reach, these might not be your best choice.  Otherwise, they are sturdy, function well, fit well in the sheath, and are an overall great value in a good fishing plier.

The Simms Plier is one I have not used yet, but priced between the 60 buck and 280 buck price points, this 160 buck plier carries the SIMMS reputation and feels good in hand.  I’m likely to get a set of these for use at sea in 2015, but I have every confidence that this is very good  fishing plier, because SIMMS never compromises on quality.

Hatch Nomad Fishing Plier

Hatch Nomad Fishing Plier

My Hatch pliers are spendy but are hands down my favorite.  This probably just proves that I’ve been brainwashed by the Fly Fishing Military Industrial Complex, but everything about these pliers (from the holster, the lanyard, the clip attaching the lanyard, the fit of the holster on my SIMMS wading belt, the heft of the plier, the cutters, the mid-length of the nose, and the materials add up to a superior (duh) product.

Jay Nicholas Hatchbfishing pliers review a

If you are a gear nut like me and can afford it, I recommend the Hatch fishing Plier.

For normal people, the Stream Works and Dr. Slick pliers are very good tools that will give good service  – and once you get your first set of fishing pliers you will begin to develop your own biases and opinions about these must have tools.

The SIMMS Plier is nestled in the middle between high and low end fishing pliers.  Consider these as a mid-range option that merits a serious look, as I will be doing in 2015.

Jay Nicholas, March 2015, and I’d be pleased to answer specific questions about any of these fishing pliers.


Posted in Fly Fishing Gear Review | Leave a comment

Jigged Nymphs: field trial and approval

Jay Nicholas Jigged barbless nymph

Just a quick few thoughts on a series of mostly barbless jigged nymphs currently available at the Caddis fly shop.

Many of you blog readers know that I am fond of fishing a small coastal lake near our family cabin in Pacific city, and I have mentioned on numerous occasions that hatchery trout will often respond well to bead head nymphs under the smallest possible strike Indicator.

I was in the Shop a week ago and noticed a new variety (to me) of very nice looking bead head nymphs tied on mostly barbless jig hooks. These looked really good to me and I purchased several flies in several forms and took them to the water.

Jay Nicholas jigged barbless nymphsThis is a sample of the flies I tested on two days this past week.  All produced, but the smaller darker flies produced the best for me.

Bottom line: these flies work well and are easy on the trout too.

I fished these on RIO Fluorocarbon 5x and 6x tippets of about 4-6 ft below my smallest size thingmabobber.  Larger indicators work too but these trout are not large yet (8-10″) and are capable of taking and spitting a fly so quickly that it is difficult to detect the strike,, so the smaller and more sensitive the indicator is the more effective it will be.  6 ft is for the sunny hours of the day, 3-4 ft is for when the shade is on the water.

The patterns I found most useful were as follows:

Jigged Hares Ear

Jigged CDC PT

Jigged Prince

euro Jig Nymph

As far as size goes, I would emphasize # 12s and #14s but also carry larger sizes just in case.

Will these jigged nymphs work well in the Mckenzie and other rivers?  I bet they will.  Many of the fish are hooked in the upper portion of the jaw and were easy to release, the hooks are sharp and the trout loved to chew my offerings.

Final thoughts.  fine leaders do increase the number of takes you will get on any fly.  These hatchery fish tend to be fairly forgiving for the first few days after they are stocked, but become increasingly more selective and quirk as the days roll on.

Is this a gimmick?  I think not.  These are well tied effective flies that fish very well under a strike indicator.  Give ‘em a try and see what you think.

Jay Nicholas March 21, 2015




Posted in Fly Fishing Gear Review, Oregon Weekend Fishing Forecast, Proven Spring Fly Patterns | 2 Comments

Cedar Lodge 2014/15 Season Wrap Up

fly fishing the south island cedar lodge

Frosty nights have arrived on the South Island and our season is coming to an end shortly. Beautifully clear cold nights with Red Stags roaring and the Southern Cross in full view make it tough to leave.

cedar-lodge-flyfishing-new zealand

brown trout central otago

This years Cedar Lodge season has been busy beyond our expectations. We have seen many old friends and met many new ones we hope to see again.

guided fly fishing new zealand

fly fishing the south island

Todd Moen of Catch Magazine spent some time filming for an upcoming issue, stay tuned for that.

heli fishing new zealand

catch magazine cedar lodge

Shop manager Bryson and wife Tanya came down and enjoyed some nice weather. After our chef left for the season Bryson auditioned for a future position at Cedar and made the best fish and chips we’ve ever had!


Hooked up @cedarlodge

See everyone very soon!

Posted in Fly Fishing Travel | 1 Comment

Black & Pink “Intruder” Fly

Great lakes Baitfish Articulated Shank "Intruder"

Black & Pink “Intruder”

So, lets get one thing straight, right from the git-go:  this fly is NOT an Intruder.  Not in my opinion anyway.  What an Intruder really is or is not is probably best decided by the beholder, and many people have come to believe whole heatrtedly that a really humongous wad of material lashed onto one or more shanks with a stinger hook can be considered to be an Intruder, but having just published a book on Intruders (ha ha), I’d like to respectfully disagree.

I’ve been tying Intruder-style flies for the last 4 months straight, pretty much tying nothing but what people might call Intruders.  Unlike some of my more experienced steelhead and salmon fly fisher friends, I am not an authority on the Intruder.  But I’ve been diligently researching and watching videos and reading blogs and talking to people, and have come to form my own opinion about flies that merit the label Intruder.  Many of the flies I tied in the early phases of tying and photographing step by step images of flies under construction were eventually discarded after months of effort.

Discarded not because the flies won’t catch fish, because I’m absolutely convinced they will, but because my own impression of an Intruder’s key features evolved over the course of deep immersion in the book project. So now I have some 300 or so very large flies tied on tubes and shanks that are perfectly good enticers to catch salmon and steelhead, and sixteen photo images of each fly, all in the figurative trash heap.  Take the fly above for example.  this is one good looking steelhead and salmon fly and it is even tied in an Intruder-like fashion, but the finished product lacks the distinction of visually separate thorax and butt sections, and that’s what I look for in a fly that I will now classify as an Intruder.

I could be correct or off the mark, but after tying over 300 flies, taking all the photos, and swimming the flies in bowls, sinks, bathtubs, swim tanks, and rivers, catching a few steelhead along the way, my opinions regarding the classification of Intruders has become far more stringent than when I started tying for the book. With over fifty years experience tying flies for trout, salmon, and steelhead – fishing for these magnificent creatures all the way, I have some pretty well developed instincts regarding the character of flies that will catch these fish.

The only feature lacking in this fly is the ability to maintain clear distinction between butt and thorax sections of the fly.  It all comes together well and good, and the fly will certainly catch salmon and steelhead of epic proportion, but underwater, with the river’s flow, this fly will take on the appearance of one large fly, rather than two.  The fish won’t care, they will eat the darn thing anyway, but it won’t be featured in my book Intruder Essentials, because it doesn’t meet my self-imposed standards.  Silly, I agree, but taking to the river to fish with a fly rod is a silly venture too, so I guess I’m in good company. Continue reading

Posted in Fly Tying, Fly Tying Materials and Supplies | 2 Comments

2015 NW FFF Expo – a Great Success!

Be forewarned that I was not attending as a reporter and this will not be anything like a systematic and rational recapitulation of a most excellent event that transpired Friday and Saturday, March 13 & 14, at the 2015 IFFF Expo, in Albany Oregon.

I was there both days and had a good time, reconnecting randomly with friends I haven’t seen in years. If you make it to the end of this post you will see a tiny slice of history dredged up as a consequence of my visit with an old friend.  Long time friend.  Ok, Old and longtime friend.

From a reporting standpoint, my behavior was reprehensible, because I just relaxed and wandered randomly, except for a ten minute period when I was on “assignment”.  All I had to do, for sure, if nothing else, was to take pictures of three of the fly tyers who will be featured in Modern Steelhead Flies, a long anticipated and nearing fruition book by Rob Russell and me, due for release in fall 2015!  Rob gave me the assignment and I took my best camera, but look at what I got!

Brian Silvey at 2015 IFFF Expo in Albany, Oregon

Brian Silvey at 2015 IFFF Expo in Albany, Oregon

Nick Rowell at 2015 IFFF Expo in Albany, Oregon

Nick Rowell at 2015 IFFF Expo in Albany, Oregon

Bruce  Berry at 2015 IFFF Expo in Albany, Oregon

Bruce Berry at 2015 IFFF Expo in Albany, Oregon

I sent the photos to Rob and he was not entirely convinced that I had adequately imaged these fine fly tiers.  I think he’s just being overly critical.  Ha ha. I did get a few great photos and Modern Steelhead Flies will be KILLER, so look forward to it by year’s end!

Mission accomplished, I continued to variously wander and sit to chat with people.

In completely random fashion, here are some photos I snapped.

Monica and Moon were at the show!

Monica and Moon were at the show!

Nick Wheeler ties a great fly.

Nick Wheeler ties a great fly.

Rear end view of great steelhead fly.

Rear end view of great steelhead fly.

Garren Wood ties classic steelhead flies.

Garren Wood ties classic steelhead flies.

Lisa with steelhead fly in SIMMS ball cap.

Lisa with steelhead fly in cap.

Jeff Hickman Loves Wild Steelhead.

Jeff Hickman Loves Wild Steelhead.

Trey Combs contemplates the joys of book authorship and publication.

Trey Combs contemplates the joys of book authorship and publication.

Frank Moore and Dwight Klemin at IFFF 2015 Expo.

Frank Moore and Dwight Klemin at IFFF 2015 Expo.

Oregon Bob Hooton and Jay Nicholas with 3 BC steelhead, 1984. Third steelhead and pushing button on Oregon Bob's camera by BC Bob Hooton.

Oregon Bob Hooton and Jay Nicholas with 3 BC steelhead, 1984. Third steelhead and pushing button on Oregon Bob’s camera by BC Bob Hooton. Note black rubber hip boots on Jay and Seal Dri waders on Bob. Rod is a prototype switch rod.

This was a wonderful two days.  Friends Jack and John Harrell came over from Pacific City to see the event, I met new and old friends, people tied flies like crazy,vendors sold stuff, stories were told, and promises were issued to fish and tie and visit and so forth.

This Expo has been going on for something over a quarter century (27 yrs as noted in the brochure).  Anyone who has attended knows what fun it is, and the Expo funds conservation minded projects and brings attention to worthy causes.

Lisa and I visited with our dear friends Frank and Jeanne Moore, and Frank, in full uniform from WW II era was swamped with friends and admirers.

Not many people know that the McKenzie Fly fishers “provided insertion and leadership to the FFF throughout the 50 year history of the FFF. ”

Ok. That is the random recap.  Thanks for your patience.

Jay Nicholas, March 15 2015

Posted in Classes and Instruction, Fly Tying, Oregon Fly Fishing Clubs and Events | 2 Comments

Midwest Warmwater Fly Tying Series: The Chubby Chaser

This is the first in a series of fly tying videos by Oregon Fly Fishing Blog’s Matt and Nate Stansberry. Based in Cleveland, the Stansberry brothers are fly fishing the backwaters of Lake Erie and the other Great Lakes for four species of bass, and some toothier predators.

This fly in particular is called the Chubby Chaser. It’s a spun deerhair bass bug designed to be fished on a sinking line on deep structure. The fly floats or suspends off the bottom. Try these in white, black, or other color combinations for any warmwater predators.

The bucktail provides bulk and length without adding a lot of weight or drag when casting. Shape the head conically for a minnow profile. Think slider, rather than diver. Also, the thicker you leave the head, the more buoyant this will be. Make sure you use the UV materials when possible — we can’t recommend this stuff enough.

Matt fishes this fly on a fully sinking six-weight line just above the rockpiles in 20 feet of water.

FLY RECIPE: The Chubby Chaser
Hook: Gamakatsu B10S size 1/0
Thread: UniThread 6/0 white
Tail: White Bucktail
Flash: Micro Opal Mirage Flashabou
Body: UV Polar Chenille, Pearl
Collar: Marabou, white
Head: Deer belly hair

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

Update on pacific City Lingcod Fly Fishing March 10, 2015

The weather has been exceptional in terms of allowing my friends to launch their dory boats from the beach at Pacific City the last several weeks, and more good opportunities are close at hand. This means that we get to go out and entice big lingcod with a fly under ideal conditions: relatively small swell height, little current, and little or no wind drift.

Jay Nicholas lingcod Pacific City 031015 a

We have found lings in anywhere from 40 to over 90 ft of water lately, and have found willing takers to large 6-inch closers ever day we have been out.

One of the greatest challenges in the deep water fly fishery is not simply getting the fly down, but keeping it off the bottom.  It is key to get close to the bottom to get these kings, but if the fly and line lays on the bottom, it is not fishing, and it is likely to get hung up.  I lost six fly & leader rigs last time out and broke off the front of my fly line on one hang-up.

It helps to mark ten ft increments on fly lines above the shooting head, because this can help tune the depth one is fishing.  There are still variables that are difficult to gauge, like the angle of the line and resultant fly depth.  That said, it still helps to know how deep the water is at any given moment and know how much fly line is out of the rod tip.

It seemed that all of the lingcod I hooked last time out grabbed the fly just after I had pulled my fly off the bottom.  That told me that I was just above the bottom.  I suspect that my fly was laying on the bottom much of the time, but can’t be sure, and this is a tactical issue I am trying to resolve.  Fishing a heavy jig on mono allows one to feel the bottom each time the jig hits the reef.  With a fly and sinking fly line, you never know when your fly and line lay on the bottom, until you hang up and then you may or may not be able to pull your hook and line free.

Jay Nicholas Lingcod at pacific city 031015 c

Fly Rods for lingcod should be in the 8 to 10 wt range, and only very stout 8 wts should be put to the test.

Our best lines have been the AIRFLO 500 & 700 gr Big Game Depth Finder, RIO Leviathan 600 gr, AIRFLO Sniper Custom cut T-14, and RIO  Outbound Custom Cut T-14. All of these have been getting us down easily in the 40 ft zone and all make it to the bottom in the 80 to 100 ft depth zone, which is not possible with lighter lines.

Leader: I have been using the RIO Alloy Hard leader, keeping my leader in the 3 ft length range and going with 20 lb test straight leader (not tapered). Heavier leader might be OK but the strain can be tough on any fly line except the AIRFLO BIG GAME or RIO Leviathan, because those two lines have exceptionally strong leader cores and can take the stress of breaking 20 or 30 lb leaders.

Jay Nicholas lingcod Pacific City 031015 b


Jay Nicholas Lingcod fly 031015 a

The best Clousers of late have been tied on Gamakatsu  SC15-2H 3/0 and 4/0hooks with Steve Farrar’s Blend materials including a hot orange belly with Bronze Back topping.



Effective ocean flies and fishing techniques are noted in my book, SEA Flies on Amazon.

Lingcod teeth are very abrasive and you should be checking your leaders after each fish.

Dory Charters that specialize in fly fishing are available via John Harrell at Pacific City Fly Fishing or by calling Jack Harrell at 541 921 1276.

Hope you get a chance to get out there soon, these fish fight hard and make for excellent table fare.

Jay Nicholas – March 10, 2015


Posted in Fishing Reports, Oregon Saltwater Fishing | 9 Comments

Native Fish Society 2015 Banquet

Saturday, April 11 2015, the Native Fish Society, wild fish supporters, and over 100 generous donors will come together under the big top at Montgomery Park in Portland, OR to create the largest wild fish fundraiser/party in the universe.

Here are some short film clips of some of the flies donated to the cause.

2015 Auction Flies – Michael McLean from Native Fish Society on Vimeo.

Auction Flies – Ed Filice from Native Fish Society on Vimeo.

The Benefit Banquet + Auction features over 150 items auctioned in three different categories: live, super silent and silent. Our silent and super silent items are auctioned off first, during a two hour silent auction. Super silent items are distinguished from silent items by their increased value and/or rarity. Typically, there are 125 items in these two categories.

21 Live items will be auctioned off during the live auction portion of the night, concurrent with a delicious dinner, award ceremony and festivities.

Over the coming weeks NFS will be updating this page with this year’s auction items — don’t be alarmed if you don’t see all 150 items — some will remain a surprise until the night of the event.

Posted in Oregon Conservation News | Leave a comment

Bluebacks Canoe Raffle

The Blueback Chapter of Trout Unlimited is holding a raffle for a one-of-a-kind handmade canoe valued at over $1500 with proceeds going to benefit steelhead monitoring and habitat restoration efforts in the Siletz Basin. The canoe measures 14’6″ in length and is made of redwood and cedar strips that have been covered with fiberglass cloth and epoxy resin for strength and coated with Man of War spar varnish for UV protection. A canoe seat can be installed but a true canoeist kneels and paddles from that position. This canoe is very silent on the water and glides easily and straight with each stroke. This canoe has never been on the water, however the first one built spent many hours on the water and easily carried 250 pounds.


The canoe was handmade by a Roseburg-based Casting for Recovery cancer survivor and her husband. Texas-based Trout Unlimited National Leadership Council Chairman and Board of Trustees member Mick McCorkle purchased the canoe in a Casting for Recovery auction and then donated it to the Bluebacks. Needless to say, the canoe is saturated with good mojo and is bound to bring the winner untold joy and fortune.

Only 100 tickets will be sold for this raffle at $20 each. The drawing for the canoe will be held on Saturday, March 14th at the Albany Fly Tier Expo in Albany, OR. The canoe will be available for viewing both days of the Expo, Friday and Saturday, March 13th and 14th at the Trout Unlimited booth. For more information and pictures of the canoe, go to

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

Fox’s Poopah Fly Tying Video

Tony Torrence demonstrates how to tie another fish catching creation from the vise of Tim Fox. Fox’s Poopah is perfect blend of flash and a realistic outline of an active Caddis Pupa. Simply said, if there are active Caddis on your waters, match the size and color, and fish on!

Fox’s Poopah

Hook: TMC 3761 14-18

Thread: Brown 12/0 Veevus
Bead: Gold Cyclops
Rib: Small Copper Ultra Wire
Body: Veevus Pearl Mylar Tinsel Tan Ultra Chenille
Hackle: Hungarian Partridge Hackle fibers
Antennae: 2 Teal or Wood Duck Flank fibers
Head: Black Ostrich Herl, Peacock Herl
Comment: May be tied in numerous colors to match hatch

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