Best Local Flies Spring 2015

It’s the general trout season opener this weekend. While many folks have been enjoying some fine fishing on the lower McKenzie everything else opens up Saturday morning!

The following is a list of fly patterns that have been effective this spring and will continue to fool fish throughout April and May.

Flies for the McKenzie

The Purple Parachute has worked well during March Brown and Blue Winged Olive hatches. It’s also been a solid searching pattern(good general dry fly) much like a parachute Adams.

Flies for the McKenzie

The Glitter Soft Hackle has been deadly during cloudy and rainy conditions, imitating emerging mayflies and caddis flies. Fish this fly on the swing.

Flies for the McKenzie

On warmer days Golden Stones have been present and fishing the Golden Rollin Stone alone or as a dry to hold up a dropper nymph is an excellent tactic.

Flies for the McKenzie

The Foam Elk Hair Caddis is a solid performer from April through July. One of the best all around dry fly patterns to have in your box.

Flies for the McKenzie

The Soft Hackle Hare’s Ear is another solid down and across swing fly. Great for those cloudy and rainy days. This one can be fished behind a dry fly as well.

Flies for the McKenzie

The Tungsten Trout Retriever will help you get down near the bottom in some of the faster runs on the McKenzie, Willamette and Deschutes. It will help drag down a smaller dropper nymph as well.

Flies for the McKenzie

Swung, dead drift or just flopped out in the flow, the Mega Prince just works!

Flies for the McKenzie

“Hall of Famer” Again swing it hang it under a dry, drag it etc.. The Possie Bugger catches fish on 6 of 7 continents.

Flies for the McKenzie

Let’s not forget a classic dry fly. The Parachute Adams in a variety of sizes needs to be in your fly box. With the incredibly low water we are having you might see Green Drakes in April. The Parachute Adams in various sizes will cover you.

Flies for the McKenzie

The Green McKenzie Caddis emergence is developing and should blossom in next weeks heat.  Actively “jig” “twitch” “skitter” this pattern while on the swing and look for smashing takes.

Flies for the McKenzie

The Jigged Prince has been deadly under a dry or with a larger Golden Stone nymph. It’s quick decent and “hook point up” during the drift keep it close to the bottom but not hung up.

Flies for the McKenzie

Our new favorite. A variation on the old faithful Hare’s Ear. Fish it under a Green Caddis or Golden Stone pattern.

Flies for the McKenzie

Another killer nymph to fish either with a larger bug off an indicator or under a dry.

Flies for the McKenzie

Missing Link Caddis fishes well during caddis hatches and is a solid all around dry fly when you have picky fish rising anytime.

Flies for the McKenzie

The Half Down Golden is a great Stonefly dry to hold up the nymphs I mention above. It’s also a winner on the Deschutes during the Stonefly Hatch.

Flies for the McKenzie

The Green McKenzie Caddis or locally know as the McKenzie Special is one of the best flies on the McKenzie and Willamette during the months of April and May.

Posted in Fishing Reports, Lower Willamette, McKenzie River, Middle Fork Willamette River fishing, Oregon Fly Fishing Tips | Leave a comment

Middle Fork of the Willamette River Report April 2015

Middle Fork of the Willamette Fly Fishing

We floated from Greenwaters Park on the East side of the Oakridge township down to Black Canyon campground this past Tuesday. Fishing was fair. Using hopper dropper rigs with Golden Stone adult patterns and HDA Fav Variant Jigged Nymphs we caught fish on the surface and deep. We had success using indicator nymph rigs and caught fish on Golden Stone nymph patterns and Jigged Pheasant Tail nymphs as well.

Middle Fork of the Willamette Fly Fishing

I knew the water would be low but my goodness! Not only is there very little water being released out of Hills Creek Dam (approx 340 CFS) but tributaries like Salt and Salmon Creek are very very low. Overall the flow on the Middle Fork of the Willamette near Oakridge is well below what we might expect in late July.

Middle Fork of the Willamette Fly Fishing

On the plus side wading anglers have innumerable gravel bars to easily access the waters of the Middle Fork and this is not likely to change in the next 4 months. If you want to have a nice walk and wade fishing day give the middle fork a shot.

Here are just a few ideas for anglers looking to wade the middle fork.

1. Park at Black Canyon Campground and start fishing upstream. It’s so low you will easily cross the river to the large island at the upstream end of the campground.

2. Turn hard left after you pass the green metal bridge about 1 mile prior to Oarkridge “Ferrin” boat launch. Fish upstream from this local.

3. From Greenwaters park walk down the true right bank and fish all the water downstream from the conflueence of Salmon Creek.

Middle Fork of the Willamette Fly Fishing

Posted in Fishing Reports, Middle Fork Willamette River fishing | Leave a comment

Return to Malhuer 2015

Mal 1 2015

Headed out to Eastern Oregon this past week with binoculars and my fly rod. My wife and I joined a hearty group of bird watchers for our third year at the Malheur Field Station.

Mal 5 2015

We saw many Sand Hill Cranes this trip. Probably the most we have seen over the past years. This one was an easy picture; he walked across the road in front of our car!

Mal 4 2015

The volume of birds was less than previous years, but we did come much earlier than the past years.

Mal 3 2015

Another issue this year impacting not only the birds, is a severe Eastern Oregon drought. Governor Kate Brown has declared a drought emergency in Malheur and Lake counties due to dry conditions, low snowpack, and lack of precipitation.

Mal 9 2015

From the Governors declaration: “Projected forecasts for Malheur and Lake counties look bleak, meaning these rural communities will continue to experience severe drought conditions,” Governor Brown said. “In addition to creating an increased wildfire risk, this drought presents hardships to crops, agriculture, communities, recreation, and wildlife, all of which rely on Oregon’s water resources. I will continue working with federal, state, and local partners to help Oregonians in this part of the state through this challenging situation.”

Last year, water was very apparent. This year, we had to go looking for water. The only good news, less water equaled more birds in one place.

Mal 7 2015

Even with dry conditions, the great basin serves as a good place to find Golden Eagles. We were very fortunate to have been shown an eagle nest, said to have been used for many, many, years hidden away on a remote cliff side.

Mal 8 2015

Mal 6 2015

From the ODFW Blitzen River report:

” The Blitzen River has been flowing between 90 and 100 cfs with water temperatures around 8oC. Recent precipitation in the Steens Mountain area has caused the river to rise and become slightly murky at times.

Recent reports indicate that fishing around the Page Springs Campground has been productive and fish have been taking dry flies when a mid-day hatch is present. Anglers have also had some success swinging weighted streamers. The Blitzen River around Page Springs is a good year-round trout fishery, offering amazing scenery and the chance to catch redband trout up to 20 inches.

The East Canal, Bridge Creek, main stem Blitzen above Bridge Creek and the Little Blitzen River are open for catch-and-release fishing for trout. Anglers willing to hike/bike the 3 miles into Bridge Creek have reported good success near the lower canyon. The South Loop Road is still closed for the winter (generally opens near the end of April), which limits access to the upper portions of the Blitzen.”

The Blitzen River never got to see my fly rod this trip. But, fishing was not the priority. Family, Friends, Nature, and the good earth are the priority.


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

McKenzie River Wooden Boat Festival This Saturday


Celebrating the history, the form and the function of the wooden white water boat that was invented here on McKenzie River.

Held on the lawns of Eagle Rock Lodge from 10am until 5pm in the afternoon. View over fifty wooden white water boats designed for the McKenzie River and now used on white water rivers all over the world.

Admission is free. Lunch concessions are on site with proceeds going to the McKenzie River Guides Association.

49198 McKenzie Highway, Milepost 34.5

Posted in McKenzie River, Oregon Fly Fishing Clubs and Events, Oregon fly fishing links | Leave a comment

North Oregon Coast Saltwater Fishing Report April 2015

I’m going to keep this post short, and let the fun featured in the short movie speak for itself. These scenes were shot over a consecutive period of two days by John or Jack Harrell, while they were hosting me in John’s dory Gold comet, launched from the beach into the surf at Pacific City in mid April.

On the first day we had only one popper rod, Jack’s, and he graciously caught one black sea bass and asked if I would like to fish his rod while he filmed. Yes I would thank you very much. I had the good fortune to be on the ocean three days straight, two in Gold Comet and one in Ed and Kevin’s dory (as yet unnamed).

First day saw the bass gorging on crab spawn and a fair number taking the poppers; each crushing take was glorious.

Days two and three saw the bass taking both crab spawn and big anchovies (5-6”) so they were far more receptive to the Popper and Gurgler than when they only had the crab spawn to eat.

Day two was the best of the three with an extended period when John and I hooked roughly two dozen nice black rockfish on Poppers and Gurglers. There was no objective measurable or anecdotal difference in the bass’ receptivity to John’s Popper versus my Gurgler, but I am convinced that my fly is the better of the two (ha ha).

On Day three – Ed, Rob, and I went a little farther north of Haystack Rock (one of several in Oregon) to fish for lingcod after the bass ceased taking poppers and we found lings just over thirty inches willing to take our flies. To be clear, not all the lingcod were in the 30” size class, because several were rather small but still feisty.

Fly rod Lingcod comes to the dory.

Fly rod Lingcod comes to the dory.

At one point during the morning, I was having fun slowly lowering my Clouser down into the water beside the boat and watching black rockfish flash on the fly just as it was going out of sight, perhaps at 8-10 ft deep. One flash was a much larger fish and I felt the heavy pull of a lingcod and saw it do a slow back and forth shake before it spit my hook.

Ed Bowles and Jay Nicholas with fly rod lingcod.

Ed Bowles and Jay Nicholas with fly rod lingcod.

We fished rods in weights from 5 (Poppers) to 10 (lingcod).

Fly lines are crucial in these situations. Very good fly lines to fish Poppers include the RIO Outbound Short Floater; the Airflo Sniper Floater, and the Wulff Ambush floater. A short aggressive front head with slim running line characterizes all of these lines. These lines are great to get the Popper or Gurgler out to the bass with only one or two back casts, so you maximize fishing time.

Leaders? Maxima Ultragreen is a dependable standby. I am a fan of RIO Alloy Hard tippet material because it is super abrasion resistant. The material is stiffer than the Maxima and has a larger diameter for each line class, but I have found it a dependable performer for rockfish and lingcod and it stands up to the abrasive teeth better than any leader in its strength rating. Do NOT use tapered trout leaders for this fishing!. I tried and believe me that a sea bass will cut you off using OX trout leader about as fast as you can say oooops!

At present I’m waiting for the surf to lay down so we can get off the beach and fish again. Meanwhile, there is still a little late winter steelhead and early spring Chinook action in north coast rivers and that is keeping me quite occupied, along with an occasional trip up to the town lake.

I hope you enjoyed the movie, and thanks to Chris for his editing.

John and Jack Harrell of Pacific City Fly Fishing.

John and Jack Harrell of Pacific City Fly Fishing.

John Harrell will be booking charters specializing in fly fishing in the ocean at Pacific City Fly Fishing.


Jay Nicholas
April 2015

Posted in Fishing Reports, Oregon Saltwater Fishing | 2 Comments

40th edition of Catch Magazine online, features Cedar Lodge, Pure New Zealand

If you haven’t checked out Catch Magazine #40, definitely go there now and subscribe. A one year subscription is $12 a year, or $2 an issue. It’s an incredible visual experience and costs less than a handful of trips to the coffee shack. Here’s a trailer for the latest video on Cedar Lodge by Todd Moen.

Also check out Catch Magazine on Instragram @catch_magazine and Facebook.

Posted in Fishing Porn | Leave a comment

Keep Nestle out of the Columbia River

From The Oregonian: The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife has agreed to trade its water rights at Oxbow Springs to pave the way for a Nestle bottled water plant in Cascade Locks.

Cascade Locks City Administrator Gordon Zimmerman said the city and the state wildlife agency jointly submitted paperwork Friday morning to initiate a water rights cross transfer, with the state trading spring water for the city’s well water.

The Columbia River Gorge city will then pass the spring water on to Nestle, which will bottle and sell it.

Nestle’s proposal to bottle 100 million gallons of Oxbow Springs water annually for sale throughout the Northwest has been controversial, with multiple environmental organizations, public health groups and unions protesting the deal.

They’ve been working on this since 2010. Background here:

What’s the problem with this plan? Well, the bottling plant could adversely affect migratory fish. Salmon and steelhead passing through the Lower Columbia to points and tributaries upriver often have to deal with high temperatures, and Herman Creek provides a cold water thermal refuge.

Check out this page for info on how to speak up about this.

Posted in Oregon Conservation News | Leave a comment

Upper McKenzie River logging proposal: Goose Island

The Goose Island Timber sale is back. The plan to log more than 2000 acres (including in a large unroaded area and century-old, never-before-logged forests) was successfully challenged in court in 2013. Unfortunately, the new analysis makes few changes to address concerns about impacts to threatened northern spotted owls and other wildlife, older forests, and areas eligible for Wilderness designation.

Upper McKenzie 2009

If you think the forests of the McKenzie River watershed should be protected and restored, not further degraded by intensive logging, please take a moment to send a comment letter to the Willamette National Forest and let them know you have concerns about the Goose Timber Sale Project.

Comment period wraps up on April 20th.

Posted in McKenzie River, Oregon Conservation News | 2 Comments

Lower McKenzie River Fly Fishing Report: Spring 2015

mckenzie river fly fishing

It was great to get back to my home waters this past week. The McKenzie is at “early summer” water levels and fishing is full on. We put in at Hayden Bridge around 10:45am and immediately noticed mayflies on the water and in the air. The lighter colored cousin of the March Brown was something between a PMD and the larger darker classic March Browns. Fish were largely ignoring the mayflies, and I was in full exploration mode so we stuck with nymphs in the deeper runs and drop-offs.

By 12:30 we were seeing enough bugs, both mayflies and caddis to park in a bit of broken water and fish to actively rising fish. Surface activity continued on until we took out at around 5pm.

rainbow trout lower mckenzie river

guided fly fishing on the mckenzie river

It was a bright and windy most of the day but each time the wind would lay down a bit the bugs and fish would become much more surface oriented. Although we did not catch any really big fish on the top we did have quite a bit of action. The most intense period of adult March Browns on the surface seemed to be between 2:30pm and 4pm. Fish were tuned in to both the emergent and adult forms of the March Brown during that window of time.

When we get some cloudy drizzly days in the coming days look for the hatch to be more concentrated and for larger fish to be more interested in heading to the top.

good flies for the mckenzie river in spring

Best flies for fishing the lower McKenzie include:
Parachute Purple Rooster 12,14
Parachute Adams 14,16
March Brown Klinkhammer 12,14
Jigged Pheasant Tail 12,14
Jigged Prince 10
UV Guide Caddis 14,16
Mercer’s Missing Link Caddis 14,16

Posted in Fishing Reports, McKenzie River | 1 Comment

“Brochure” Day at Cedar Lodge New Zealand

Heli Fly Fishing New ZEaland

This one got stuck in the post Que. Here we are in April already!

March can bring all types of weather to the South Island of New Zealand. As I write it’s cloudy and blowing 25 knots northwest, but every once in a while March brings you a “minter” a “cracker” of a day. A windless, clear forever day that is absolutely gorgeous. We had one of those perfect days this past Thursday and it happened to be one of those rare guides days out where those of us who have been watching and coaching all season got to make a few casts.

guided new zealand fly fishing

new zealand fly fishing lodges south island

new zealand fly fishing lodges

new zealand brown trout fly fishing

New Zealand Brown Trout Fly Fishing lodge

Heli fishing new zealand

Posted in Fly Fishing Travel | Leave a comment

Lower Mckenzie Report 4/8/15

LA 4

Caught a ride in Andrew’s boat and hit the lower Mckenzie this week. We were not disappointed. Anglers should look to the mid to late afternoon for hatches. We caught a massive black caddis hatch, followed by a brief March Brown hatch, around 3:00pm. The action was over a two hour period and ended as fast as it started. We did not get started until mid day

LA 3

These Lower Mckenzie piggy’s fell to an emerging march brown pattern. Andrew was having success with the missing link caddis pattern. The menu of the day was dries, and soft hackles. No Nymphing! Also, an assortment of cut throats were caught. Look to the faster water for the Redsides. It seemed like the cuts were in the “softer water”.

LA 2

With showers and cloud breaks forecasted for the weekend it should bring some rising fish for anglers. A special thanks to Andrew who rowed all day and allowed an old, grey haired, fat guy, to have a great day!


Posted in Fishing Reports, McKenzie River | 1 Comment

Lower McKenzie Fishing Well mid-day

Lower McKenzie River Wild Rainbow Trout

Lower McKenzie River Wild Rainbow Trout

Although I have remained focused on late run winter steelhead and lingcod in the coastal zone, I hear from the most reliable sources that the McKenzie has been fishing very well of late.

A quick conversation with Clay revealed some good info, which because I was using hands-free mode while driving, I then dictated the bare bones of a blog post to myself, as a reminder, so I could draft the post when I got home. Here is what I found on my computer, verbatim.

I quote:

Play entire efficient between harvest Lane and Hayden Bridge last week and in the middle of the day between 10 and four they found huge wrap some bluing dollars in the margins of the stream and big March Brown’s floating out in the middle River that excellent fishing all through the midday noontime time of day apparently. They used little bitten tiny cucumber peacock plasma  drive wise to use cat is soft tackles and then found many large brown soft tacos they also use purple Adams parachutes and size 14 and 16 and they used a some other March brown pattern that I will list when I draft the articles they had a great time the clients had a great time and I’m sorry I wasn’t there myself but this is the best I can do you can you should …….

End quote.

Ok, so much for auto spell correct.

Here is the real scoop on the McKenzie last week.

Clay and Ty did fish the McKenzie between harvest land and Hayden Bridge, and yes, there were huge rafts of BWOs (Blue Wing Olive mayflies) along the river margins with trout sipping these up while big hatches of March Browns went driving down the main current with trout taking sub surface and on top too. Guide clients were happy, as were the guides. Much activity from 10 AM to 4 PM pretty much non-stop. Varied selectivity on the part of the trout depending on whether fishing river margins and backwaters or main river riffles and runs.

Effective Flies:

#16 Peacock Caddis

#12-16 Hare’s Ear Soft Hackle

#12-16 Purple Adams Parachute

Spotlight March Brown Emerger

Spun Dun March Brown

Hi and Dry Western March Brown Parachute

BWO Cripple

Comparadun BWO

Hi Viz Parachute BWO

Nope, I wasn’t there, but if you have questions, please call the Shop and ask for the stories behind the stories. Far as I can tell, there were many trout caught and released, much fun had by all, and the river was teeming with bug and fish life.

Jay Nicholas for Clay, Ty, and the Caddis Fly Staff

Posted in Fishing Reports, McKenzie River | 4 Comments

Jay’s Unbiased Review of Hatch Outdoors Fly Reels and Gear

Hatch and Nautilus Fly reels on Echo, Scott, and Burkheimer fly rods.

Hatch and Nautilus Fly reels on Echo, Scott, Sage, and Burkheimer fly rods.

Unbiased?  I’ve sure got opinions about my Hatch reels and gear, based on personal use experience, and as such I’m probably not unbiased. For one thing, I can fish about any fly gear I wanted  –  and the choices out there are so numerous that it would be impossible for me to fish all the gear and then even more impossible for me to select the best of the best based on performance, because there are too many good reel manufacturers and I am not a super human gear evaluator, jus a regular guy who loves to fish and is capable of recognizing “good stuff” when I fish it. I like to be positive, and yes, I have fished some gear that was a disappointment, but I don’t have time or the inclination to write about disappointing products.

Why Hatch?  Put it another way, why not Tibor, Abel, Bauer, or Nautilus instead?  There is probably an element of chance and involved, pure and simple.  I hold the aforementioned fly reels in the highest esteem, and have fished all four.  Each of those fly reels performed at the highest level possible.  But at some point, my budget is limited, I have only one fly reel case, and I decided to go all in with one fly reel to fish and specialize with – and I picked the Hatch Finatic.  I love the wide range of reel sizes Hatch offers (as do most other reel manufacturers, but something about the Hatch heft, feel, drag, and sound won me over. I know several of the people who run the operation at Hatch, especially Andrew; these reels are made with the highest precision computer controlled machining and components.  The reels are tested and tested and then tested again.  I am an angler who is HARD on my gear and do little other than rinse them lightly under a hose after each use.  My reels bounce around in the dory.  One of my Hatch reels, an 11 Plus, survived an 8 ft drop from the overhead rod rack to the oak floor in our cabin without a dent or scratch.  Wouldn’t recommend this to anyone, just saying that these are tough fly reels, they sound delightful when an albacore is making a screaming run, and they have a highly dependable drag system that has never let me down.

If you are hoping for details about ball bearings, sealed drag systems, synthetic lubricants and disks, you had best move on, because I don’t really dig that jive.  I refuse to regurgitate technical details that I really don’t understand, but I can and will honestly report my experience fishing the Hatch products I have put to the test for the last several seasons.

All I’m going to do is show you a glimpse at the Hatch gear I’ve been using with a few comments.

Hatch 5 Plus Fly Reel.

Hatch 5 Plus Fly Reel.

My Hatch 5 Plus Finatic is lined with a Rio Streamer Tip 10 ft sink tip – ‘been fishing this one on an Echo Glass 4 wt switch rod for winter steelhead this season.  Plenty of backing for a 6 wt line and the reel took a serious workout in stride this winter.

Hatch Finatic 7 Plus Fly Reel.

Hatch Finatic 7 Plus Fly Reel.

This Hatch 7 Plus reel is strung with a RIO Striper line and hung on a Sage Xi3 rod that I fish for silvers in the ocean during the summer.  Again, excellent performance.

Hatch 9 Plus Fly Reel.

Hatch 9 Plus Fly Reel.

This Hatch 9 reel is currently in my Simms reel case, but is about to get mounted on my Burkheimer 995-4 to fish for spring Chinook.  Many fine memories with the fly reel and rod combination.

Hatch Finatic 11 Plus Fly Reel.

Hatch Finatic 11 Plus Fly Reel.

This Hatch 11 is mounted on a Scott Radian 9 wt rod, again, ready to fish Springers in the next month or so.  The reel is far larger than needed, so during albacore season, I line this reel with an Airflo Big Game 700 gr line and head out after tuna.  Salmon test this reel, but not like the tuna do, and it stands up to both species with high honors.

Hatch Finatic 11 Plus Fly Reel.

Hatch Finatic 11 Plus Fly Reel.

This hatch 11 Plus is equipped with a Hatch Tropical 500 gr line and is my back up when out fly fishing for lingcod.  Don’t be fooled by the term tropical, this is a great fly line for use here in our temperate waters offshore Oregon.  The 500 gr head gets it down almost as fast as the Airflo 700 gr line and in fact sometimes i fish this line if the kings are at 40 – 50 ft instead of at 80 – 100 ft depths.

Hatch Premium Backing.

Hatch Premium Backing.

Hatch Premium Backing. Best backing I have ever had the pleasure to fish.  Not slick and wiry like super braid, this PE is round, feels good, is fine diameter and sting at 68 lb test it is smaller than 20 lb Dacron and is round instead of flat.  I use this in situations when I need extra backing fishing for salmon, and especially for tuna.

Hatch Professional Series Saltwater Series Fluorocarbon Tippet.

Hatch Professional Series Saltwater Series Fluorocarbon Tippet.

Hatch Pro Series Saltwater Fluorocarbon.  This is the leader I fined for albacore tuna offshore last season (2014) and will fish again in 2015.  I fished #20 and #25 alternately and without rationale, and never lost an Albie to a bad knot with this material – and I fight fish hard.  My opinion regarding fluorocarbon was not all that good until I fished this material.  I am now completely confident in this specific brand of Fluoro, and am ready to rig my tuna and silver lines with this leader again in 2015.

10 & 12 pound Hatch Fluorocarbon Tippet.

10 & 12 pound Hatch Fluorocarbon Tippet.

I have always been a Maxima Ultragreen guy up until I fished this material overwinter.  Now I’m convinced that using Fluoro brought me more grabs in ultra clear low flows and I found this material totally trustworthy.  In the past I always downgraded the listed strength of Fluoro but I now consider this material every bit as dependable as maxima, but finer diameter and probably less visible to the steelies.

Hatch Tropical fly lines - Intermediate and 400 gr sink tips.

Hatch Tropical fly lines – Intermediate and 400 gr sink tips.

Hatch Tropical Fly Lines. Again, I’m not one to be deterred by the phrase “tropical” and I fished these two Hatch fly lines last season for silvers and Albacore, with pure satisfaction.  The Intermediate is a great line for bucktailing silvers offshore.

Hatch Nomad Pliers.

Hatch Nomad Pliers.

Hatch Nomad Pliers, my favorite of favorites.

Hatch Nomad Pliers, my favorite of favorites.

Hatch Nomad Pliers.  These stood up to the harsh of an ocean environment with no maintenance the entire summer season.  Superior pliers, leather holster, lanyard, clip, cutter jaws, and grip surface.  Are there other good pliers out there?  Of course.  Am I extremely fond of these?  Yes.

From fly reels, tippets, lines, pliers, and ball caps (don’t have one yet), I count on my Hatch fishing gear and trust it to perform under the harshest of conditions.  I fished one of these reels a few years ago when I went to the Upper Dean River in BC, fishing Spey rods for summer steelhead.  Yep.  Exquisite performance.

Count on Hatch for superior products and absolutely flawless quality.

Jay Nicholas, April 2015



Posted in Fly Fishing Gear Review | 5 Comments

Redsides meeting tonight: Owyhee River

Our local TU Chapter, The Redsides, are hosting their April meeting tonight.

April Meeting News
Monday, April 6th
Izzy’s Pizza
1930 Mohawk Boulevard
Springfield, OR 97477


The general meeting will be held at 7:00pm – 9:00pm, and is open to the public.

The board meeting will follow the general meeting after a short recess. All TU members are welcome to attend the board meeting.
This month’s presentation is “The Owyhee River” by Monica Mullen

Join us as Monica recounts years of fishing the Owyhee River including landscapes, bugs, fish porn and other “cool stuff”.
There will also be a raffle held at the meeting for a prize worth at least $50.

One free raffle ticket to each person attending the meeting.

Additional tickets available for $2.00 each or 3 for $5.00.

Additionally, there are now two board seats open, Treasurer, and Board Member At Large. Nominations will be taken for both seats at this general meeting and we will have a vote.

Hope to see you there!

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

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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