Fair Flies Trailer Rigs Fly Tying Video Demonstration

In this video Jay shows us how to utilize the new Fair Flies Trailer Rig Kits. These are super solid for both fresh and saltwater.

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October Caddis Season is already here!


I know it’s early but this fall fishing season is upon us. The weather has changed considerably, salmon are spawning early, Grey Drakes, Blue Winged Olives and even October Caddis have been seen on the McKenzie and Willamette Rivers.

oc caddis dry 007 copy

It’s time to start thinking about fall caddis patterns. While there are many species of caddis that emerge throughout the fall, none are more important and more exciting to fish than the October Caddis.

Below is a list of patterns to stock up on this fall.


Morrish Foam October Caddis – A favorite foam pattern, sits low floats great.
Bird’s Octoberfest Caddis – A new super floater, great for hanging mid sized droppers from.
CDC Orange Caddis – smaller caddis pattern with great action on the water.
J’s Hi Tie October Caddis – Hi Vis triple winged foam body caddis pattern.


October Phat Ass – Heavy Pupae pattern great for steelhead and trout.
Anderson’s Bird of Prey – A favorite pattern over the past few seasons.
Carnazzo’s Stick Caddis – Super cool lighter pattern that will fish near shore.
Bead Head October Caddis – the classic October Caddis pupae, fish it deep or swung.

Posted in Fishing Reports, McKenzie River, Middle Fork Willamette River fishing, Oregon Fly Fishing Tips | 1 Comment

Images of a few albacore flies from Pacific City

Nothing fancy here, I wanted to post images of some of the flies that we have fished successfully for Pacific albacore in the 2019 season. I am hoping for many more tuna days to follow, but with the challenges of launching a dory off the beach at Pacific City coupled with the variable and oftentimes challenging offshore weather and sea conditions, we can not count on  the future of this or any season.

Jay Nicholas albacore flies from early August 2019

Anyway, here follows photos of the flies I have fished this season.

Jay Nicholas albacore flies from mid August 2019

Jay Nicholas Albacore flies from late August 2019


Jay Nicholas the smallest hot tuna fly of 20-19

Some of these flies  are or will be described in our fly tying videos, and some can be appreciated by examining the photos for general color, conformation, and size.

Thank you for your patience and may you have many safe and enjoyable days on the water.


August 2019

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McKenzie River Fishing Report September 2019

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Fall weather has kicked in and trout fishing on the McKenzie is fantastic.

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Best patterns are: Parachute Adams, Half Down Golden, Purple Para Rooster, Grey Drakes, Possie Buggers, Pheasant Tails, and Blue Winged Olives.

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The Lower McKenzie has plenty of water to run. Hendricks to Hayden is largely clear of snags, left channels are passable. The upper river is a perfect height and insect activity is increasing daily.

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Enjoy the fall!

Posted in Fishing Reports, McKenzie River, Oregon Fly Fishing Tips | Leave a comment

Jay Nicholas’ Olive Glass Bead Damsel Fly

Author and fly tyer, Jay Nicholas stopped by the shop to tie an Olive Glass Bead Damsel Fly.

In the spring and summer when the lakes fish best, damsel flies can be a rich and plentiful food source for trout and other still water species. In different colors such as olive, blue, and green you can easily adapt this fly to match your specific hatch.

Much like a Wooly Bugger, this fly uses a palmered hackle and a counter wrapped wire. Using a glass bead instead of brass or tungsten allows the fly to sink slower giving you more control in shallower depths (4-6ft.) where you’d most likely be fishing these flies.


Hook: TMC 5262 Size 8
Thread: Lagartun 150 Green
Tail: Olive Wooly Bugger Marabou Shortened
Body: UW Fine Cooper Wire
SLF Dubbing Olive
Hareline Ice Dub Olive
Hackle: Grizzly Hackle Chartreuse-Palmered

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Tuna Madness in Pacific City

Tuna Madness

That’s the best way I know of to describe the mood that sets in here in Pacific City when ocean conditions seem on the cusp of opening a window to the tuna grounds offshore.

The ice machines all over town and at the Pizza Parlor are suddenly empty. There are dorys backed up to get fuel at the Shell station in PC – and the gas station at Sand Lake is backed up filling 5 gallon tanks of non-ethanol fuel for spares that will be hauled offshore on dory boats.

The town is a-buz with talk of tuna. What are the coordinates of the temperature break? Where are the chlorophyll breaks? How did the charters out of Depoe Bay do yesterday? Does anyone know how far offshore the commercial boats are fishing. Will the birds be working bait to advertise the presence of albacore underneath? Will there be jumpers? Will it be clones or jigs?

Who’s going out tomorrow? Who will be partnering and what VHF channel will buddy boats use? Will we need to run 20 miles or 30, 4-0, or 50? Has anyone found bigger tuna in green water, short of the blue water.

Heads spinning, men (mostly) are loading boats with ice, kill bags, bait, rods, and freshly tuned tackle.

Times of morning rendezvous are established.

Most of the tuna fishers are awake early, and some hardly sleep at all. Tension runs high when the possibility of tuna is ripe.

Jay Nicholas The Beach on a Tuna day

Some dory boats wait in the parking lot at the Pelican to wait for partner boats. Many run straight down the ramp and position to launch in the dark. Depending on the forecast, there may be trailers parked clear up to the south end of the ramp, but if it looks like it will be an especially rough day, there may be two dozen boats willing to brave the seas offshore in 20-22 ft boats – many of which may be nearly fifty years old and constructed of plywood powered by outboards in the 75-90 hp range.

Jay Nicholas Dory Staging on a Tuna day

The launch executed, dorys inch forward, usually to rendezvous with partners north of the Rock or the Buoy. With radio checks executed and partners accounted for, each small fleet revs up and heads east, or south east, or north east – on track to their pre-determined coordinates, hoping to find eager tuna on the bite.

I have asked several of my dory friends – what percentage of all dory owners fish albacore? The answers I get are usually around 10%. This confirms my opinion that few people have the – whatever it takes – to commit to the tuna game. It takes more of everything to pursue this fishery. More expense. More ice. More gas. Different tackle. Longer runs to the fishing grounds. More danger from adverse seas, and more rusk of collisions with giant sunfish, whales, and who knows what when running in the dark. More risk that the motor or boat will break down. More exhaustion at the end of a twelve-hour day on the water. More work to clean up and process fish after a successful day.

Everyone recognizes that this is a demanding fishery, and the rewards are spectacular on the good days. But interspersed between no fish days, three fish days, and one fish days, there can be fifteen fish days, twenty two fish days, or even higher numbers.

Jay Nicholas a tuna day at noon on the beach

Jay Nicholas run to the tuna grounds

Good weather and eager tuna aside, there are risks back at the beach too. High tide with a steep beach poses its own risk, and boats have been sunk by a swell that fills the boat after pushing it sideways on the beach. Beach tourists wander in front and behind beach rigs towing dories, headed for the ramp, ignoring horn honking, hand waving, and shouted warnings. Parents neglect to keep children out of harms way. Sometimes, it seems like children run toward the path of the dory-towing trucks lumbering toward the ramp.

The danger is never past until the dory is parked at its destination and the tuna, packed in ice, are unloaded.

I don’t own a dory. Never will. I’m past the point of my life when I could handle the challenges myself, but I am blessed and grateful for friends who allow me to fish with them. These are the men who shoulder the risk, the worry, and the investment of time and expense of participation in the albacore fishery.

Jay Nicholas cleaning gear after a tuna day

Jay Nicholas freshly rinsed tackle after a tuna day

Jay Nicholas the fruits of dory fishing at Pacific City

I’ll close with one story from my last tuna fishing trip with my friend Kevin. The bite had eased in early afternoon, and we were trolling west toward PC. We had 4 fly rods out and the tuna were not responding. I fished changed one of my flies from a Mexican Flag Tube to a 3” green/blue over white tied on a shank with a #1 Gammie octopus stinger. Kevin was driving and I was sitting to his left. I looked over at my forward rod for a moment, and saw it give a jerk. “Hey Kevin, a tuna just grabbed my fly.”

We were both watching with anticipation, and I was moving to reach for my rod. But before I could get my hand on the rod, a tuna took my fly violently. The rod bent flat, the rod holder jerked aft from straight out to essentially straight asters, with the reel’s screech audible above the outboards hum. I wrestled to free the rod with backing melting off the reel, one of Kevin’s rods hooked up, and we were both working tuna.

A wonderful end to our day.

Jay Nicholas
August 23019

Posted in Oregon Saltwater Fishing | 2 Comments

2019 Wild & Scenic Film Festival – NOVEMBER 14, 7:00 P.M. MCDONALD THEATRE


NOVEMBER 14, 7:00 P.M.



About the film festival:

One of the largest environmental film festivals in North America is coming to Eugene! The Wild & Scenic Film Festival works with environmental groups across the globe to host the film festival as a way to outreach into their communities and bring together a diverse audience. The goal is to use film to inspire people to help the lands and rivers that surround us.

The 2019 Eugene Wild & Scenic Film Festival, presented by the Upper Willamette Stewardship Network, will raise money for education in the Upper Willamette watershed. These programs offer youth hands-on outdoors education experiences such as Salmon Watch field trips, riparian ecology lessons, culturally relevant education for Indigenous youth, and more. The Upper Willamette Stewardship Network is made up of six well established conservation nonprofits working together and with communities to care for land and water in the Upper Willamette. Proceeds will benefit the education programs of these six partner organizations. The Coast Fork Willamette Watershed Council, Long Tom Watershed Council, McKenzie River Trust, and McKenzie Watershed Council are working together toward a brighter future for wildlife and people in the Willamette headwaters we all call home.

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McKenzie River Fly Fishing Report Late August 2019

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Despite the past couple of days hot temperatures, Fall is in the air on the McKenzie River. Shadows are creeping in earlier in the afternoon, the suns position is “less directly overhead” and early fall hatches of midges, Grey Drakes and small caddis have begun. Water levels and water temperatures are ideal. The next ten days of weather looks spectacular. Get out and enjoy some fine fishing as we head into one the very best times of year in the Willamette Valley.

Best fly patterns to have on hand include:

Parachute Adams
Chubby Chernobyl
Tan Elk Hair Caddis
Parachute Caddis
Missing Link

Jigged Possie Bugger
Strolis Quill bodied Jigged Hares Ear
Prince Nymph

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Sculpminnow Fly Fur Sculpin Streamer

In this video, Jay ties a Sculpminnow Fly Fur Sculpin Streamer using Fair Flies Fly Fur, Bull Elk, and Deer Hair.

Designed to push lots of water in a slender profile, this sculpin streamer is a dangerous baitfish pattern to have in your fly box. Fly fishing fresh water or salt, this fly is effective.

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Hook: Ahrex PR320 Predator 4/0
Thread: Veevus GSP 150 or Danville 210D White
Glue: Loc Tight Brush On
Tail: Fair Flies Fly Fur Tan/White
Copic Sketch Marker Brown for segmentation/movement
Body: Fair Flies Fly Fur Brush Sculpminow Olive
Pectorals/Gills: Bull Elk
Head: Premo Deer Dyed Brown Olive

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Postcards from Pacific City – summer 2019

I just wanted to share a few images from the 2019 summer season at Pacific City.

Jay Nicholas Deer Chewing on Fly Rid

Deer licking fly rod.



Jay Nicholas with friends Tom and Rob from Bend

Friends Rob and Tom from Bend.

Jay Nicholas fresh tuna with soy and wasabi

Fresh albacore.


Jay Nicholas veggies on the grill

Fresh veggies on the grill.

Jaqy Nicholas moon over the tuna grounds

Moon over the tuna grounds.





The “Woods Boat Yard” when the tuna fleet is staging.

May you all enjoy your season on and off the water.

Jay Nicholas

August 2019






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SAGE Spey School October 2019



Join renowned Spey casting instructor and Sage Ambassador Scott O’Donnell and his crew of die-hard steelhead guides at Speywater Lodge for four days of Spey instruction and steelhead fishing. Scott and his crew are master instructors and the Grande Ronde is the best place we know of to learn the art of Spey casting and improve your swing fishing skills.

In addition to the professional instruction and world-class fishing, Sage will have their entire portfolio of Steelhead Spey rods with matching RIO Spey lines available for you to try. No need to bring gear from home – each and every Sage Spey rod and reel will be on hand for you to test, cast and fish. Try a variety of steelhead Spey rods – from 11’ 5-weights to 14’ 8-weights.


The Sage On The Water Spey School is an incredible opportunity to learn or improve your Spey casting and steelhead fishing with some of the best instructors around, all while fine-tuning a personal setup . All of this along the banks of the beautiful Grande Ronde River.


Rates and Details
Species: Summer steelhead
Dates: October 22 – 27
Capacity: 8 anglers
2 Days Casting Instruction
2 Days Guided Fishing
Rate: $2,950 per person for a 5 night/4 day package
Included: Accommodations and meals at lodge, guided fishing, flies and leaders; access to demo entire Sage Steelhead Spey rod and reel lineup, and entire RIO Products Spey line offering.
Not Included: Airfare, rental car, gratuities, fishing licenses, and alcohol.

For More Information: https://reservations.flywatertravel.com/reserve/inquiry?ref=Ogxt5


Recommended Tackle
Skagit / Sink-Tip Setup
Rod: Sage 12’ 6-weight X (6120-4)
Reel: Sage SPEY 6/7/8
Head: RIO Products Skagit Max Short, 450 grains
Tips: RIO Products InTouch Skagit MOW Tips, Medium

Scandi / Dry Line Setup
Rod: Sage 12’6” 6-weight IGNITER (6126-4)
Reel: Sage SPEY 6/7/8
Head: RIO Products Scandi Shooting Head, 400 grains

Posted in Classes and Instruction, Fly Fishing Travel | Leave a comment

Why you might want to shampoo your bucktails – Tying Tips from Jay

Listen Up - Artwork by Lisa

Well, why might anyone want to shampoo their bucktails.

This is something I discovered after working with bucktail for nearly six decades. Slow learner I am.

Some bucktails fresh from the package are perfect and a washing would not benefit them at all.

But some bucktails have always, always been a disappointment to me. Fresh from the package, some are or seem to be greasy, are in some degree matted dull or/and lifeless with odd twists and turns in the long fibers. I have never been pleased with these bucktails, but that is the norm to expect that not every package of hair, feathers, and such forth, where natural animal products are concerned will be pleasant to work with. I’m like every tyer in the respect that I get what I can get and some bucktails are better than others.

A month ago, that all changed.

I had set aside a pile of various bucktails for the discard pile and I was on the cusp of discarding them – when I considered the long shot that a wash might help.

So I went to the utility sink, put the stopper in, and threw in the bucktails, added several liberal shots of dishwashing soap, and began to work them around in the sudsy hot water with my hands. I probably devoted ten minutes to squeezing, swirling, wringing and otherwise agitating the bucktails in the soapy water. I considered using shampoo but decided for this experiment liquid dishwashing soap should tell me something.

Another 5 10 minutes devoted to rinsing revealed that the bucktails had been retaining a lot of dye. But eventually the rinse water from each tail ran rather clear and I set them aside to dry on the warm concrete in the back yard.

Jay Nicholas why shampoo bucktails

I occasionally flipped the bucktails over to make sure that each side was exposed to warm dry air, and at night moved them into the garage to continue drying on newspaper.

This experiment was spectacular in the sense that every one of the bucktails I had been on the cusp of discarding now looked and felt suitable for use in my various tying ventures. Naturally some had shorter or longer hair, more or less crinkled hair, and thicker or thinner hair with more or less ability to flare.

Take home from this exploration is that every one of these bucktails now rests in my ready to tie with bin, and I have been entirely pleased with the flies I tied with hair from these tails.

Of course I am not saying that every dubious bucktail will be salvageable by a simple wash and dry.

But in my opinion the wash and dry process literally moved a nice pile of tails from my discard pile to my use-for-sure depending on the individual tail hair’s properties versus the fly I am about to tie.

Whether this process works for the tails you are disappointed with is a matter that each of you may decide to experiment with and make your own decision.
Now, while i return to a two-cat nap, I’ll conclude by saying that I hope this helps someone spruce-up their bucktails.

August 2019

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Brown Seeker Jigged Nymph Fly Tying Video

This is one of a series of jigged nymphs that will allow you to stock your box with a range of nymph colors that cover the fundamental range of colors and be confident that you will be able to entice some grabs from trout in a wide variety of waters.

The series (I sometimes refer to these as Kiwi nymphs but that is being a little presumptuous) includes nymphs with overall shades of tan, olive, and blackish. All feature mottled tungsten slotted beads and a hot spot, and all are tied on size 16 barbless hooks, but of course any of these nymphs can and should be modified to suit the angler/tyer’s intuition.

Enjoy. JN

Brown Seeker Jigged Nymph.

Hook – Barbless jig #16
Thread – Danville’s 6/0 red
Bead – 1/8 Mottled Brown slotted tungsten
Lead free wire – .015
Tail – Coque De Leon
Body – SLF Damsel Nymph Tan
Rib – copper brassie wire
Thorax – UV Tan Ice Dub
Hot spot – UV Hot Orange Ice Dub

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Tony Torrence’s Micro Sparkle Bugger Fly Tying Video

In this video, Tony ties a Micro-Sparkle Bugger pattern – a variant on the ever effective Wooly Bugger. A fun pattern to try on your local rivers and lakes for trout. Enjoy!


Thread: Brown 8/0 or 10/0 Veevus
Hook: TMC 3761, Size 8 -14
Tail: Light Olive Marabou or Schlappen fluff
Rib: Ultra Wire, Copper
Body: An equal pinch of each, and mix. Hareline STS Trilobal, Olive Brown mixed with Hareline’s Ice Dub Olive and Whiting Bugger Pack
**Composite loop stick-em: Wapsi Sticky Deluxe Dubbing Wax

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Jay’s Mega Pike Musky Fly Tying Video

mega pike fly

mega pike profile

mega pike fly

Jay’s Mega Pike Musky Fly

Rear Shank – Big Game 28 mm
Thread – Danville’s 210 D white or 200 D GSP
Rear stage – 4.5 ” EP Invader Brush Shad Gray
Hareline White Flatwing Saddles – long
Hareline Black Dyed saddles long and narrow
Flash – long: including Polar; Holo; and Magnum
Front collar – White 4.5 ” EP Invader Brush

Front Stage
Hook – Kona 6/0 Big Game
Wire – Senyos Intruder Wire
Beads – UV 6mm Spirit River egg beads
Rear collar – White 4.5″ EP Invader Brush
Wing – Black/white Big Fly Fiber with Curl
Front Collar – Shrimp Pink 4.5″ EP Invader Brush

This fly is designed for large predatory species like pike and musky but of course it could be fished with confidence for a wide variety of fresh and saltwater species including almost anything that swims in the jungle.

These flies tied on articulated shanks are intended to flex sand show a. broad profile to the predator when the angler pauses in the strip retrieve. This fly is tied using only one trailer shank but it could be made even longer with the use of several shanks.

The color hues of this fly suggest a rather natural imitative rather than a wildly colored attractor combination – many large flies feature very bright colors, and such flies will be featured here on the blog in due time.

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