Euro Attractor Pattern Fly Tying Video – Alex Worth 2021

In this video, Alex Worth ties a simple, yet beautiful jigged style Euro nymph pattern designed  to fish deep throughout the season under an indicator or with a Euro set-up using Sybai colored wire.

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Euro Nymph Attractor Pattern

Hook: Daiichi 4647 Size 12
Bead: Slotted Tungsten Bead Metallic Light Pink 5/32″
Thread: FlyMaster 6/0 Olive
Tail: Indian Hen Back Prince Nymph Brown
Body: Sybai Wire Bright Brown Wide/Flat
Thorax: Peacock Herl
Wing: Indian Hen Back Prince Nymph Brown
Zap A Gap

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How to recognize a buck versus hen Chinook – and sketch them both

Distinguishing male (bucks) from female (hens) salmon.
How can anyone tell the difference between male and female salmon?
The question is the same for steelhead and trout, of course, but this blog post will mostly refer to chinook salmon as an example.

Since I enjoy sketching salmon, I decided to combine a discussion of identifying makes and females (bucks and hens) while showing how I go about sketching the two. Please keep in mind, this is light entertainment, not a scientific treatise.

Here we go.

Start with an outline of the male and female Chinook.
1. Using a high-quality No. 2 pencil, I lay down the basic outline of the two salmon.
2. Notice that the male (upper fish) has a concave slope to its head.
3. The female (lower fish) has a convex slope to the top of the head.
4. These features usually cannot be identified when salmon are in the ocean, far from sexual maturity in terms of both migration-distance and time.

Stage one, get an outline of the male and female Chinook salmon.

Start with an outline of the male and female Chinook salmon.

Adipose fin size.
Check out the adipose fin on the buck. notice that the adipose on the male is more than twice the size of the female.

Snoot v.chin.
The snoot (snout) of the male is longer than the chin. the snoot and chin of females will usually be equal in length.

Body height and profile.
Although differences in these features are difficult to see from the sketch, the male will be taller than the female, in a proportional sense. If you were to look at the male and female head-on, you will see the male is both taller and narrower – the female is rounder than the male.

The Chinook sketch is evolving, with more penciled in detail.

The Chinook sketch is evolving, with more penciled in detail.

Get your salmon on the level.
I noticed that the hen in the upper sketch was tilted differently from the male, I didn’t like the effect, so I took my kneadable eraser re-sketched the body to make it more parallel to the buck. I also did some adjustments in the dorsal fins of the salmon, both in location and proportions of height and size.

Outline the tail and the ocean-phase demarcation.
I added the tail outline and the demarcation of the purple-blue of the salmon’s backs. Please note that the blue of the Chinook’s back is above the lateral line.

Where’s the vent located?
The vent of buck and hen is immediately forward of the anal fin and a little to the rear of the ventral fins.

Contrast the vent of the buck and the hen.
The male’s vent is an opening without any protruding element. In contrast, the hen has a protruding papillae that will serve the function of the ovipositor to expel eggs during spawning.

The maxillary bone is different too.
Notice that the maxillary bone of the male is larger, more prominent than that of the hen. Remember that the adipose fin of the male is also larger than that of the female.

The Chinook sketch of buck and hen progresses: add some ink.

The Chinook sketch of buck and hen progresses: add some ink.

Time to ink-in the features.
I’m adding ink with a waterproof .01 fine point pen. Note that I don’t always follow the pencil exactly – sometimes by intent, and sometimes by accident. I might try to achieve a more pleasing shape or proportion, but when I miss, I just miss and there’s no use regretting it. Art is art. Move on, unless it is such a grievous blooper that the piece needs to be tossed into the recycle bin.

Choose your paper.
I am doing my sketching work on 140 Lb. watercolor paper. It is rough and probably creates some of my wiggly lines, but I like the heft of the paper.

Add a fly to the salmon sketch.
I have begun to sketch a swing-fly below the salmon. This fly is more like we would fish for steelhead than salmon in my coastal waters, but I love these flies so ….

Are there spots on the Chinook salmon?
Yes. Chinook have spots on both upper and lower lobes of their tail, but coho salmon only have spots on the upper, never the lower lobe.

Do Chinook have spots on the dorsal fin?
Yes, Chinook have spots on their dorsal side from the tip of the tail all the way forward to the vicinity of the eye. These spots are always on the upper (dorsal) side of the Chinook, never below the lateral line. Steelhead have spots on both upper and lower lobes of the tail and also below the lateral line.

Clean up the excess pencil lines.
It is about time to get to work with that kneadable eraser to clean up the entire sketch, but we need to finish the fly first. I mention the kneadable eraser because they don’t leave streaks of pink like the erasers we had when I went to elementary school.

Chinook buck and hen sketch example: getting close.

Chinook buck and hen sketch example: getting near the end. After finishing the fly sketch I will erase the pencil so we are getting close.

Remember, none of my sketches are as good as I would wish; all of these have been a challenge and a pleasure to work on.


Finished Sketch of Chinook buck, hen, and swing fly.

Finished Sketch of Chinook buck and hen

To review – differences between male and female salmon

larger adipose fin
wider maxillary bone
snout extends past chin
the body is taller and narrower
mature bucks are darker colored

smaller adipose fin
thinner maxillary bone
snout does not extend past chin
the body is shorter and rounder
mature females can still appear to be shiny


With hope and good cheer,
Jay Nicholas – January 2021

Posted in Fly Fishing Glossary, Oregon Conservation News, Oregon Salmon fly fishing | 1 Comment

Mid-winter Fishing Update and Redington Claymore Rod Review


Greetings OFFB readers! This past weekend, Bryson, Alex Worth and myself made the slog drive up to the Tillamook area to see if we could find ourselves a mysterious anadromous rainbow trout that supposedly inhabit our rivers in the winter months.

I had just purchased Redington’s new Claymore two-handed rod in the 11’ 6” 8 weight flavor, paired up with a Hardy Marquis Salmon 2. It is a beautiful looking setup and I was staring at the outfit all week feeling pretty confident in our future endeavors. The three of us met up in the morning at Steiner Boat Ramp on the lower Trask and made our way up to the treacherous Cedar Creek boat slide. As you can tell, the river was on the high and off color side of things but we decided to go for it anyway.

There were quite a few gear boats ahead of and behind us, but that shouldn’t be too much of a deterrent early in the season, especially fishing higher than ideal water. As we were working our way down river, Bry and Alex were fishing a bead setup with very little love on the other end. A few 8-12” cutthroat were caught throughout the day, but we didn’t end up encountering any of their bigger chrome cousins. At a certain point, the river widened out and didn’t feel very “fishy” or “steelheady”, so we decided to push down as Bryson had to make the 3 hour drive back to Eugene that evening.

When we got to the take out (mud pit), there was one other boat taking out in front of us that let us know they caught a few fish bobber doggin with beads and yarnies, so it’s good to know they’re not yet entirely extinct.


The next day, Alex and I took our sweet time waking up and decided to just wade around on another coastal stream. Again, there were quite a few folks out and our prospects didn’t seem too promising. Nevertheless, we gave it a pretty good go, but only had a few more small cutties to show for it. Such is the life of a winter “steelheader” I suppose.


I must say, Redington has knocked it out of the park with this new Claymore rod. In the price point, I think you’d be pretty hard pressed to find a better performing, and looking, rod. My Skagit casting was very rusty after basically 9 months of no practice, but I can tell with the proper head, tip, and fly configuration, this rod will get it done. I was fishing an Airflo F.I.S.T. in 540 with a T-14 tip and pretty heavy fly for most of the day, but struggled a little bit with turning over said large fly. I had a meeting with Jeremiah Houle (SA, Orvis, Aqua Flies rep) this week and he let me try out SA’s new Skagit head in a 510 that I will be testing this weekend. I think a slightly lighter head will help with pick up and turnover as my previous setup felt just a bit too clunky and fast sinking. Anyway, thanks all for reading and stay tuned for more winter steelhead updates!


Justin Helm

Posted in Coastal Steelhead Fishing, Fishing Reports | Leave a comment

Oregon Coast Steelhead – Responsible Angling

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From Native Fish Society

Oregon’s wild, native coastal Steelhead Trout runs are in decline. We were fortunate that 2020 runs showed some signs of improvement, but the downward trend from historical levels is evident. In 2018 and 2019, North Coast Steelhead returned below Critical Abundance thresholds. ODFW established these thresholds as the point at which “the conservation of the population could be in jeopardy if the downward trend continues.” According to estimates made by fisheries biologist and NFS fellow, Chris Frissell, the population of Steelhead in the Nehalem River in 2018 has declined by 90% since 1924.

Compounding the threats facing Oregon Coast Steelhead is a recent change in Steelhead management in Washington. On December 8th, 2020, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) adopted an emergency rule change on the Olympic Peninsula’s rivers. These rule changes include:

No fishing from a floating device;
Implementation of selective gear rules, including no bait and single barbless hooks;
Requiring the release of all rainbow trout.
These emergency regulations come in the light of not achieving critical abundance of spawning wild steelhead for four consecutive years. That’s right, four years in a row, the Olympic Peninsula fell below their threshold to sustain healthy populations.

These regulation changes will affect many watersheds located in Oregon. Guides and anglers who traditionally fish from a boat will be inclined to travel to Oregon to angle for winter Steelhead. We cannot blame them; winter steelhead fishing is their livelihood.

These pressures, coupled with already struggling populations, put our wild winter steelhead at significant risk. The good news is that anglers can take individual action right now to help Oregon’s wild, native Steelhead recover. If you angle for Steelhead, here are a few simple ways to reduce your impact:

Crush the Barb – Whether you’re swinging flies for Steelhead or fishing with a bobber/indicator, crush that barb! Hooks with barbs are challenging to remove and cause increased mortality of fish.

Keep Wild Fish Wet – A regulation in Washington state, this goes without saying, keep the fish in the water at all times. Much like humans, fish rely on oxygen, and they get that oxygen from the water.
Watch for Redds – While out angling, be aware of your surroundings including the river bottom. Fish are spawning throughout the late winter and early spring months. Ensure you aren’t targeting spawning fish and watch your step while crossing the stream or walking to your favorite run.

Land Fish Quickly – Keeping our interactions with wild fish to a minimum reduces stress. The less stress we inflict on these fish the higher likelihood they will survive to spawn.

Be Mindful of Your Impact – Each encounter with an angler has an impact on a wild fish. Consider taking the one-and-done pledge. Once you’ve caught one Steelhead, spend the rest of the day just watching the fish or telling stories with friends.

There’s nothing quite like the thrill of landing a big, wild Steelhead, but if we want to enjoy catching them in the future, we need to act now. Our actions can help prevent coastal Steelhead populations from dropping below Critical Abundance levels again. By incorporating these best practices into our angling, we can help give Oregon’s wild, native Steelhead a chance to recover.

If you are interested in the waters of the northern Oregon Coast, contact our Northern Oregon Regional Coordinator, Liz Perkin at For more information about the southern Oregon Coast, contact our Southern Oregon Regional Coordinator, Kirk Blaine at

Posted in Coastal Steelhead Fishing, Oregon Conservation News | Leave a comment

Brown Marabou Lake Leech – Recipe and Fishing Notes

This Brown Marabou Lake Leech was tied by my friend who has fished this pattern on Gold Lake since 1974.

This Brown Marabou Lake Leech was tied by my friend who has fished this pattern on Gold Lake since 1974.

This is a fly tied by a friend who fishes Oregon Cascade lakes each year. In particular, he has been fishing this fly on Gold Lake since the early 1970s, and with great success. I will follow my remarks with the recipe, with the understanding that it is entirely satisfactory to substitute materials and modify this fly as you proceed at your fly bench.

The crucial elements of this fly are its size, the addition of a little weight under the body, and the overall color. This of course takes into account that the elemental fish-attracting power of marabou is also foundational to the fly’s action.

I’ll also add several important points.

1. This fly is tied on a traditional barbed hook. Make sure you understand the regulations and your intentions when tying and of fishing barbed hooks. Many times barbless hooks are required, but even if not, there are many good reasons to tie and fish barbless.

2. This fly uses .015 lead-free wire under the chenille because this is true to the original pattern list. However, this is 2020 and is definitely not 1974, so you might substitute a bead at the head of the fly instead of, or in addition to the wire.

3. The other point is the absence of any sort of flash in the fly. I have become so accustomed to using beads and flash in my nymphs and wet flies that I’ve lost sight of the possibility that a fly might fish better without these materials. So in this fly, lies our opportunity to test the matter. Tie with and without beads and flash, fish both versions at the same time, and decide if these materials affect the trout’s attraction.

4. This fly can be tied bigger and smaller. My friend ties this in a #8 3XL most often because this has proved to be by far the most productive size.

Big Brown Leach – Gold Lake Leech

Hook: 3XL Size 8
Thread: Veevus 8/0 brown
weight: .015 lead-free wire, 6-8 turns
Tail: Rust brown marabou
Body: Brown chenille, medium
Rib: Small gold or copper wire
Wing: Rust brown marabou

I decided to share this fly now, because I realized that there must be fly tyers of all experience levels browsing youtube and the Internet of blogs, searching for something to tie tonight. For the very experienced tyer, this fly might not seem to offer sufficient challenge. But I’m guessing that even the most experienced among our fly tying friends might see this fly and think . . . “wow, I just remembered that I(‘ve been out of brown leeches for two years, and I need to tie some to re-stock my lake boxes.”

The very first flies i saw, the first trout flies, were snelled wet flies, carried in a leather fly wallet. They were snelled Royal Coachman wet flies in Montana. I will never forget what they looked like in my hand.

The very first flies i saw, the first trout flies, were snelled wet flies, carried in a leather fly wallet. They were snelled Royal Coachman wet flies in Montana. I will never forget what they looked like in my hand.

Thinking about my lake fishing friends, some carry leeches of a wide range of sizes, and some carry only black, brown, olive, and claret.

Whatever your thinking, it is smart to make sure you do not let your boxes go empty on the brown, and I would emphasize rusty brown color leeches. When I say Leech, I mean to include all manner of “Bugger” style flies in the family of leech-like flies.

May you find relaxation and a sense of anticipation for the coming season whenever you sit to tie.

Jay Nicholas, January 2021

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

Olive Jigged Nymph Fly Tying Video – Alex Worth 2021

In this video, Alex Worth ties a deadly Euro nymph that can be tied in different sizes, colors, and weights.

With the use of tungsten beads, the Olive Jigged Nymph can be fished on a Euro set-up or under an indicator rig to get down deep where feeding fish lie. Give them a try!

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Olive Jigged Nymph

Hook: Daiichi 4640 Size 16
Bead: Slotted Tungsten Bead Gold 1/8″
Thread: FlyMaster 6/0 Olive
Tag: Glo Brite Fl. Hot Orange
Tail: CDL Med. Speckled Pardo
Body: Micro 1/100 Flashabou #10033
Collar: Nature Spirit UV Tracer Flash Dub Natural Squirrel

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The Future Management of our Salmonid Fisheries – OP ED


From Native Fish Society – In an Op-Ed published last month in the News-Review and reprinted on our website, retired fisheries biologist and wild fish advocate Jeffrey Dose discussed the current state of Pacific Northwest fisheries management and called for the closure of the Rock Creek Hatchery on Oregon’s North Umpqua River.

The Future Management of our Salmonid Fisheries

Jeff Dose is a retired Fisheries Biologist and an outstanding wild fish advocate. For 31 years of his 35 year career Jeff worked in the Umpqua basin and for 24 years as the Fisheries Program Manager for the Umpqua National Forest. Jeff continues to advocate and share his knowledge for the conservation and restoration of wild Salmonids throughout the Pacific Northwest.

Recently, Jeff wrote this Opinion piece in regards to our current state of fisheries management pertaining to the Rock Creek Hatchery on the North Umpqua River. It was published on December 3, 2020, in the Roseburg News Review. His outstanding experience with wild salmonids adds a wonderful perspective to the future management of the fisheries in the Pacific Northwest.

It’s time to start looking ahead on our rivers.

Restoring abundant runs of wild Pacific salmon and anadromous trout to the rivers and streams in the Pacific Northwest has risen to high levels of importance. There has been a large expenditure of public and private funds over the past five decades in an effort to prevent extinction and restore some measure of historical abundance. This is certainly true here, in the Umpqua River basin, where our fish runs support a multitude of recreational and commercial enterprises. There is also a considerable concern for some greatly diminished populations.

The North Umpqua River has one of the most diverse populations of wild salmon and anadromous trout in coastal Oregon. In addition to the wild populations, there are artificially produced populations. Large numbers of juvenile spring Chinook and summer steelhead from Rock Creek hatchery are released into the North Umpqua annually.

The historically large and intense wildfires that started in early September of this year caused loss of life, property, and infrastructure. Rock Creek hatchery was nearly destroyed by the Archie Creek Fire. Reconstruction of this facility has been estimated to cost up to $15 million. Even before this fire, Rock Creek was a compromised watershed with very poor water quality. The impacts from this intense fire, as well as suppression actions and salvage logging, will further degrade the Rock Creek watershed for decades. Additionally, anticipated impacts from climate change will further retard or prevent meaningful watershed recovery.

Pacific salmon, broadly defined to include anadromous trout, are a truly remarkable and successful group of animals. Through evolutionary processes such as natural selection, salmon have been able to persist, and even thrive, by developing some rather unique and impressive characteristics which enhance their genetic diversity.

Managing salmon resources involves preventing overharvest, protecting and restoring habitat, managing hydro and other dams, and augmentation of wild populations with hatchery production. While counter-intuitive, large-scale hatchery production does not usually produce more fish and can seriously reduce fitness of wild populations. Current hatchery practices, which are a result of artificial mate selection, are antithetical to the goal of sustaining wild populations. Additionally, hatchery production requires a large investment of funds that may be better spent on habitat acquisition or restoration, alternative energy sources, law enforcement, increased research, and better monitoring and evaluation. It is not unusual for the return of one hatchery fish to cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars. The majority is paid for by taxpayers and ratepayers, not from the sale of licenses and tags.

Among other effects, genetic changes from hatchery introgression are contributing to salmon declines. Most legitimate, peer-reviewed research has shown significant reductions in wild salmon and steelhead populations when hatchery fish spawn with wild fish, even at fairly low levels (~10-15%) of hatchery fish. In addition to the genetic effects, impacts to wild salmon often begin as soon as hatchery fish are released into the rivers and streams. These include disease transmission, competition, direct predation, altered migratory behavior, and altered predator survival and behavior.

Despite the large body of scientific information that documents the damage, there has been little real change in the current hatchery/harvest paradigm. Similarly, there has been very little change in land and water uses in many watersheds that adversely effect salmon habitat. Successful, widespread restoration of wild salmon stocks will require a significant paradigm shift from current approaches. Many researchers have concluded that for restoration programs to succeed, there must be a shift away from simplistic technofixes — such as hatcheries for low fish numbers and log structures for poor watershed conditions — to ecologically-based restoration of watershed processes.

I fully understand that many of my fellow citizens, particularly some avid anglers, have complete faith in hatchery programs and strongly resist any attempt to reduce them. Some even call for large increases. I believe that, for the most part, they are well-intentioned but short-sighted. Although the Archie Creek Fire caused wide-spread devastation, it also provides an opportunity. An opportunity to decommission the Rock Creek hatchery without the large expenditure of public funds that would be required to rebuild it. It is up to us to determine the outcome. I, for one, would like to see a change in the current mind-set, a change that has a chance of achieving robust populations of all our wild salmon and steelhead populations in the North Umpqua River.

For more information in regards to the North Umpqua River reach out to our Southern Oregon Regional Coordinator, Kirk Blaine at or contact the Steamboaters at Native Fish Society will continue to advocate for abundant wild fish, free-flowing rivers, and thriving local communities throughout the Pacific Northwest.

Posted in North Umpqua River Fishing Reports, Oregon Conservation News | Leave a comment

New RIO Skagit Heads Explained – Video

Simon Gawesworth discusses RIO’s new line up of Skagit style spey heads. Skagit Max Launch and Skagit Max Power are the most advanced Skagit style heads RIO has ever produced.


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

Nicholas’ Steelhead Fly Interview: Does the Size of Your fly Matter?

Black Demon Steelhead Fly by Stan Davis

Black Demon Steelhead Fly by Stan Davis. The brightness of this fluorescent flame and orange contrast nicely with the black and white in the tail and the black in the wing. Although this is often thought of as a summer steelhead fly pattern, the Black Demon is a fly that is inherently effective to fish in any water conditions. This is true with the Green Butt Skunk. I always thought of the Green Butt Skunk as strictly a summer steelhead fly. Then two friends told me, independently, that they had been using the GBS as their go-to winter steelhead fly. One of these fellows was fly fishing, the other was drift fishing with spinning gear, using the GBS tied onto his leader below a piece of pencil lead when drift fishing. This proves how any of us can miss out by paying attention to preconceived notions about what steelhead like or don’t like. 

Introduction: We caught up with Jay recently, fresh from a session at his fly bench, and asked if he would take time for an interview. The topic? Recommendations for the best size of fly to fish for winter steelhead. He agreed, so let’s get down to the results.

Question: Everyone who fishes for winter steelhead has their opinion regarding the best colors for steelhead flies. The same is true for anglers holding strong opinions about what the best fly size is and if so – what exactly is the best size fly we should be fishing for winter steelhead. The same questions and strident opinions apply to summer steelhead, naturally, but that interview can wait until May. For now, Jay, could we please tackle the fly-size question for winter steelhead here?

Jay: You do know that this blog post is me interviewing me, don’t you?

Question: Wait a minute, I’m supposed to be asking the questions here, not you.

Jay Ok, if you insist. What was the question?

Question: Does the size of a fly influence how many winter steelhead an angler will catch. And don’t go waxing all evasive and say stuff about how it depends on factors like
__ what the water clarity is,
__ what the water temperature is,
__ how big the river is, and
__ whether the hydrograph is going up or down.

Here's a nice 3.75-inch Pink & Blue Tube intruder. Guess what? This is two tubes staked together, making this a size adaptation you can accomplish streamside if you wish.

Here’s a nice 3.75-inch Pink & Blue Tube Intruder. Guess what? This is two tubes staked together, making this a size-adaptation anyone can accomplish streamside if you wish.

Jay: Yes, the size of the fly you fish for winter steelhead matters. It matters a lot some days. And there are some generalities about the fly-size that I believe, with only unquantified personal experience and hearsay to guide me.

Question: Well, would you be so kind as to tell us a little about your opinions?

Jay: Sure will.

Best Size for Winter Steelhead Flies Winter steelhead will, on average, respond better to a fly that is between 3/8-inch and 2.5-inches long. They will grab flies smaller and larger, but I believe that a fly in this zone is more likely to be eaten than a fly smaller or larger.

If I step into a run on a nearby coastal river like the Siuslaw, Alsea, or Nestucca, I might tie a fly like this 2.5-inch Orange Shrimp on my leader.


Remember, please, You asked me to move past the complexity factor, and so I did.

Question: What about egg patterns? How do egg flies fit in the fly-size discussion?

I would be remiss if I didn’t note the obvious: egg patterns are small, are usually dead-drifted, and fall outside the consideration of fly-size in this discussion. The matter of fly-sizes in nymphs and eggs that are fished for winter steelhead is a different subject for a different day.

If you like tying tubes, I could recommend the fly below as a good candidate for the first pass through the run: a nice orange and red-hued tube with a gold cone.

This tube measures a whopping 2.5 inches nose to bend of the hook.

This tube fly measures a whopping 2.5 inches nose to bend of the hook.

If the shrimp fly and the tube don’t lie in your fly box, I offer the assortment of flies pictured below, all of which fall into the more reasonable size-class of 2.0 to 2.25 inches long. These are all tied by my friend Stan Davis.

Jay Nicholas.This is a disorganized splat of Stan Davis winter steelhead flies dropped riverside. I thought it made such a nice image. All of these flies fall into the 2.0 size class, and I call this money.

This is a disorganized splat of Stan Davis’ flies dropped riverside. I thought it made such a nice image. All of these flies fall into the 2.0 size class, and I call this money. And if you get right down to it, these will all fish summer steelhead, winter steelhead, and. blueback. I call these multi-purpose flies.

I will add that I usually only stray out of this size-class (2-inches) with a fly like the Orange Shrimp because although longer, it is also sparser, and therefore seems less intimidating to the steelhead (maybe).

Question: Ok, Jay. Why no mention of Intruders? We know that Intruder-style flies have been the rage of popularity during the last several decades, probably longer if you consider the early adopters.

What do you have to say about the effect a large Intruder has on winter steelhead’s proclivity to grab-and-go?

Winter Steelhead Intruder Fly. This fly is in the 4.4-inch size class, a very nice flyy to swing in a river like the Sandy or  the Clackamas, or big water reaches of Oregon and Washington coastal rivers.

Winter Steelhead Intruder Fly. This fly is in the 4.5-inch size-class, a very nice fly to swing in a river like the Sandy,
the Clackamas, or big any of the big-water reaches of Oregon and Washington coastal rivers.

Jay: If I swing a 4 or 5-inch intruder over a fresh pod of winter steelhead and I’m the first rod in the run, I’m probably going to get bit.

If I’m fishing over the same pod of fish that has been settled in a pool for the last 6 hours, the situation is far different. Those steelhead have seen 4 hotshots, five spinners, twenty-five beads, 7 gobs of roe, three fresh sand-shrimp, 11 jigs, and 13 pink worms.

After seeing all this junk swim across their heads, the steelhead are likely to be intimidated, and my Intruder will be less effective than a size 12 Copper John fished with an indicator on a 3 wt  Euro Nymph rod.

Jay NIcholas: Shock Therapy INtruder, tied in sizes from 1.5-inch to 4-inch. These flies all fish.

Jay Nicholas: Shock Therapy Intruder, tied in sizes from 1.5-inch to 4-inch. These flies all fish.

Question: Can you show an example of imagery to illustrate size categories in winter steelhead flies?-sizes?

Jay: Why yes I do, and thanks for asking. The photo above is an example of how anyone can tie a series of flies with the same general color hues in several sizes. The flies above all use a purple and black color theme with hot pink trigger emphasis. I like these colors in my flies, so I will have all of these in my jacket pocket and will fish the fly-size that suits me in each run I step intro to fish

The fly at the top is 2-inches, the fly at the bottom is 4.5 inches.

Question: How should an angler fish one run several times in succession? As you know, anglers who are bank fishing, in contrast with anglers drifting downriver in a boat, can be limited to fishing one or two places each day.

Jay: Under all but high water conditions, I would normally begin swinging a 2.0 or 2.5-inch fly. If I get a tug on this fly but the fish will not commit, I would step upstream and work down with a smaller fly. (High water calls for a large fly on the first pass.)

Assuming the fish will not commit to the smaller fly, I would step back upstream and swing down again, this time with a larger fly.

Anytime I’ve stepped through three times with no solid grab to show for my effort, the steelhead need to be rested. I will step ashore, enjoy lunch, and watch anglers drifting past me in boats. I know that all of. these anglers will keep their gear out of the water and not rest the steelhead, just as I am.

Question: Well, I think I understand your thinking Jay, thanks for sharing.

Jay: You’re welcome, and for fun, here is the recipe for the Intruder pictured above: Shock Therapy.

May you all enjoy finding a little entertainment and a chuckle.

Jay Nicholas, January 2021

Shock Therapy Intruder Recipe
Shank/Tube – PSF or OPST, various sizes
Hook – Sized to fly (#4 – #1)
Butt – Senyo’s Eat A Peach + Aquaveil
Butt collar – Purple Schlappen, Marabou, Ostrich Butt accent – Hot Tipped Crazy legs
Body – Senyo’s Muppet Fusion Dub
Rib – Red Copper wire or holo tinsel
Shoulder – Senyo’s Mountain Berry Aquaveil 1st – purple Ostrich, Marabou, Schlappen
Final collar – Hot Pink Guinea
Accent – PSF or Hareline imitation Jungle Cock
Flash – Purple Holo, Flashabou, or Lateral Scale
Eyes/beads/cone – tyer’s choice

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

Tell Oregon to prioritize native fish, not invasive species!


From Native Fish Society

On Friday, January 15, 2021, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) will consider a proposal to regulate non-native fish species, also known as invasive species, in Oregon’s rivers. We need your voice to ensure that Oregon adopts a strong policy that protects the native fish of the state and prioritizes the conservation and recovery of abundant wild native fish. Please sign up to provide virtual testimony or submit a comment in writing through the links below. Don’t delay! The deadline for inclusion is 8 am on Wednesday, January 13.



Invasive fish species are already present in many of Oregon’s watersheds and can have serious impacts on the ability of wild native fish to not only thrive, but in many cases, survive. Invasive species like catfish, bass, crappie, perch and walleye not only compete for food and habitat with native fish, they also prey on native fish. Their ability to survive in severely degraded environments means that these invasive species flourish in many of Oregon’s rivers and streams and contribute to declining populations of native fish species like Salmon, Steelhead, and native Trouts.

The proposed non-native gamefish policy blatantly fails to live up to ODFW’s mandate “to protect and enhance Oregon’s fish and wildlife and their habitats for use and enjoyment by present and future generations.” We strongly encourage the ODFW Commission to adopt a no size, no bag limit for non-native game fish species as this is the most consistent way for the agency to contribute to the department’s mandate.

Artificial lakes without connection to natural streams or rivers are appropriate venues to manage non-native game species for recreational opportunities. Oregon’s natural rivers, streams, and lakes (including human-made reservoirs that are attached to riverways) should be stewarded for the revival of abundant, native fish.

Allowing a no size/no bag limit on non-native game fish species allows for recreational opportunity in the near term, as people continue to fish for these species, as well as the long term, as recovered native fisheries become available for both angling and consumptive opportunity.

Let’s ensure that the state’s priorities remain clear by crafting policies focused on the conservation and recovery of our iconic native fish species. Please sign up today using the links to provide virtual testimony at Friday’s commission meeting or sign on your support for a no size/no bag limit policy for invasive fish species in Oregon.



For Wild Fish,

Jennifer Fairbrother
Conservation Director

Posted in Oregon Conservation News | Leave a comment

Purple Egg Sucking Bling Brush Fly Tying Video

In this video, author Jay Nicholas ties another variation of a classic salmon and steelhead pattern using new materials such as Bling Rabbit Strips and Flash Blend Baitfish Brushes from Just Add H2O.

This fly could be tied in a variation of colors and sizes and used for steelhead, salmon, bass, panfish, you name it.

Join Jay and Chris Daughters as they discuss their years of experience dealing with materials and the many possibilities that these materials could be used for.


Hook: Daiichi 2220, TMC 5263 or similar
Thread:Danville 210D Black
Tail: Bling Rabbit Strip Black
Flash: Helix Flash
Body: Streamer Brush Bleeding Purple 2″
Eyes: Double Pupil Lead Eyes 2PL8
Head: Fl. Fire Orange Chenille Med.

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When Power and Fisheries Unite


Scott Simms and Mark Sherwood had their guest view published in the Register Guard, check it out if you missed it.

Proponents of hydropower and fisheries restoration don’t often see eye-to-eye, so when they see a common solution, it’s time to take notice.

Efforts to restore fisheries in the Willamette Basin could make a significant advancement in the coming months following a circuit court decision regarding U.S. Army Corps of Engineers responsibilities to implement mitigation measures. As a result, the court will likely prescribe new remedy measures and the Corps will need to undertake a new biological opinion.

In considering potential remedies, the Public Power Council and the Native Fish Society agree that options that assume deauthorization of the power function at Detroit, Cougar and Big Cliff dams must be on the table. Representing the community-owned customers of the Bonneville Power Administration that purchase the output of these dams, the Public Power Council’s analysis determines that these projects are uneconomic – producing minimal power without valuable operational flexibility at a cost many times higher than other hydro projects in the Federal Columbia River Power System. Deauthorizing the power aspect at these projects will save consumers millions of dollars. continue reading the entire article here.

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

McKenzie Green Caddis Pupa Fly Pattern – Alex Worth 2021

In this video, Alex Worth and his dog Rosie stopped by the shop to tie a McKenzie green caddis pupa using Daichi’s new colored hooks.

Used in the spring when the water is higher and cooler, this fly is meant to drop quick and get you into the zone where fish hold.

Used under an indicator or on a Euro rig this fly will hunt!


McKenzie Green Caddis Pupa:
Hook: Daichi 1924 Matte Green Size 10
Bead: 5/32″ Slotted Tungsten Bead Black
Thread: Uni Thread 6/0 Black
Tail: Peacock Sword
Ribbing: Small Ultra Wire Black
Body: Mylar Tinsel Peacock Size 14
Air Bubble: Ice Dub UV Pearl
Wing: Select CDC Dark Grey
Partridge Skin Feather
Collar: Hare’s Mask Black
Ice Dub Peacock Black
Zap A Gap

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Sea Run Cutthroat Fly Series: Olive Spider

Olive Spider Variant

Nicholas' Olive Variant Sea Run Cutthroat  Fly

Nicholas’ Olive Variant Sea Run Cutthroat Fly

Olive Spider Sea Run Cutthroat Recipe.

This fly is a size 6, but it fishes for summer steelhead down to a size 3 and up to a size 8
Thread – 8/0 or similar
Cement – Hard as Hull for the traditionalists; Solarez Bone Dry for the modernists
Hook – TMC 3671 #6-10
Tail – Yellow and Olive feather barbules
Butt – Lagartun or Hareline Fl yellow flat braid
Shoulder – Senyo’s Fusion Dub Crusty Nail + Lizard, dubbed as a noodle
Wing – sparse clump of olive Natures Spirit Moose
Rear hackle – Yellow Saltwater Rooster Feather
Fore hackle – Olive Saltwater Rooster Feather

Hello Oregon Fly Fishing Blog Readers. I woke the other morning, later than usual, and looked out the window to see clouds in the sky.

Boom! there it went, my memory jumping back more than a few years to an August day with clouds in the sky. The memories flowed like water to the sea, and in a heartbeat, I was slipping into my felt-studded boots, sitting on the tailgate, in a rush as always, anxious to get dressed for midsummer wading in a coastal river.

I was on the lower Alsea, but it could as easily have been the lower Siletz, Siuslaw, Coos, Coquille, Sixes, Trask …. I think you get my drift. Anywhere on the Oregon coast. In fact, it could have been the Rogue or the Umpqua too, but those are big bold rivers, and the places I fished for sea-run cutthroat are small low flow rivers, with short riffles and long slow-moving pools in the month of August.

The thing about stepping into a summer flow river, small or large, is that the possibilities of finding willing trout or summer steelhead are so much greater on a cloudy day.

Dark days are perfect for luring trout and steelhead from tidewater into the low flowing coastal rivers. RAin is even more likely to bring on a push of pacific salmon upstream, and the cooler waters are sure to stimulate a bitey temperament on the part of the fish too.

August days with clouds and a hint of water from the sky have been declared national holidays, you know. Yes. Holidays and vacation days and sick leave days and playing hookey days. This is such good luck because a day in August has the potential to produce magic for the angler who can be on the water.

If I’m fishing for sea-run cutthroat in late September or October, after a few spots of rain have cooled the rivers, after the flows are doubled or tripled from their August low flows, chances are good that I will tie on a Borden special, or a female coachman. or a royal coachman.

But if it is August and the water is at its lowest, I will usually reach for this fly or one like it in more subtle color hues.  This particular fly is a pattern I’ve been tying for SRC since the late 1980s. The fly is related to my Simplicity series of steelhead flies.

Tying notes for the Olive Spider:
The desired action of this fly is a wiggly and puffy motion of the feathers in the water. I think that this movement of the fl hackles is best achieved by plucking the longest feathers taken from a rooster cape.

When and where To Fish This Fly:
I fish this fly upriver anywhere above the head of tide, never near the river mouth closest to the ocean.

Olive is especially effective when cutthroat are feeding on various mayflies, as they are prone to do whenever they encounter a late summer hatch. The subtle olive hue of the fly is ideal for use as a followup fly. I’ll tie on a natural-looking pattern like this after I’ve been teased and refused by a trout or steelhead; in t=the years I have followed this practice, the fish will come back and eat this fly about half the time, so it is definitely worthwhile to carry a few in your box, and to swim it past a fish that is being pesky.

I will add that I have caught chinook jacks in august on this fly, but only if a rain cooled the river and rain jumped the flows a few hundred cfs to bring these little chinook out of tidewater pools. An 18 or 20″ dee[ bodied jack salmon is quite the thrill when you are expecting a sea-run of 12-14″. The jack salmon’s flash and pull at the end of your line on a 3 or 4 wt delivers quite the surprise.

Sea Runs or steelhead?
Although I first tied this pattern thinking about sea runs, a slender version of the fly is straight out of the playbook for summer steelhead, and never doubt that this fly will lure the larger sea-runners to your engagement.

Have fun out there,

Jay Nicholas,

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Sens’ Bird’s Nest Fly Pattern – Jim Sens Tying Video 2020

In this video, Jim Sens ties his version of Charley Bird’s Bird’s Nest.

Using Awesome Possum, wood duck, and dubbing Jim shows you dubbing loop techniques that create durable, fishy flies that are guaranteed to catch trout.

Jim has personally tested this fly on rivers such as the McKenzie to great success. He swings them, drifts them, or hangs them as a dropper off of a dry fly.


Sens’ Bird’s Nest Fly Pattern:
Hook: TMC 2302 Size 10
Thread: Danville 70D Burgundy
Tail: Woodduck
Ribbing: Lagartun Small Gold Tinsel
Wing: Woodduck
Dubbing Loop: Wapsi Awesome Possum Dubbing Natural-Call Shop
Wapsi Spikey Squirrel Dubbing-Call Shop
UV Glue

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