7 threads that every fly tyer should own – and why ….

Seven threads that every tyer should have at the fly bench.

Seven threads that every tyer should have at the fly bench.

Of course this is an opinion piece and based on my personal experience – there is little in the way of objective data to guide one on this topic, unless of course one simply looked at total sales numbers for each and every possible fly tying thread type, and how much fun is that?

I started out by looking around my own fly bench to survey the threads I am using, given that I tie trout, steelhead, salmon, and for all sorts of finny critters in fresh and salt water environs. Anyway, I thought it might be fun for my own thinking organization and as a matter of offering some possibly new thoughts to other fly tyers to write this post.

Naturally, if you, the blog reader, ties only small dry flies or only giant billfish flies, this article will miss the mark by a long shot.

But if you are an artist of widely varying taste, one who is likely to experiment in the types of flies you will tie, this article just might be helpful and at the very least might open up possibilities to try something new.

So – in no particular order, here is my nomination for seven threads that I regularly use at my bench, including note of why I might reach for one versus the other at any given point in time.

Danville’s 210 Denier Flat Waxed Nylon – This thread is strong and sticky and very well suited to many flies that require attaching a lot of materials with little worry about the potential for adding bulk, and actually this tread is desirable if you want to build up the head on a fly. I use this for all of my Clousers and for many traditional wet steelhead flies.

Veevus 150 D GSP – This is a thread I resisted using for decades, but have finally come to realize just how useful it is when tying very large spun deer hair flies and using bucktail to craft hollow flies. The material takes some getting comfortable with, it is SLIPPERY beyond belief and requires finesse to cut with scissors, but it has no equal when it is necessary to really bear down and pull on the thread to secure or spin materials on a hook. I have tried finer and stouter GSP and for now at least prefer the 150 D for of my spinning on flies larger than *6 but would suggest 100D for #8 and smaller hooks.

Danville’s 70 D Flymaster - This is a thread I used for decades with absolute confidence and satisfaction – then I drifted off to tie with newer more modern threads and this gem lay untouched in the back corners of my bench. Two years ago I remembered how pleasant this thread is to work with and decided to try it again. Home run! The thread is available in a zillion colors, is very slightly waxed (I think) lays flat, has just a little stretch, actually the perfect amount of stretch. This is a PERFECT thread for general fly tying in sized of about #8 to #20.

Ultra Thread 70 & 150 D – This is another thread I used a lot of and forgot about when i was experimenting with more modern threads. Like the Danville’s FlyMaster, this UTC thread is super versatile, comes in dynamite colors, lays flat and has a little stretch. Main difference I can tell is that this UTC is slick, has no hint of wax, and the colors have a sheen you will not find on the Flymaster. For micro collars on Euro Nymphs, you will find it difficult to find better thread for the color spots!

Lagartun X-Strong 95D & 150D - This is my fancy thread when I am looking for the strongest flattest laying threads for tying small heads on my steelhead wet flies. The Lagartun X-Strong color palate is more limited that Ultra Thread, but it is stronger and will lay flat flat flat and if you want super slick smooth heads this is your stuff.

Veevus 10/0 – Veevus is my go-to thread when I tie very small flies and am most concerned with thread build up. I am not as fond of the color palate offered by Veevus when compared to Danville or UTC, but if I want a “round” thread to grip slick materials onto the hook, and if I want strength versus diameter – this thread is super satisfying to use. I will use anywhere from 8/0 to 12/o Veevus threads, and some tyers prefer Veevus for all of their tying.

Danville’s Monofilament Fine – It may be the case that mono threads are only or mostly useful to saltwater tyers, but this stuff is versatile and stronger than I ever imagined, and I now find that I like to use this fine mono thread for a wide variety of my freshwater flies as well. Keep in mind that this mono is slick, but it is stretchy and fun to work with. Like GSP, this is a specialized thread you might not use often – but I suggest that your tying skills will be advanced if you experiment with this on some of the flies you tie all the time.

Why not mention Uni Thread Simple. I never got around to tying with Uni Thread. My friends tease me about this and remind me that Uni makes great threads and tinsels for starters and the price point is very good as well. So Let’s be clear that my failure to mention Uni is a random element of my experience. Might just go out and tie with Uni for the next 6 months to give it a fair trial!

General guidance on color palates?

Danville’s 210 Denier Flat Waxed NylonEmphasis on white, fl. Chartreuse, fl. Blue, and Black.– consider adding fl pink, fl orange.

Veevus GSP – White, white, and white.

Danville’s Flymaster 70D  – emphasis on pale subdues colors including burnt orange, pale yellow, Adams grey, olive, brown — and then add fl chartreuse and fl hot orange.

Ultra Thread – Emphasis on bright colors including red, yellow, green  and orange.

Veevus 10/0 – Emphasis on black, claret, olive, grey, brown, and olive.

Lagartun X-Strong – Emphasis on black, red, orange, green.

Danville’s Monofilament – Clear, clear, and more clear.

 I hope this has been helpful.

Jay Nicholas – Autumn 2019

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

New Zealand Update 2019


A really brief history

My first trip to New Zealand was in 1993. With little knowledge of the country and it’s fishing, my fishing mates and I drove way to many kilometers in three months in search of the holy grail of fly fishing. Each year after that I spent a month fishing in NZ, pulled to the awesome sight of fishing for big trout. In 2011, my wife organized a trip to Cedar Lodge for my 40th birthday with friends and family. Instead of sleeping in the dirt, the van or the motel we stayed at Cedar and helicoptered in to the gorgeous rivers of Central Otago and Westland. In 2013 we bought Cedar Lodge. In 2019 we sold Cedar Lodge to Eleven Experience.

new zealand fly fishing

Owning and operating a fishing lodge was a fantastic experience. Shauna and I met some wonderful people in our tenure at Cedar. Guests, guides and community have been unforgettable, and many relationships will remain. We had our challenges and successes at Cedar; we walk away from our experience knowing that we took a huge risk and successfully executed a plan.

Without a doubt having our children with us through the entire adventure was the very best part of owning Cedar Lodge. My wife Shauna had the moxy, foresight, and fearless nature to be pull the kids out of school and direct their homeschool program. Caring for her kids always took priority but being co-owner of a remote fishing lodge required, hosting, booking, at times cheffing, gardening, cleaning, planning remodels, and much more. Not everyone could have done it but Shauna did it all and more. Our kids got to experience the outdoors like we did growing up, exploring, building forts, fishing and camping. They were able to meet inspirational people, to see the glamorous and the ugly aspects of a family owned lodge business.

As we leave NZ this late December ( the wettest one on record ) ( not missing that part of lodge ownership at all ) after helping new Eleven Experience ownership settle in, we are grateful for our time and experience.

We continue to own and operate The Caddis Fly Angling Shop in Eugene Oregon. Future plans include more hosted travel and pursuing the kids love of tennis and herpetology. I will continue to guide the McKenzie and Willamette rivers in season.

I have compiled some images of the kids growing up at Cedar below.


IMG_10106988446807_7927ba0f73_cDSC_0927IMG_18722013-12-24 11.32.29IMG_1224IMG_121611598897174_a611b2a5c8_z16220919277_86f51d4dc0_k16057238511_ff3d4a656e_z16241585032_461b368b6e_cIMG_0002OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA11447894376_b2552aef7c_hIMG_352316380840246_e832e55ca7_k16001407929_8672f202e4_h16054430152_3dac7e4a62_c32501719598_3579f576a4_c45576105565_dd8a952555_c

Posted in Fishing Reports, Fly Fishing Travel | 2 Comments

New Hareline Stash Storage Containers

In this video, Greg shows each new Stash Storage Container Box from Hareline.

Used for organizing your fly-tying materials at home or on the road for quick access and efficiency, these containers take out the frustration from messy tying tables, materials blowing around, and at the same time protect your materials and store them easily.

Use them for beads, threads, wires, flashes, feathers, bucktail, hooks, even flies. Each container is clear to quickly find the materials you need and stack nicely taking up limited space.


Hareline Stash Storage Solutions Boxes


Stash Dub Pods & Stash Flash Pods

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Jay’s Ultra Rig Steelhead Fly Tying Video

In this video, Jay ties an Ultra Rig Steelhead Fly – a fun take on Jeff Hickman’s Fish Taco using the new Aqua Flies Ultra Rig. This is a great pattern to try swinging for Summer and Winter Steelhead. Enjoy!


Aqua Fly Return Eye Shank
Thread: 210 Denier White
Glue: Loc-Tite Brush On
Aqua Flies Ultra Rig
Butt: Senyo’s Eat-a-peach Dubbing Single Loop
Body: Senyo’s Dubbing Midnight
Hackle 1: Orange Schlappen
Hackle 2: Purple Schlappen
Flash: Lateral Scale
Hackle 3: Black Schlappen
Thread 2: 210 Denier Red
Eyes: Intruder Eyes Blue
Collar: Senyo’s Dubbing Midnight
Mohawk: Marble Fox Black
Highlight: Raptor Fibers Blue

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Jay’s Tungsten Soft Hackle Fly Tying Video

In this video, Jay ties a Tungsten Soft Hackle fly. An effective pattern for euro nymphing and indicator fishing for trout. Give this pattern a try!


Hook: TMC 3761 size 12, Daiichi 1760 size 12
Bead: tungsten mottled tactical black 1/8th
Wire: Lead-Free .015
Glue: Loc-Tite Brush-on
Thread: Danville’s 6/0 Red
Tail: Coq de Leon
Body: Kiley’s Pearl Body Wrap
Collar: UV2 Select CDC
Collar: Hareline Ice Dub Peacock Black
Hot spot, UTC red thread

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Fly Tying Saturday: Jay Nicholas demo Pro Sportfisher, Aquaflies, and traditional steelhead fly tying

Saturday, December 14th, I will be in the shop and will tie and answer questions about steelhead fly tying using

IMG_3014 IMG_3013

Pro Sportfisher products.

Aquaflies and flies tied with Aquaflies shanks and hooks.

Traditional steelhead flies tied on hooks.

Traditional steelhead flies tied on hooks like in the old days.

Traditional steelhead flies tied on hooks like in the old days.

I hope you can join me between 10 and 4 to say hi or to allow me to try to help out by answering any questions you may have.

My best to you


Posted in Fly Tying, Shop Sales and Specials | Leave a comment

Echo Fly Rod Seasons of Pacific City: Spring/Summer

This is the second of three blog posts that feature the Echo fly rods I fish through the seasons here in Pacific City.

I have learned though personal experience to appreciate the performance and value of Echo fly rods for over a decade now. Although the flagship rods featured in the Echo lineup evolve over the years, the dependability, ease of casting, variety of rod styles and actions, plus the modest price points of the entire portfolio of Echo rods remains rock solid.

Spring / Summer in Pacific City is an exciting and nearly franticly active time of year to fish anywhere from the river, in the estuary, and in the nearshore ocean to catch summer steelhead, spring chinook, black rockfish, lingcod, coho salmon, (rarely -Chinook salmon, and Albacore. Once again, the coastal cutthroat are sneaking around in the estuary and river for the persistent anglers who take the time to sleuth out their movements on tides and small river rises.

I’ve already covered the range of Echo rods I fish for winter steelhead, in a previous blog post (The Echo Seasons of Pacific City: Winter/Spring), so I’ll limit my remarks in this post to rods I fish in the estuary and ocean categorized by species.

Nestucca Spring Chinook salmon on the Echo EPR 8 wt.

Nestucca Spring Chinook salmon on the Echo EPR 8 wt.

Spring Chinook:

Prime 8 wt or 9 wt
These two fly rods are both top-of-the-line Echo High performance fly rods that excel in fresh and saltwater when your fishing calls for making short and long range deliveries in conditions that can run the gamut from dead calm short range to gale force long range. I have several seasons experience with the EPR and vouch for their performance from Oregon to Baja. My experience with the new Prime has been limited to a short-term demo loaner, but my confidence in the new PRIME is based on several years fishing the old Echo Prime one piece rods.

Boost Salt 8 wt
This fly rod is the Echo workhorse for estuaries, lake and ocean anglers who will be wrestling with stubborn fish species. The rods are tough as nails, responsive casting tools, and are a pleasure to throw in the boat to fish day after day, year after year.

Rockfish lingcod, coho salmon, and chinook salmon:

Steve and Jay with black rockfish and smiles.

Steve and Jay with black rockfish and smiles.

In addition to the EPR, Prime, and Saltwater Boost rods I add the Bad Ass Glass rods, the 8 ft wonders that make quite possibly the best economical boat fly rods I’ve fished.

Bad Ass Glass 6 wt, 7 wt, 8 wt
Somewhere in the range from 6 to 8 wt lies the right rod for anyone fishing the estuary and ocean who wants maximum fun playing fish. These fly rods are not my first choice when i think I’ll need to be making long precision casts, but dang they are fun to fish and they seem to magnify the fish’s size owing to the rod’s flexibility. These are super durable fly rods and can be seriously over-lined if you need a fast sinking line (Airflo Depthfinder Big Game) in order to get your fly deep in a hurry. From Rockfish to salmon, I love a tug of war with one of these beautiful blue. Bad Ass Glass rods in my hand.

An Ocean coho to the Echo Bad Ass Glass.

A hatchery ocean coho to the Echo Bad Ass Glass.


Oregon Albacore in battle with Echo Prime.

Oregon Albacore in battle with Echo Prime.

EPR 10 wt to 12 wt
Prime 10 to 12 wt
Boost Salt 10 wt to 12 wt

I know that many people consider the 12 wt a baseline for offshore albacore fishing, but depending on the year, our Oregon tuna sometimes average 12 pounds, 16pounds, or in some years, 24 pounds. I have found the small tuna years perfectly suited to fishing sub-12 wt rods.

Sea Run Cutthroat:

Sea run cutthroat to the 4 wt Echo Base.

Sea run cutthroat to the 4 wt Echo Base.

Trout 4 wt 9 ft
Boost 4 wt 9 ft
Base 4 wt 8 ft
Dry 4 wt 9 ft

I considered the 6 and 7 wt my foundation for fishing sea run cutthroat in estuaries and coastal rivers. No more. Today I by far prefer the 4 wt fly rod and all of the Echo fly rods listed above are a delight to cast modest wet and dry flies to sea run and resident trout that range from 10 inches to a tad over 16 inches. This is fun fishing and the rods match perfectly with the fish and the fishing conditions.


Posted in Fly Fishing Gear Review, Oregon Salmon fly fishing, Oregon Saltwater Fishing | Leave a comment

Youth Gift Guide for the Young Fly Fisher 2019

In this video, Tim shows us some gift ideas for the young fly fisher in your life.

From youth fly rods to stylish hats, tying kits to fly boxes, practice rods to gift certificates, Caddisflyshop.com has something for everyone.

Visit Caddisflyshop.com or come by the shop for all your holiday gifts. Happy Holidays.

Gift Ideas:

MFC Flyweight Box

MFC River Camo Fly Box

Flyvines Original Fly Line Bracelet


Hairline Fly Tying Tool Kits

Echo Gecko Rod/Outfit

Fishpond Tenderfoot Youth Vest
Echo MPR (Micro Practice Rod)

Introduction to Fly Fishing Class (March-November)

Gift Certificates

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Fishpond Tacky Fly Boxes Video Overview

Five years ago, Tacky set out to create the most innovative fly box available to the fly fishing community. Finding a multitude of design flaws in traditional fly boxes, the minds at Tacky replaced traditional foam inserts with silicone and a durable plastic shell, and ditched the latched closure system for a magnetic, latchless solution. The result was the Tacky Original Box, featuring a no-memory insert that would not delaminate over time, an extremely durable outer shell that would not warp or crack under extreme temperatures, and a secure closure system which was much less prone to damage and failure. In the ensuing years the product line expanded to include a range of sizes and insert options, including a 3D silicone mat designed to protect downward facing tails and dry fly hackle.


Tacky Fly Boxes


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Casting Quickly on the Saltwater Flats – Jon Covich

Our friend Jon Covich, Cuba Travel expert for Fly Water Travel discusses his “fast” casting tactics for saltwater fly fishing in the video below.

Check out more from Jon Covich at his website: www.cubafishingoutfitters.com

Posted in Oregon Fly Fishing Tips | Leave a comment

Jay’s Crazy Charlie Variant Fly Tying Video

In this video, Jay ties up a variant on the Crazy Charlie Bonefish fly. A must-have pattern for fishing the salt. If you have a saltwater trip planned this winter make sure you have good supply of Crazy Charlie’s in pink, tan and white.


Hook: Gamakatsu SC15 Size 1
Eyes: Chicone’s Stealth Chain Eyes Large Tan
Thread: Danville’s 6/0 Light Pink
Body: Lagartun Pearl Flat braid light pink
Rib: Veevus Iridescent Thread Fl. Pink
UV: Loon Flow Thin
Legs: Chicone’s Barred Crusher Legs Fl. Orange/Clear
Wing: Sculpting Flash Fibre Pink
Wing: EP Fiber Flow Pink

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

Greg’s Wire Midge Fly Tying Video

The Wire Midge is a universal food source for trout that gets down deep where fish are feeding. Try different colors to suit your needs.


Hook: Tiemco 2487 Size 16-22
Thread: Veevus 8/0 Brown
Wire: Ultra Wire Amber/Silver Small
Thorax: Hareline Super Fine Dubbing Brown
Air Bubble: Krystal Flash Pearl

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

Jim Sens’ Hobo Spey Fly Tying Video

In this video, Jim Sens ties a Hobo Spey Steelhead Streamer Fly. This is a great pattern to use for Winter Steelheading and will fish in the middle-to-high water column. Come on by the shop to check out other Steelhead flies tied by Jim. Enjoy!



Hook: Aquaflies AquaTalon Swing Hooks #2
Power Pro Fishing Line: 40-50lb (available at Fred Meyers, Wal-Mart, Cabellas, Bass Pro)
Tubing: Pro Sportfisher Classic Tube

Fly Pattern:

Shank: Aquaflies Return Eye Shank 27mm
Thread: Danville’s 210 Denier Orange
Dubbing Bump: Ice Dub Shrimp Pink
Hackle: Strung Guinea Feathers Orange
Body: Ice Dub Green Caddis
Back Marabou: Fish Hunter Marabou Spey Blood Quill Dyed Burnt Orange
Accents: Hareline Lady Amherst Center Tail Orange
Front Marabou: Fish Hunter Marabou Spey Blood Quill Dark Olive
Flash: Krystal Flash Red
Ostrich: Intruder Feather Prop Hackle Olive
Head: Hareline Schlappen Black
Resin: Deer Creek UV Resin

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

Ten Favorite Things for Christmas and a Black Friday Deal

This Black Friday The Caddis Fly Angling Shop is offering 20% off all flies this Friday only. Stock up on your favorite patterns, create a selection for a gift, get the patterns you need for your next trip. Again all flies are 20% off for one day only. If you order online, use coupon code 20flies at checkout and the discount will be applied, if you come in the shop we will do the calculations for you.

Here are my top 10 Christmas gifts for the angler for 2019.



#1. The New Scott Sector – Hands down the best rod I have cast in a long time.


#2. Ross San Miguel – Some may remember this rediculously smooth and beautifully machined high gloss Ross Reel. If reels were fine jewelry the San Miguel is the Rolex. The San Miguel is back and available now.


#3. Dyna King Barracuda Deluxe Vise – You will have a hard time finding a better fly tying vise, hook holding, rotary, rock solid.


#4. New Tacky Fly Boxes - We have a new range of Tacky Boxes that are a no brainer gift, they are new, effective and everybody needs more than one!


#5. Fishpond Thunderhead Submersible Packs in Riverbed Camo – Fishpond has nailed it with this new camo pattern. Available in backpack, lumbar, and sling.

#6. Caddis Fly Gift Certificate = available to redeem online or in store.


#7. Echo Shadow X Euro Nymphing Rod or Outfit – No question the best Euro rod for the money on the market, if you or your angler gift recipient is interested in Euro/Tight Line Nymphing the Shadow X is killer.


#8. Hareline Fly Tying Kits – A great way to get someone started in fly tying.


#9. Sage Foundation Rod Reel Line Combo – Regularly priced at $550 this great outfit is on sale for $440 until December 6th, 2019.


#10. Loon Bench Rings – Cool new fly tying organizer that makes cleaning up the bench as easy as pie.

Posted in Fly Fishing Gear Review | Leave a comment

Echo Fly Rod Seasons of Pacific City: Winter/Spring

This is the first of three blog posts that will feature the Echo fly rods I fish through the seasons here in Pacific City.

Any fly angler located in Pacific City, Oregon who might be so-inclined can find some species of Pacific salmon to test during most months of the year, along with a solid bench of Echo fly rods and Airflo lines to effectively align angler skills, budget, and water conditions.

Winter / Spring in Pacific City is principally a winter steelhead season, but if the ocean permits, anyone who owns a dory boat, or who has friends with a dory, can venture nearshore in the ocean to catch black rockfish and lingcod. The little noticed species in winter spring is the coastal cutthroat that are full time estuary residents and may be sought out in the tidal flats any month of the year. The estuary sea-run cutthroat are sketchy fish to locate, but these challenging fish are wonderful quarry on small wet flies and buggers.

Prime hatchery winter steelhead from the 2019 season. This fish was taken swinging an unweighted Intruder on the <a href=

Echo Boost Salt 6 wt 9 ft rod and the Airflo Nymph/Indicator line.” width=”640″ height=”480″ /> Prime hatchery winter steelhead from the 2019 season. This fish was taken swinging an unweighted Intruder on the Echo Boost Salt 6 wt 9 ft rod and the Airflo Nymph/Indicator line.

The winter steelhead fishery can be extremely challenging to the fly angler, The Nestucca attracts fleets of anglers from Portland, Salem, and Eugene to drift and hike the banks in search of hatchery and wild winter steelhead.

Rivers within 90 minutes north and south of the Nestucca provide alternate angling destinations between November and March, but nearly all are bank-full with boats whenever the waters are that beautiful steelhead green we all hope to fish.

Nestucca Estuary Cutthroat

Nestucca Estuary Cutthroat

My greatest hope for winter season steelhead involve times when the rivers are too high or too low for anything like optimum fishing conditions. These are the times when I tend to prowl about in search of the few fish that have not seen a jig, worm, bead, bait, or hotshot in the last 254 hours.

Over crowding of  our public angling waters seems a fact of life these days, and I find the estuary and the ocean a pleasant respite whenever I’m able to fish less populated waters.

My favorite Echo fly rods for winter season steelhead include the following:

Base 8 wt: In a time when two hand rods he most basic 9 ft single hand fly rod for steelhead

Full Spey 7 wt: This 13 ft rod is Echo’s top of the line spey rod that lives in the world of high performance blank materials and finish components. If you are looking for the best stuff on the market, this is the Echo spey rod for you. Think lighter, faster, powerful, and similar descriptive terms designed to promote the top-tier fly fishing gear, and apply here, because it fits.

Compact Spey 7 wt:  These rods at 12 ft instead of 13 ft are a top-notch version of the Full Spey that are designed for anglers who are more comfortable with the slightly shorter fly delivery platform. I actually prefer the Compact Spey when I’m fishing Oregon Coastal Rivers precisely because there are so many places where I fish that are backed with trees.

Echo TR 6 wt:  There isn’t much I can add to what thousands of fly anglers have learned over many years, The Tim Rajeff spey rod is tough, casts like a champion, and will run down most right sized target species from large trout to salmon all around the world. I’ve chosen a 6 rather than a 7 wt in the TR series because, well, because……

SR 7 wt: My favorite Echo Switch rod at 10 ft 6 in

Swing 8 wt :  At 11 ft 8 in – the very modestly priced Swing fits between the switch and full spey two hand fly rod classes. The Swing series includes line classes 6 – 8 in mid 11 ft and mid 12 ft lengths, making this a very affordable option for entering or diversifying your two hand fly rod options.

OHS One Hand Spey 7 wt: A much under-rated and under appreciated rod at 10 ft 4 in is possibly more versatile than the SR, with the OHS rod handle and overall length slightly shorter and thusly suitable to fish under the trees that are so common in the upper reaches of coastal rivers. This rod also excels fishing from boats.

My 2019 winter steelhead season was pretty skinny, with two hatchery steelhead to hand for perhaps 8-10 days on the river. I’m grateful for those fish and looking forward with optimism for the season unfolding in November 2019.

Jay Nicholas

This glass bead Bugger is one of my favorite estuary cutthroat flies.

This glass bead Bugger is one of my favorite estuary cutthroat flies.

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