Who We Are Series 6: Jay Nicholas

This series of posts is meant to introduce all of you terrific tiers and cool customers to our small, but fantastic team of anglers here at The Caddis Fly Angling Shop. Each employee answered a number of questions about their fishing expertise, their favorite style of fishing and fishing products. Each week we will publish another employee’s answers to these questions to let you know Who We Are. This series will hopefully give you a peak into who we are, how we fish, and who you are chatting with when you next call or email Caddis.

Who: Jay Nicholas. OregonFlyFishingBlog blogger, writer and general Expert Angler

Jay Nicholas - circa 1980

Jay Nicholas on Elk River – circa 1980 – Photo by Bob Hooton

Time at Caddis: My support for the Shop began in about 2008.

Are you a Eugene local, or are you a transplant? 

I’ve called Corvallis my home off and on since starting college in 1967. A few years in the US Navy and an ODFW assignment at Elk River were temporary adventures away from my Valley “hometown”. I’m classified as a client service specialist and provide general support to Chris and the Shop staff – plus creating video and blog content. I’ve probably produced close to a hundred fly videos on the blog. My support for the Shop began in about 2008.

How many years have you been fly fishing?

I’ve been fly fishing since about 1962 or 63.

Jay Nicholas circa 2015

Jay Nicholas at the fly bench – circa 2015

What is your favorite rod and reel combo?

Impossible to answer with one product.

I fish Echo, Winston, Scott, Sage, Redington, and Burkheimer rods with Hatch, Nautilus, Hardy, and Bauer reels – whether fishing freshwater estuary or ocean – I love ’em all, from 3 wt. glass switch rods, 4 wt. single hand rods, clear up to powerful 12 wt rods that I fish for Tuna in the ocean.

Wet wade or float, and why?

Yes – I do it all from the upper coast range to the ocean. I follow the fish of the season.

Dry fly, streamer or nymph–and do you tie them?

Yes to all. And I tie ’em all too. That said, my days of tying size #22 dry flies and nymphs are done for good. These days my favorite flies are certainly in the steelhead and salmon demographic, with sea run cutthroat flies in close order.

Spey or single hand cast? 

Of course. I may fish a single hand rod for salmon for three months straight, followed by four months swinging flies on two hand switch and spey rods.

Salt or Freshwater?

Yep. My freshwater season is year-round, but the ocean season is weather dependent, and I hope for April through September.

Jay on the ocean circa 2016

Jay on the ocean circa 2016

Where have you fished?

States: California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Georgia, British Columbia

Waters: Cascade Lakes, Oregon Coastal Rivers, Columbia River Tributaries (Deschutes, John Day), Northern CA Coastal Rivers, Klamath waters, Dean River, Bella Coola River, Gold River, *Pacific City (OR)

What is your favorite part about working at Caddis?

Great people. I especially enjoy working with Chris. This man knows no limits to energy, creativity, and imagination. It is common for us to be on the phone or chatting by email at 5 AM and then he will head out to the river to guide or into the shop to help fill orders and meet with Industry Reps.

When a fellow angler asks, “What is the biggest fish you have ever caught?” what is your answer? 

The next fish I hook.

Jay is one of the most prolific tiers on the West coast, if not in the fly fishing industry. Just last month we put a box of Jay Exclusive streamers and articulated flies up front that had more flies than we could count–and he’s still tying! Many of the tying videos on our caddisflyshop youtube channel are sessions with Jay. He is a wonderful teacher and a great example for all levels of fly tiers.

As an author, Jay has written numerous books about subjects ranging from fly tying to the art of fly fishing itself, available at The Caddis Fly Shop. He is also one of the main contributions to oregonflyfishingblog.com. Even more of his writing can be found at his personal blog, https://fishingwithjay.wordpress.com.

Jay is having some fun here during winter steelhead season.

Jay is having some fun here during winter steelhead season.

He isn’t normally found in shop, but some Saturdays you can find him doing tying demonstrations in the back by the Patagonia duffels and sling packs. We’ll keep you posted right here with updates on the next chance to meet and chat with Jay; conversing with him about fly fishing, tying or truly any subject is a wonderful learning experience.

Want to know more about the Caddis Fly? Visit our website’s About page at this link and feel free to call or email us any time at our contacts below:



Tight lines until next time!

The Caddis Fly Crew
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3 Responses to Who We Are Series 6: Jay Nicholas

  1. david jensen says:

    Jay is as talented as it gets. Even better, he is incredibly generous with his time to help an angler asking for help. I would have never joined the Chinook fly fraternity without Jay’s help, for which I am so grateful.

  2. Oregon Fly Fishing Blog says:

    Thank you for your kind words David. I’m hoping to produce more updated videos in the near future. JN

  3. Bob Kray says:

    Please deliver this message to Jay. Jay, I have been meaning to get in touch since I got you book, Modern Steelhead Flies. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading and re-reading it several times. It’s the best of it’s kind I have ever read (and I have done a lot of reading on my favorite subject, steelhead!).
    The photography and layout, particularly the descriptions of materials and tying order, as well as detailed photos of the materials used in each pattern are exceptional. The insights shared by and about our fellow steelheaders is outstanding. Congratulations on a project well done, by you, Rob, and Jon. Best regards, Bob Kray. rjkray1@gmail.com

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