The Hatch

Know Your Guide: Jake Nelsen

By March 29, 2018 April 14th, 2018 No Comments

As soon as Jake could walk, his fishing boots were on and his pole was in his hand. He grew up on a river in Western Washington and the sight and sounds of low tide are some of his favorite fishing memories. When the King salmon would arrive in September, Jake and his cousins were at the edge of the shore waiting for them.  

Born and raised in Edison Washington, a quaint prairie-flat farmland that sits between the dramatic Cascade Range and the inland waters of the Pacific Ocean, Jake was introduced to fishing, hiking, and duck hunting at an early age. This admiration for the outdoors only grew when he began exploring Alaska in late 90’s. Jake spent four summers working for the Forest Service, fighting wildland fires, building cabins and maintaining trails. Without hesitation, his refers to this rugged and alive territory as his home away from home.

As one of the Rocky Mountain states, Idaho started to call Jake’s name through its astonishing array of truly beautiful peaks, the diversity of watersheds, and expansive National Forest system. Among his favorite fishing destinations is the Salmon River for its diversity of the fish species, including Salmon and Steelhead. With over 200 miles of rivers to explore, the Salmon River spans between the outposts of Salmon and Riggins, Idaho, and earned its name “The River of No Return” from being described as a one-way street, by pioneers, due to the currents.

Jake’s transformation into fly fishing began in 1993 and as his love for the sport grew, so did his desire to become a guide. In 2011 he joined the team at Silver Creek Outfitters to share his passion with others. “I truly do love guiding. I absolutely love fish, water, creeks, rivers and fishing.” His love of guiding also sends him outside the country’s border. In the Spring, he guides week long fishing and adventure trips throughout the European countries Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia.

Jake’s door is always open for beginners looking to learn more about fly fishing, or experienced anglers new to the area. For all beginners or anyone new to the area who would like to learn more, Jake’s is always (or most of the time at least) available for questions or any advice. He recommends to hire a guide for a day or two then venture out on to the river to try the sport on your own. Additionally, his tips include but are not limited to exploring different techniques and flies. Watch the fish closely and the bugs. Be patient. “Often, it’s not the right or wrong fly, but the presentation of the fly that matters most,” Jake said.  Throughout fly fishing season, Jake uses a system he calls the “Grenade” (a name he credits to fly fishing/guiding mentor, Brett Drummond).

With the help of his dedicated business partner (a yellow lab named Carl), Jake finds ways to keep himself busy with the change of each season. Long, hot days and wet wading make Summer Jake’s favorite season. As the days grow shorter and the temperature cools, he hangs up his fishing rods, dusts off his hunting gear, and becomes a guide during the deer and elk hunting season. When the holiday season approaches, Jake flips the sign on his 13-year-old Christmas tree business to “Open”, and helps families in the Wood River Valley pick out the perfect tree to decorate their living rooms.

For fly fishing or any outdoor adventure, Jakes encourages everyone to think outside the box, listen to your guide, and ask questions. But most importantly, enjoy yourself and take it all in.

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