Stillwater Soft hackles

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Stillwater Soft hackles

Postby paparex » Sun Jun 25, 2017 4:02 pm

I love to fish lakes, reservoirs and such. With the abundant snow pack in the Northern Rockies we still have high water flows that make it difficult to wade and nearly impossible for me to safely wade. So back to the stillwater.

I usually fish for trout and have found a few callibaetis patterns I like. I am in the midst of tying a set of soft hackle styles recommended by another fisher/tier for callibaetis but usually run into problems with my own creativity. My fall back stillwater soft hackle is Pheasant Tail tail and body, wire wrapped, peacock herl thorax and Partridge hackle or other stripped hackle works well. I think it is pretty well a common enough pattern that it shows up in many similar materials for an all purpose fly. I guess Wooley Buggers can come close to the definition of a soft hackle but I prefer this question to reflect non-palmered hackled flies.

What are some of your favorite soft hackle flies for still waters?
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Re: Stillwater Soft hackles

Postby zen leecher » Mon Jun 26, 2017 9:37 am

Mine is a partidge and orange. I had one pond I'd fish it in. Throw it out and let it sink to the bottom (if no fish hit it) and when I'd see a fish swimming near I'd lift it up. Almost always they'd hit it on the lift. It was close to a guarantee.
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Re: Stillwater Soft hackles

Postby paparex » Mon Jun 26, 2017 10:43 am

The P&O...larger than a #12?
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Re: Stillwater Soft hackles

Postby zen leecher » Mon Jun 26, 2017 11:23 am

my preference was a #14. I usually used a #3399 Mustad as I was cheap.
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Re: Stillwater Soft hackles

Postby letumgo » Mon Jun 26, 2017 11:42 am

Rex,

I recommend looking into the stillwater patterns of Denny Rickards, Brian Chan, Phil Rowley, and Skip Morris. Each of these guys have published books on stillwater fly fishing, and each of them offer a range of different fly patterns, including soft hackles. Denny Rickards has some of my favorite patterns. All of the books these gentleman have written are excellent.

Another author you may want to look into is Michael Gorman. He has a stillwater fly fishing book listed on Amazon. I have not read this book, so cannot offer feedback.
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Re: Stillwater Soft hackles

Postby tie2fish » Mon Jun 26, 2017 12:42 pm

A few years ago a member known as "Izaak" posted a photo of his Callibaetis nymph that I really liked, even though I don't fish still water. Here's my poor variation on it ...

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Re: Stillwater Soft hackles

Postby Old Hat » Mon Jun 26, 2017 2:08 pm

So here is what I have come to conclude with stillwater sofhackles. Movement. Exaggerate the movement. Most stillwater mayflies, caddis, chironomids and insects in general have large gills and features for swimming. Exaggerate those. If fishing a spider type pattern, like a P&O, lengthen the hackle. I go long on the hackle for these to so that the hackles will fold behind the fly and "swim" when fly is worked back in. A partridge and green, red and orange all are good producers. I normally fish them in #12.

I have 2 flies that have far and away been my top two soft hackle producers not to mention at the top of all my stillwater flies. Unfortunately I cannot post photos as the this site tells me that "Sorry, the board attachment quota has been reached" every time I try to post a photo.

One is a callibeatis emerger which fishes just under the surface during hatches. The other is a damsel fly nymph pattern. I have posted them on here but it was a few years ago.

Edit: Ok, I found them in my Google album. Sorry if they post large.

This is the Callibeatis Emerger. Easy pattern.

Hook: light wire
Thread: brown
Tail/Body: 3 strands of ostrich herl. (2 natural, 1 brown). Use the tips for tails and the rest for the body.
Rib: fine silver wire
Thorax: ostrich herl, brown. I just wrap all three herls together until I reach the thorax, then tie off the natural and keep wrapping just the brown to the eye.
Hackle: partridge

Image

This is the damsel nymph pattern. Tied just like the callibeatis but add a small black or nickel bead head. Adjust the color of the fly with any proportion of 3 strands of ostrich. Damsel fly nymphs come in all colors depending on their environment. Short strip and pause repeated, the bead will go up and down and swim the fly correctly.

Image

This also has been a great stillwater caddis pattern for me. Natural Peacock body, dyed dun peacock thorax, partridge hackle and head dubbed with mole.

Image

Then of course you can't go without the classic, Trueblood Otter Nymph. Otter and seal dubbing, partridge tail and throat.

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Re: Stillwater Soft hackles

Postby Roadkill » Mon Jun 26, 2017 6:02 pm

Don't ignore Dragonfly patterns if the usual mayfly and caddis are not working or you want bigger fish! ;)
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Re: Stillwater Soft hackles

Postby Old Hat » Mon Jun 26, 2017 8:04 pm

What soft hackle patterns do you use for dragon flies Bill? I would like to see them.
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Re: Stillwater Soft hackles

Postby Roadkill » Tue Jun 27, 2017 10:12 am

Carl,
I love your emerger and damsel patterns! 8-) Have to tie some up. ;)

I use the old Carey Special or variations of it in different chenille colors or peacock.

If I am really serious about fishing Dragons, I also keep a variety of Dragonfly nymphs in my float tube I got from veteran tyers- Randall Kaufman's Floating Dragon, Reg Denny's 007 Dragon and Clayne Baker's Dragonfly Nymph. I have a number of my own variations as well.
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