Fishing soft hackle flies in stillwater

Discussion in 'Stillwater' started by Olive bugger, May 23, 2012.

  1. This is one of my favorite flies for still water fishing. I like it for the ease of tying, color variation and action in the water. I am still trying to figure out why the orange and red seem to work so well, but I guess the fish will not share that secret with me. The nice part about it is that you can tie it with just about any material that suits your fancy. It may not impress the trout, but then again, so many of my offerings do not impress the trout.

    Anybody else hold a reverence to this type of fly for flat water?

    I understand that the spider type flies are also great for steelhead.
    atomic dog likes this.
  2. I'm right there with ya Charlie. I look for any excuse to tie on a softy. Easyto tie.and just flat out works. One of my go to patterns on my local lakes
  3. Nice looking patterns Brad. I am thinking of trying some in the local pond. I have never fished it with flies. This might be the year.

    Nick, I have never had a problem catching a fish with the orange
    and partridge with a bit of trailing krystal Flash. They must take it for a trailing shuck.
  4. As a dropper off of a dry fly it works quite well. Especially in those lakes that have decent caddis activity.
  5. Partridge and orange works for me fairly often as well. Partridge and green too.

    My #1 go-to lake fly is a Doc Spratley-style fly with a soft-hackle collar instead of a wing. If I want to match a particular bug, it's easy enough to give this fly a haircut right on the water. A snip here, a snip there and oua la! A passable mayfly nymph.

    Aside from their effectiveness, there is something about catching fish on old traditional flies...
  6. I recently tied a bunch of soft hackles and I am headed up to leech lake for the weekend. I was curious what presentation you guys are using on still water. I was thinking of using them in conjunction with a nymph using indicator tactics or fished off a Wolly bugger on a sinking line.
  7. I am not smart enough to handle two flies on one line. I use them mostly to cast into the bank or weed beds from deeper water, on a slow sinking line or a floater with a fluorocarbon tippet. Fishing from shore, I would probably use a full floater with a little longer leader.

    Work the fly slowly and allow the "legs" to move. Two things about the fly series. The fish have to see it so I like brighter colors in daytime, and it must move slowly to allow the legs to work. If you troll the fly I would recommend a slow troll. If you use it with a dropper keep that in mind. I like to troll my Olive buggers a little faster than the softies.

    Give us a report on how you do at the lake.
    Duane J likes this.
  8. Too much snow and ice on Leech still. went to packwood instead. Caught a couple little trout they liked the Orange soft hackle.
  9. :) I found some orange and silver braid that that I want to try.
  10. A soft hackle off a floater fished tight up to the shoreline is usually my first choice when starting out on a lake. I have a couple patterns that work so well that they often end up being a chewed mass with little resemblance to their original profile, yet the fish still just hammer 'em.

    I'm a big fan of peacock herl as a body material. There's just something about that iridescent green that draws fish like Power Bait.

    Mark Kraniger likes this.
  11. Hey Kent,

    As someone new to tying and fishing soft hackles, do you want to share your killer "close to shore" soft hackle patterns?

  12. Yes I was wondering if your close to shore wet flies meant damsel nymph size or midge size?

  13. Some I have posted before - my softies for both under sippers 001.jpg View attachment 15519 sippers 003.jpg sippers 004.jpg surface
    and indi fishing.

    tungsten beads for indicator fishing.
    tungston softy\'s 001.jpg tungston softy\'s 003.jpg
  14. More tungsten bead softies - and bead chain indi softies
    tungston softy\'s 010.jpg tungston softy\'s 019.jpg tungston softy\'s 021.jpg tungston softy\'s 016.jpg
    Topstoy and Ron McNeal like this.
  15. Some great looking flies there, Mark!

    As to how to fish soft hackles – one reason I like using them is the incredible variety of ways to present them. Whatever the fish want to see that day, your soft hackles can do it.

    At a gin-clear lowland lake last week they wanted it slow and realistic. A slow hand-twist retrieve with an occasional pause to let it sink was the trick. Took me all morning trying various retrieves to figure this out, but once I got their attention, it was a fish on every cast.

    I guess what I'm saying is...try everything. Heck, even a totally unrealistic fast strip, or trolling like the devil is on my heels, have both worked in the past. Watch what's happening on the lake. If a hatch is on, they might take it rising or falling. If damselflies are out, cast out from near a reedy spot on the shoreline and walk it in like a nymph coming up from the depths to emerge.

    Soft hackle wet flies are some of the most versatile patterns in the box.
    Topstoy and Ron McNeal like this.
  16. PM sent.

  17. Jay, I don't have much patience for bobber staring so I'm a cast-and-strip kinda fisherman. One of my favorite patterns is a peacock and partridge on a size 12 hook.

  18. Very nice, nice to see this shared info and advise on presentation. So many folks want to hold their cards very close to there chest. This helps broaden my options, thank you!
  19. One of my favorite flies from my childhood was a peacock herl Carey special. they seem to work form size 8 long shank all the way down to 14 or smaller. On the small ones I sub partridge for the pheasent rump. These work great and imitate almost anything from dragonflies to chironimids.

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