"Winter" soft hackles!

Discussion in 'Stillwater' started by Drifter, Oct 31, 2013.

  1. This is a response to Rudedawg's post (coldwater thread) and an added discussion to Greg's sippers thread.

    I thought I would share how i approach the cold water months with lake sippers and cold temps. My experience is with coldwater lake being pretty high in altitude. At this lake I have witnessed a few winter hatches and have shared before on the subject like last year. during the cold water months I do not see many "black" midges or even remotely dark colored flies in the air or water. I do notice a light gray or white midge coming off a lot. I have also watched traveling caddis in a tan color flying along the banks in 6 inches of snow! not a lot of them but they are present where I fish all winter long. The light colored midge is what was wrote when I asked in the bug forum cold be the "glass midge" I really don't know what hatch it is but it is small and very light colored so I tied some patterns to match this hatch and thought I would share like I did last winter. I had to take new pictures of flies because I lost all my pics this summer.

    First the light colored midge I simply call the "winter midge" first pattern I developed was a simple, small #16 to 18 on a scud hook of just dubbing and light wire. When it comes to tying tiny flies I try and keep it simple. View attachment 34541 Along with partridge soft hackle, I will also use one blue dun hackle feather lightly wrapped. View attachment 34548 View attachment 34549

    when going to larger sizes I start adding material like soft hackle and beads and eyes! the larger the flythe more detail I try and use. View attachment 34542 View attachment 34543 View attachment 34544 View attachment 34545 View attachment 34546 View attachment 34547

    A few of the keys to this pattern are using "white" tying thread so the pattern stays light in color. I also use a clear shiny material for the body so it looks transparent, the pics do not show that but it's there, and using the white thread under this material (found at local fabric store) keeps the pattern light! most of these patterns are from last winter and still have tippet on them and are quite beat up for good reason - they worked! These are my favorite patterns for chasing sippers during winter.

    Now for the caddis pattern = Just like my "winter midge" when tying small I go simple dubbing
    View attachment 34550

    When going larger I start making it look better or more detail.
    View attachment 34551 View attachment 34552 View attachment 34553 View attachment 34554

    As you can see all my soft hackles are on "scud" hooks. The reason why is I believe they are stronger and have an bigger gap in the smaller sizes to hook more meat to land larger fish. Also almost all of my softies are weighted, if they don't have a bead head or bead chain eye's they have 3 to 5 turns of lead wire. like mentioned emergers also work, I like to get in front of pods of feeding fish and cast 10 to 15 feet ahead of the pod and let the fly sink some. when I think the pod is close I will "pop it upwards" in small strips rising the fly! When pulled slow they stay pretty close to the top of the water or surface film. I can also use these under indicators but like the caddis pattern best for that use.

    Just my take! open for discussion!!!
  2. Great descriptions and photos Mark - thanks!
  3. Solid post, well done. I have had similar experience with small white, almost silver in color flies being very effective. One day on the lower Snoqualmie, a small very silver color emerger is all they would hit. A pattern similar to your second picture with white hackle.

    Mark Kraniger likes this.
  4. Great info as usual Mark. You are a great addition to this forum!
  5. Great information and pictures, Mark.
    Thanks for posting. I think I have found a use for those size 16 and 18 hooks that are so hard to tie.

    How about I make some white soft hackles?
    Mark Kraniger likes this.
  6. Yes, thanks for all that!
  7. Thanks for information and pics. I've overlooked light colored midges for too long.

  8. Great offering. Thanks.
  9. Thanks Mark I'll give it a try Them sippers baffle me?
  10. As usual....great info and pics....thanks Mark.

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