Your favorite "STILLWATER SOFT HACKLE"

Discussion in 'Stillwater' started by Drifter, Feb 16, 2012.

  1. Drifter

    Drifter Active Member

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    I had posted this softy in the fly tying thread awhile back and thought I would post it here in the stillwater thread. this fly worked in two different lakes last fall for sippers. slow rising fish making little dimples in the surface. I tie this fly weighted so when need-be I can let it sink a few feet for fish that are feeding alittle deeper then the fish sipping the surface, many times pods of fish would be sipping and if the fish I target does not take I will let this fly sink and watch the leader for movement and set the hook. most times there were just as many fish feeding 2 or 3 feet down as there were sipping at the surface or in the surface film.

    Its just a clear shinny body with light grey-white-or tan dubbing with partridge or guinea soft hackle. the dubbing helps hide the wrapped in lead right before the hackle. I also tie in a antron shuck for tail sometimes.

    Lets see some of your favorite softies for lakes!

    View attachment 48440 View attachment 48441 View attachment 48442
     
  2. troutpocket

    troutpocket Active Member

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    Mark-

    This is another pattern of yours that I am going to fish this spring. Last spring I witnessed an early March chironomid eruption that had the fish up on the surface and surprisingly picky. In the back of my mind I thought a soft-hackle chromie might be worth trying.

    View attachment 48443

    I added a small bead instead of lead wraps and a red wire rib because I wanted one :)
     
  3. Drifter

    Drifter Active Member

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    I like it! One reason I tied the fly with only a few wraps of 010 (3 to 5 wraps) was so it would stay up in the surface film. when fishing sizes in 16-18 sometimes I have to pull on the line to make it brake through the surface. moving it ever so slowly keeps it in the film, when I want it to sink it sinks very-very-slowly. I was able to watch fish in 2 to 4 ft. of water at merrill last year react to this pattern. some fish would come up and take it but most times I would let it sink, the slow sink I think is what triggered the strike from some 50 fish that day. I could also let it sink just above bottom and then very slow pulls would bring the fly back up for another very slow sink.

    Over deep water sippers, I can grease a 16 ft. leader to about 3 feet from the fly, now when I let it sink it wont pull the greased leader under so I can watch the leader for a strike indicator, and it wont sink past 3 feet or if it does take the greased leader under it does it at such a slow rate that you can tell when a strike happens! with dubbing and hackle the fly sinks and rises very-very slow, letting you be able to pull not strip the fly for movement. most of the time I am fishing these from size 14 to 18 and only on scud hooks - (mostly #16 - 18) making them as small and strong as I can.

    like you I ran into very "PICKY" sippers barely swimming and nosing the surface - telling me the insect was not moving fast at all, or not moving period. Most times I can not see the insects they are rising on out over the deep water, could be clear bodied scuds or "FAILED" clear or light grey colored chiro hatches. At one lake I did see a very light grey chiro in the shallows tumbling on the surface from a slight wind. at merrill both light tan caddis and light grey colored chiro's were hatching in an old spring creek channel in very shallow crystal clear water when this fly gave me an epic day on the water! TIGHT LINES!
     
  4. Nick Clayton

    Nick Clayton Active Member

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    Soft hackles....now were talking! One of my absolute favorite flies. I can't count how many evenings I have spent watching trout sipping something just under the surface. I could never catch these fish with consistancy until a fellow forum member sent me a nice letter with about a dozen soft hackles along with recipes and suggestions for how to fish them. After some experimenting I settled on a simple pattern of just a floss or thread body and a turn or two of partridge. Personaly my favorite pattern for my local lakes is a carrot colored body. I have them in all sorts of colors but the orange seldom fails me when the locals are sipping.

    I have never tied them weighted but I may give it a try. I like to use sink goop to get the fly under the surface but a slightly weighted version could be handy. I do use one pattern that is just a brass or copper wire body that I use when I want to add weight.

    Trout, I really like that pattern. I will be trying that one myself. I am completely set to start tying again. First on the agenda is some micro leeches, then small bunny leeches. I'm thinking a trip to the fly shop for soft hackle ingredients will be my next stop
     
  5. Rob Ast

    Rob Ast Active Member

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    I love the old classic peacock and starling. As it sounds, body of peacock herl with a 2-3 wraps of starling hackle at the head.
     
  6. Tom Bowden

    Tom Bowden Active Member

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    I use a soft-hackle fly I call the "All Washington Emerger," made entirely of materials from our State. It makes a great callibaetis emerger when tied sparsely. Here's the pattern.

    Tail: Moose mane fibers from an animal my brother-in-law shot in NE Washington many years ago after drawing a permit.
    Body: Winter muskrat fur trapped by a guy I met at Chopaka
    Rib: Copper wire purchased at McClendon Hardware
    Hackle: Hungarian partridge from the days I had dogs & was an avid hunter (many years ago)
     
  7. scottflycst

    scottflycst Active Member

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    The standard yellow and partridge has caught alot of lake fish for me especially when the fish are persnickety. My fav is the six-pack improved, second place winner would be a McGinty spider.
     
  8. Dave Boyle

    Dave Boyle Active Member

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    I'm with Rob,

    for small flies starlings give a great hackle, ~ a 14 is best. In the UK one of the original 'black' spider dressings used a brown silk body with starling hackle. They're very soft and being more like hen a lot easier to ie than partridge. BTW, I bought an olive partidge skin a while back and it's a royal pain in the arse re breaking at the tip in the hackle pliers after 1 turn. It was from a good fly gear company and not cheap. I'm not the worlds most sensitive guy but I'm hardly a beast tying, is this due to me re technique (highly probably) or due to the cape being over bleached before dying (perhaps a possibility)? Perhaps for a differnt post but how does one get around delicate hackles like partridge to tie a cool fly like the patterns Mark describe. I will be trying some of these. I haven't tried a greased leader on the dead drop for over a decxade, time to start again. I used to use this with a lightly tied damsel, it would sink and eventually pull down even the greased cast but on too many occasions even the tip of the fly line would just slide to one side, fish on :) I've still got the mucillin pot in my vest. Great thread.

    Cheers,

    Dave
     
  9. troutpocket

    troutpocket Active Member

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    I won't speak for Mark, but the way I learned prep soft hackle feathers is to hold the feather at the tip and stroke the fibers back towards the stem. This gives you a "split" between the short tip fibers and longer side fibers on the feather. Tie in at that split, wrap the hackle with hackle pliers holding the stem, tie off, and trip the stem and tip. I still break the occasional stem but it's uncommon.
     
  10. Olive bugger

    Olive bugger Active Member

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    Well, my favorite soft hackle is the Partridge and Orange, tied sparse, no thorax.
    Althought I also like the Partridge and Peacock tied the same way.

    I think this year I will fish the stillwaters with a box filled with soft hackles, scuds, buggers and
    a few dragon and damsels.
     
  11. Drifter

    Drifter Active Member

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    Gotta love it! the partridge is from an eastern oregon hunt i did this last fall - did up six capes - should last awhile ;-)~

    View attachment 48452

    This pics was after they had dried and I had already brushed off most of the drying powder.

    I have chuckar capes drying right now!
     
  12. Drifter

    Drifter Active Member

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    I also have a hard time working with the ultra small soft hackles. Watched alot of youtube videos with other people working with it - it helped!
     
  13. Jim Wallace

    Jim Wallace Smells like low tide

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    I have one I whipped up that worked great on coastal cutts and even fooled a kokanee in Beaver Lake, a northwestern OP lake. I fished it off a clear intermediate. I only tied two. Lost one somewhere on a tidal creek , and the one I have left is shredded from all the little lake cutthroats that were chewing on it. I was surprised that a small (7") kokanee ate it. I hadn't even been aware that any were in the lake.

    Hook is TMC 2457 #12 or #10
    Black 6/0 thread
    Tail and body are yellow floss. (Floss is tied in with a short tag sticking out as tail)
    Thorax is two wraps of opalescent olive petite estaz
    Hackle is 2 or 3 wraps of olive dyed hen saddle, or olive dyed badger saddle. Either should work. I think I used the olive hen saddle on the one I lost, and the badger on the other that fooled al the little gullible cutthroat. The badger lends it a darker look around the base of the hackle.

    I cast it out on my clear intermediate, let it sink, and hand-twist retrieve, or use short strips.
     
  14. Jim Wallace

    Jim Wallace Smells like low tide

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    Question: If I wanted to harvest a Starling from the flock that frequents my yard, for the purpose of using its feathers for soft hackle flies, would it be the male that I set my sights on?
     
  15. Olive bugger

    Olive bugger Active Member

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    Go for the one that looks "FISHY".

    I would think the male because of the brighter plumage in the male.
     
  16. Irafly

    Irafly Active Member

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    I thought that it might be illegal to harvest starlings, so I just looked it up on the wdfw web site and they made it clear that eggs, young, male, female, elderly, etc... are fair game! Harvest away and maybe you could send some of the feathers to the rest of us as well.

    Just out of curiosity, would a Carey special be considered a soft hackle? If so I think that it gets my vote.
     
  17. Olive bugger

    Olive bugger Active Member

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    Now that is an interesting question. I suppose that if you tied it with a thin body and sparse
    collar, it could be construed to be one.
     
  18. Dave Boyle

    Dave Boyle Active Member

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    Thanks Troutpocket,

    a bit counterintuitive for hackle tying but it makes sense to tie in the least strong part and with each wrap you end up stronger each time. I'll have to give it a go. Didn't think re Utube, I'll have a look there too. Re starlings, I'd shoot the largers one if there's a clearish difference between them. The hackes are small to v. small.

    Dave
     
  19. Kevin Ryan

    Kevin Ryan Member

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    Question and comment: Scotflycst, I know the good old Six Pack and its story, but what is the "Improved Six Pack", if you please?

    And comment, it's always open season on Starlings. A friend of mine who is an avid birder, unaffectionately, refers to them as "sky rats". As you may know, The American Acclimatization Society, believing that America should be blessed with all the bird species mentioned in Shakespeare's plays, released hundreds of the "sky rats" in New Yorks Central Park in 1890 and 1891. We have been trying to keep them in check ever since.
     
  20. Befishin

    Befishin Member

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    It's a little known fact that Grayland Starlings are gay...either one will do.
     

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