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Old 02-20-2013, 03:45 PM
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Default soft hackles for brook trout? (not on swing)

HI - anyone have success fishing brook trout on soft hackles? I am a huge soft hackle fan for panfish, and tie a TON of them on my pheasant roosters (from hunting last winter) which make excellent hackles for this. I tie the "pheasant" and yellow, orange, green etc. Also some with peacock herl bodies, etc.

I took up fishing for brook trout recently and wondered whether these are ever used, or are considered effective, etc. Since a lot of brook trout streams a small -- I though the traditional swing might not be used....but I catch panfish like crazy on stillwater just using rod twitches like a spinning rod .

I got my 1st brook trout on a brassie nymph this past weekend -- which got me to thinking about using my soft hackles.

What do you think? Give it try?
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Old 02-20-2013, 03:48 PM
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Default Re: soft hackles for brook trout? (not on swing)

Oh yeah, I use them all the time. The Red Tag pattern tied with a soft Grizzly hackle instead of brown worked great for me.
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Old 02-20-2013, 04:01 PM
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Default Re: soft hackles for brook trout? (not on swing)

Cool. Do you swing 'em, strip 'em, dead drift under an indicator like a nymph?
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Old 02-20-2013, 05:03 PM
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Default Re: soft hackles for brook trout? (not on swing)

All the above actually. Many of the spots I fish are tricky with lots of hazards. Some places I'd like to swing but can't, others dead drift nymph style,but submerged dead fall prevents it. Many times I am above the pool and cast down stream with enough line out that it drifts. At the end of the drift can be a sweet spot just as the tension starts to affect and steer the fly.

---------- Post added at 07:03 PM ---------- Previous post was at 06:36 PM ----------

Ha-haa You got me thinkin' about one of my favorites, so I tied one up to show you. I added the silver wrap and used jungle cock soft hackles instead of grizzly. I like the color effect of this hackle better. I took many a brookie with this simple pattern.

Click the image to open in full size.

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Old 02-20-2013, 05:19 PM
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Default Re: soft hackles for brook trout? (not on swing)

I dead drift them. From time to time I'll fish them in nice clear water and get a good look as they drift by. I find the current imparts nice action to the hackle even when dead drifted. Often finish with a sort of swing at the end of the drift if there's room.
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Old 02-20-2013, 05:59 PM
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Default Re: soft hackles for brook trout? (not on swing)

IMO, soft hackle flies are great for many species. Most folks think of soft hackle flies for trout as the variety Sylvester Nemes touted, and that would be very true. But, there were earlier types used for bass also. You can tie them larger & they work well for both Smallmouths & Largemouths.

Some of the larger pheasant body feathers work particularly well.

Use your imagination!

When I was younger & spent more time trout fishing, I would go up to Hunting Creek & a few other streams near Frederick, MD & although I really didn't know it at the time what type of flies they were, as they were just simplified wet flies that I had tied, & would have some success with native Brook Trout on soft hackles.

I'm particularly fond of a pattern tied with a caddis green (chartreuse) body & a brown speckled hen hackle!
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Old 02-20-2013, 07:29 PM
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Default Re: soft hackles for brook trout? (not on swing)

Aside from swinging them, dead drifting them I had a lot of luck last year stripping them, almost like you would a streamer. It adds some nice action to the fly. The spring creeks I was doing this mostly hold browns but I'm sure we landed a few brookies with this method.

The brookies in high gradient freestone streams here in PA aren't too picky. When I fish these types of streams, I mostly use dry flies but always carry a few nymphs and streamers with me just in case.
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Old 02-20-2013, 10:53 PM
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Default Re: soft hackles for brook trout? (not on swing)

Quote:
Originally Posted by bigjim5589 View Post
IMO, soft hackle flies are great for many species. Most folks think of soft hackle flies for trout as the variety Sylvester Nemes touted, and that would be very true. But, there were earlier types used for bass also. You can tie them larger & they work well for both Smallmouths & Largemouths.

Some of the larger pheasant body feathers work particularly well.

Use your imagination!

When I was younger & spent more time trout fishing, I would go up to Hunting Creek & a few other streams near Frederick, MD & although I really didn't know it at the time what type of flies they were, as they were just simplified wet flies that I had tied, & would have some success with native Brook Trout on soft hackles.

I'm particularly fond of a pattern tied with a caddis green (chartreuse) body & a brown speckled hen hackle!
I see a lot of those caddis flies here in Quebec about mid July. Yes....the body is bright green. I tie a dry version of this caddis with just a fur body and deer body hair for wings. This fly is always in my arsenal. I should make a few soft hackle versions.
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Old 02-20-2013, 11:27 PM
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Default Re: soft hackles for brook trout? (not on swing)

Soft hackles do an excellent job of imitating both caddis pupae and adults, as well as other aquatic bugs. Brook trout eat these things, so why wouldn't soft hackles be effective for brookies?

I'll quote Dave Hughes, who is a far better fly fisher than I'm sure I will ever be:

"The starting point in imitation of the common range of caddis pupae is the simple soft-hackled wet fly..."

"...many anglers refuse to believe soft-hackles will fool many fish. They spend many hours devising more complicated dressings that don't work any better and often don't work as well."

Soft-hackles work.
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Old 02-21-2013, 01:30 AM
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Default Re: soft hackles for brook trout? (not on swing)

Soft hackles can be fished upstream, across, downstream, all of these in combination (as described by Dave Whitlock in a wet fly article in Fly Fisherman magazine last year) and even as a dry or "barely wet" fly. They are a blast to fish and will work well on brookies.

For more information on soft hackles, I recommend the book by Allen McGee, "Tying and Fishing Soft-Hackled Nymphs" and also Davy Wotton's DVD "Wet Fly Ways. "

btw, that is a great looking fly, noreaster. What are the tag and main body materials? What hook sizes do you prefer?
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