In The Soft-Hackled Fly, Sylvester Nemes writes about fishing for — and catching — steelhead on traditional soft-hackles like the Partridge and Orange. Here’s my steelhead take on four classic patterns, clockwise from upper right: Tups Indispensable, Snipe and Purple, Partridge and Green and Orange, and Grouse and Orange.
Small Steelhead Soft-Hackles
These are all tied on 2x stout, 1x short hooks. They’re a size 10, so effectively they’ll fish like a size 12. Construction should be fairly intuitive from looking at the photo. But, here are the complete recipes.
Two years ago, I hooked (and ultimately lost) what was easily the largest steelhead I’ve ever done battle with. He took in the deeper end of a swift run that becomes a shallow whitewater nightmare at its head. I saw him clearly during his cartwheeling histrionics, and he was massive. We finally parted ways when he found a submerged logjam my leader didn’t get along with.
The fly he took was the one at lower left.
Steelhead soft hackles Rogues’ Gallery:
Snipe and Purple, November 2016