Fishing and Tying Soft-Hackle Flies

The Partridge and Orange is one of the oldest documented fly patterns but is still effective today.
The Partridge and Orange is one of the oldest documented fly patterns but is still effective today.
The Partridge and Orange is one of the oldest documented fly patterns but is still effective today. Photo by Ron Belak.

In the modern era of complex, match-the-hatch fly patterns, adding a few simple, traditional flies to the fly box can be an effective weapon in the fly-fisher’s arsenal.  The soft hackle is among the oldest group of flies and the Partridge and Orange, the best known of the soft hackles, may be the world’s oldest documented fly pattern.  It first appeared in British literature in 1496.  In this Colorado Outdoors magazine video-supplement, author and fly fisherman Ron Belak demonstrates how to tie the Partidge and Orange.  This easy-to-tie pattern is great for beginning fly tiers, and its simple yet “buggy” appearance is effective for catching trout.

For more information about fishing soft hackles in Colorado, see the July/August issue of Colorado Outdoors magazine.  This issue features Belak’s article, “Spiders of the North,” which provides a history of soft hackle flies and fishing techniques for both streams and stillwater.

Annual subscriptions and back issues of Colorado Outdoors magazine may be purchased by calling: 1-800-417-8986.

2 Responses

  1. Huge wet fly fan here. I catch a bajillion trout every year on soft-hackles (you can see plenty of them on my site). As I like to tell my clients, wet flies have been taking trout for hundreds of years, and the fish haven’t gotten any smarter.

    There’s a lot of romance in catching a trout on a pattern that someone used to catch a trout 400 years ago.

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