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For small wets, the Hen and Herl in size 14 has been an absolute killer on my local waters over the last few years. Both fresh stocked, and holdover/wild browns take them with reckless abandon, even when they are ratty and falling apart. A pheasant tail SH is my second choice, but rarely do I need to reach for that. These streams aren't quite big enough to warrant a two handed rod (barely 30ft across in most sections), but a fiberglass 3wt 7'6" with Cortland Sylk DT is a perfect tool. I usually run a 50" furled leader with a couple feet of 5x fluoro.

Here's a couple of the flies that got wrecked, but still fished great.
374916

374917
 

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A before and after shot of a favorite wet I use for cutthroat. Deadly just before the evening caddis hatch. It is a Marty Howard pattern he posted here several years ago. I go through about one fly each evening because they end up looking like the one on the right.
374924
 

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Discussion Starter #7
For small wets, the Hen and Herl in size 14 has been an absolute killer on my local waters over the last few years. Both fresh stocked, and holdover/wild browns take them with reckless abandon, even when they are ratty and falling apart. A pheasant tail SH is my second choice, but rarely do I need to reach for that. These streams aren't quite big enough to warrant a two handed rod (barely 30ft across in most sections), but a fiberglass 3wt 7'6" with Cortland Sylk DT is a perfect tool. I usually run a 50" furled leader with a couple feet of 5x fluoro.

Here's a couple of the flies that got wrecked, but still fished great.
View attachment 374916
View attachment 374917
Gladly tie up a row of these in my box. Thanks!
 

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I love to swing soft hackles in summer for trout when dreaming of swinging for steel from fall to spring. My favorite and most effective is also one of the simplest to tie. Tiemco 109Y in 17 or 19. Grey spiky squirrel for body and partridge hackle, preferably the lighter grey around the neck. Works in multiple situations and hatches I believe because it doesn't mimic any specific bug just looks buggy.
374972
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I love to swing soft hackles in summer for trout when dreaming of swinging for steel from fall to spring. My favorite and most effective is also one of the simplest to tie. Tiemco 109Y in 17 or 19. Grey spiky squirrel for body and partridge hackle, preferably the lighter grey around the neck. Works in multiple situations and hatches I believe because it doesn't mimic any specific bug just looks buggy. View attachment 374972
that’s the reason I think a lot of people like to swing for trout. I think most the micro Spey rods were designed for steelhead anglers looking for a fix. Great fly.
 

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I have reached the point where I fish soft hackles almost all the time. If the fish are actively rising I’ll either swing it into them or put a little dressing on it and dead drift it like a dry. Either method works remarkably well. When the Baetis are hatching an appropriately sized soft hackle with either a quill or pheasant tail body seem to catch bigger fish than the dries. A Caddis pupa softie is killer when the Caddis are swarming.
 
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