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Thread: Anybody still fish wet flies?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Canton, Ga

    Default Anybody still fish wet flies?

    I was just contemplating the use of traditional wet flies and wondered how many of you still use them in our Southern Appalachian waters? This includes winged wets and soft hackles. If you use them, would you mind letting us know how you fish them and what rig you are setting up? Do you fish them only in certain types of water? Also, why do you fish them? Nostalgia, simpicity, truly believe them to catch more fish?
    Jed Green

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2006


    I always have at least half a box of soft hackle flies. Black, orange, yellow, green. Fished either with a nymph or even sometimes with a dry. A yellow softhackle weighted with maybe a turn or two of lead fished about two feet behind/below a yellow sally works very well in the park. I also will fish them on the swing with a slow steady retrieve. If I am fishing I promise you that a soft hackle will be in the mix somewhere.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2008


    They don't work. Don't use them. There are no fish in that park.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Nashville, TN


    I was going to say the same thing... I never go out without soft hackles regardless of where I fish. I find them especially effective in the spring when so many hatches are coinciding and trout know there is a lot of bug action under the water as well. They work great in a double nymph rig, dry dropper or just by themselves. Also gives you an advantage when trying to fight currents and drag... looks totally natural for bugs to be rising up off the bottom and more often than not can really get the attention of a feeding fish.

    Tight Lines,

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2006


    One of my fellow camp hosts in the Greater Yellowstone used nothing last summer except traditional wet flies or a hair wing form of them. He did fantastic using them as searching patterns in some heavily fished waters. I've even tied up some Grizzly Kings, Professors, etc for my trip west this year. Got looking at Ray Bergman's ties on

    In the Smokies, I found that fishing a slightly weighed Quill Gordon WET as a nymph and letting it swing at the end of a drift is a KILLER!! A March Brown Flymph is great also. My Quill Gordon WET is the only tandem rig when I use one. I tie it off a Dry Mr. Rapidan or Parachute Adams. (I've found that I snag up in the trees enough with ONE fly, so I usually don't need two(:>). If I get a chance to get to the park this spring (got to have my campground open before Memorial Day) I'd definitely start out with those two.

    Randall Sale
    the Kytroutbum

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Crossville, TN


    I use a lot of soft hackles for trout, mostly in places like the Park with freestone streams and not as much on the tailwaters (with the exception of the Hiwassee). When I fish them, my normal presentation is exactly the same as if I was fishing a nymph except that I add a swing at the end of each drift to represent a nymph or pupa riding up through the current on its way to emerge. The main reason I use them is because they catch fish and also because I just enjoy tying them...
    "Then He said to them, 'Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.'" Matthew 4:19

    Guided Fly Fishing with David Knapp
    The Trout Zone Blog
    contact: TroutZoneAnglers at gmail dot com

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Norris, TN


    Heck Yeah Fish them like there is no tomorrow. You get the emergent effect, lure effect, etc. Most people are surprised to see that my main fly box has probably one bhpt, 5-10 midges, 2-3 streamers, 20-30 dries, and 50-60 wet flies. However; it is all in the technique to be able to put them on day in and day out....The mountains humbled me last week.
    “Every human has four endowments- self awareness, conscience, independent will, & creative imagination.
    These give us the ultimate human freedom... The
    to choose, to respond, to change.”

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2010


    I fish soft hackles a lot. I fish them wet fly style with a down and across presentation letting them straighten and rise in the water column. I use them as a dropper of weighted nymphs fished the same way.

    I also like to drop them off dry flies and fished in the film as cripples/emergers or just below as emergers.

    I fish them from size 10 to 20. I have had the most success with sparser hackle than I see on most commercial ties.

    They are the most versatile flies in my box plus I have a lot of confidence fishing them

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Sevierville TN



    Look for previous posts by Andy Brasco.

    The only traditional wet I tie on is a yellow professor anymore; they work.

    I don't fish the park; too rugged and I hate catching trees and dodging tourists.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2008

    Default Soft Hackle

    My go to searching pattern is a Partridge and Orange.

    My very first fish that I caught in the GSMNP was on this pattern.

    It works every where.

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