Soft-Hackled Frenchies

(Oct. 13, 2016 edit: I’m starting to call these “Glam Frenchies” because they’re so in-your-face.)

Soft-hackled Frenchies rule. They catch plenty of trout, both new stockies and grizzled veterans.

Sometimes, trout want a very simple fly with few details, as it means there’s less to which they can object. Sometimes, “busy” flies with many strike triggers work.

A soft-hackled Frenchie offers many triggers: segmentation, a tail, seductive movement via the soft hackle, multiple color contrasts, a bit of shine, and an enlarged thorax. Some really huge fish, both stocked and wild, have fallen for this fly.

I tie them on jig hooks, and they’ve been great anchor flies for Euro-nymphing in faster water. It’s a Pheasant Tail variant with a few twists.

Here’s what I am using these days:

Hook: competition-style barbless jig hook
Weight: 0.015 non-lead wire and a slotted tungsten bead
Tail: light Coq de Leon
Body: pheasant tail
Rib: gold wire
Thorax: ice dub
Soft hackle: partridge or Brahma hen
Hot spot: orange thread color

Pairing this busy fly with a very small and plain-looking fly when nymphing is often a good call, IMO. You give the trout a choice and thereby can see what they prefer on that day or hour.

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