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The Double Softie

Sean Visintainer - 10/20/17

Bo Brand swinging soft hackles in the fall on the Spokane River.

2 for 1

Double your fun. Two is better than one. Two for one. Whatever the hell slogan you can think of... two flies ups your odds. Well in most cases. Most of the season on the Spokane the hatch is pretty much this: caddis. Maybe some stones in the spring, maybe some tricos early in the morning late summer, but caddis is the bulk of it. However, fall and spring bring on second largest hatch you can target on the the 'Kan, the blue winged olive hatch. And fall caddis fishing ramps back up.

So here we are, fall fishing on the Spokane. Two of the bigger hatches. Caddis and blue winged olive mayflies (bwo). Fish will slurp on these tiny mayflies right in the surface film. Like more famous rivers, the fish in the Spokane will key in on these tiny winged insects and get very selective. Presenting a bwo dry fly can as technical as rivers like the Missouri, down and across, long leaders, perfect drifts, feed the fly into the fish, impeccable timing with the rise pattern. Trust me I've had my ass handed to me plenty of times on dry fly drifts lately on the Spokane!

One tactic though that I think can be fairly consistent for these times of the year are swinging soft hackles. Since we have two main hatches going on most days, caddis and bwo's, combing both of these patterns into a double swing rig is an excellent searching method or for targeting risers feeding in the film.

My go-to rig is a caddis emerger (pupa, soft hackle size 12 or 14 beadhead) as the lead fly, then a second trailer soft hackle to represent the bwo's that have been hatch. The bwo soft hackle is often darker, more slender, has a tail, etc. Swinging the caddis/bwo combo on the Spokane can be deadly. Try a classic, smooth swing or add a rod tip wiggle or tiny 2-3" strip occasionally and see what results you get.

If you love a tight line grab, you will love soft hackle fishing. Think of it like micro streamer fishing... just don't forget you are setting the hook with 5x!


Beadhead caddis pupa perfect for swinging.
Beadhead caddis pupa perfect for swinging.

Blue Winged Olive soft hackles examples for a 2nd trailer softie.
Blue Winged Olive soft hackles examples for a 2nd trailer softie.