Starling and Pheasant Blue Winged Olive Soft Hackle

A Hatch-Matchy Softie

I remember one time fishing on the Firehole river many years ago in Yellowstone National Park. We ran into a phenomenal PMD hatch that saw an old-timer hip-boot wearing guy above us fishing what turned out to be soft hackles. He slayed and we caught only a few fish. I was sold.

Since then, I've always made it a point to have soft hackles across most of my pattern types. I've had great days fishing soft hackles with incredible success during hatches with midges, blue winged olives, green drakes, callibaetis and whatever other winged bug you can think of.

This pattern is a great emerger or even drowned adult. Sylvester Nemes mentions a pheasant and starling in his famous soft hackle book which got me thinking about this one. Plus, it's hard to beat such a good natural combination as pheasant tail fibers and the very soft and supple feathers from a starling.

Although this one represents a Baetis or blue winged olive, you can mix up the colors to match whatever mayfly or bug you'd like. They're easy to tie and fun to fish.

Material List

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Hook: Fulling Mill 35050 Ultimate Dry Fly Hook, Barbless - 16     
Thread: 8/0 UNI-Thread Waxed Midge - Olive Dun     
Body: Nature's Spirit Ringneck Pheasant Center Tails - Olive     
Hackle: Nature's Spirit Starling Skin     
Ribbing: UTC Ultra Wire - Olive - Small     
Thorax: Nature's Spirit Fine Natural Dubbing - Baetis     

Other tools from the tutorial:
Tiemco Razor Scissors     
Tiemco TMC Ceramic Bobbin (Std)     
C&F Design Hackle Pliers     
Stonfo Pinza Elite Hackle Pliers - Standard