Soft Hackles: just for rivers?One simple reason why, is that I find soft hackle wet flies and flymphs work, and they work well too! Of course there will always be times when other types of fly will work equally well or indeed better than your soft hackle wet flies and flymphs. But that can be said about any one type of fly over another. It should be remembered that stillwaters and lochs are never really still. There are always currents and undercurrents working with, against or at angles to the wind direction. Casting your soft hackle wet flies and flymphs, then allowing the subsurface currents and the wind to drift, move and fish your flies is an excellent way to present your flies as naturally as possible.
Perhaps another reason is that the natural food sources on these waters tend to fall within the general size range that we tie our soft hackle wet flies and flymphs: somewhere in the range of #12-#16 flies. Both soft hackle wet flies and flymphs do a great job at suggesting the nymphs and pupa that our brown trout hunt: such as chironomids and ephemeroptera (or buzzers and mayflies/olives). Tie a slim soft hackle fly, omit the tail and you have a passable soft hackle fly that will suggest a buzzer pupa. Include a tail and a body of the appropriate colour, and you have one that suggests a mayfly or an olive nymph. Tie a soft hackle wet fly with a slightly bulkier grey, green, yellow or black dubbed body and you have a passable Trichoptera (or sedge/caddis) pupa pattern. Suggestion rather than exact imitation is always good in a fishing fly. And fished in the surface film, soft hackle flies do a great job of suggesting the emergent stages of the natural flies already mentioned.
So there you have a few reasons to try fishing soft hackle wet flies in lochs and stillwaters when fishing for brown and rainbow trout.
Why not give them a go and see how they work for you?