Autumn On The EB

Autumn On The EB

Thursday, July 7, 2016

The CDC Soft Hackle Revisited And July So Far

"If I fished only to capture fish my fishing trips would have ended long ago" - Zane Grey

Back in May I wrote about an interesting fly that I had seen online in which cdc was joined with partridge to create a soft hackle dry. I then promptly forgot about this creation until client Dennis showed me his version. "You wrote about this fly" he said. "Oh yeah, I did" I said sheepishly. He proceeded to catch an 18 inch Swift brown and about a dozen brookies on the pattern. It has become my favorite dry fly!!

Most of our dries are static and lifeless. Partridge, starling and such are constantly moving in the water suggesting life but these natural materials do not want to float. CDC will always float and that solves the problem. CDC keeps the fly up and visible and the partridge dangles below, moving in the current as an emerging insect does.

How to tie:

Hook - dry fly down to size 18

Body - I use 140 denier thread for the body of this pattern. No dubbing allowed!!

Wing - Take a CDC feather (dun color) and strip off the fibers on one side of the feather. Then tie them in at the top of the thorax of the fly. Take that feather and strip of the other side and tie that in too. The fibers will be slanted back in a wet fly style and should extend just past the curve of the hook. Trim if necessary to accomplish this.

Thorax - Something buggy wrapped over the CDC butts.

Hackle - Appropriately sized soft hackle.

This fly floats like a cork, is visible in low light and trout love it. One may think that the wing is too large for the fly but I don't think the trout really notice the wing. It's the legs and the thorax that gets their attention.

They say it's going to rain today and I hope so. Northern New England got a good soaking last week but we missed it all. It's 2010 driest year in memory) all over again. The Swift has saved us and Cady Lane has become a destination. Even with the hype it's still pretty lonely down there and that is a good thing.

It's been about 9 years since I introduced the Hot Spot on this blog. It's a standout Swift River fly and works very well in a size 20 trailing a larger fly. Brookies love it and it's easy to tie. Keep it slim!



Anonymous said...

Nice simple pattern that in brown, olive, yellow could cover a lot of ground. How about a grey body with mixed brown and grey CDC for an Adams? Thanks!

tincup said...

Over 15 cars at the rt 9 bridge early morning and the pipe, tree pool another 8. Headed down to cady lane and took the path left only one other car. The brookies were all over ant patterns behind a large tree dam. Found and worked a couple of large trout as I worked my way up river. After 2 hours found my first person working a long pool. Taking a water break and a snack watch him move on. Got several more brookies on a small olive sparrow soft hackle and a red tail woody,both size 16. When I got to the cady lane sign a angler was working some large rainbows, leaving him I walked up to towards the tree pool seeing several trout holding saw a crowd up towards the tree pool crossed the river and worked the holding fish, got fish on hoppers and sulfur emergers. Hardest part was keeping the brookies away. Got to the end of the run and got a great rainbow, just beautiful colored. Left cady lane drove up to the pipe, and connected another couple of rainbows. And one just above the pump house. Didn't see many rises, and with only a couple of cars at rt. 9 bridge I had to stop. Plenty of fish below the rt. 9 bridge, and up towards the second crib break, fished a size 18 sulfur up near a tree break were fish were holding and rising. Just couldn't get those interested they would look but no takes. But they were feeding and I did see some sulfurs in the air. Over all a great day great food at the Chinese place for the ride home.

Millers River Flyfisher said...


I don't think we have to have a mixed brown/grey CDC wing. No reason to imitate an Adams. The thread body (your choice of color), the thorax (your choice of color) is the real attraction, not the wing. Tie it up anyway and tell us how you do.

It has been a good month below Rt 9. Real trout hunting. Good to see that the bows by the Pipe are starting to move around.


Anonymous said...


There seems to be a drop off in the amount of sulphurs on the Swift. I thought this hatch lasted through July.

Your thoughts?


Millers River Flyfisher said...


Good Morning!

According to Thomas Ames Jr. the hatch of insects that have the nickname "sulphur" are the Ephemerella Invaria and the Ephemerella Dorothea. Invaria hatches through the third week of June and Dorothea through the first week of July. Given that the Swift is a cold tailwater the emergence may be a week or so later than on a freestone.

June was gangbusters for these insects on the Swift. As late as two weeks ago we saw them on every outing. Now it's one here and one there.

I'm beginning to feel that ALL yellowish mayflies are getting dumped into the Sulphur column by many fly fishers when they should be identified as Stenonema (Cream Cahill) and Stenacron (Light Cahill).

Joe C said...

I was on the Swift the other day and saw some flies coming off. I believe their Latin name was "Somekinus Bugus" but I could not be sure. I used partridge and cream, partridge and orange and grey and cdc soft hackles and they all worked well. 😊

Bob O said...

I learned from a veteran that the early 'sulphur' hatch is AM and the later Dorotheas are evening. It may be the time of day that causes one to feel the hatch is gone by.

Millers River Flyfisher said...

Joe C,

Your Latin is as good as mine.

Bob O,

According to Ames, Invaria and Dorothea are both considered sulphurs even though their hatch time may be at different times of the day. Dorothea has a hatch cycle that is about a week or two later than invaria. Dorothea is slightly smaller.

An entomologist with a mind for taxonomy would be able to successfully tell the difference between the two. The fly fisher only has to be concerned with size, shape and presentation. One imitation can represent both species.

Back in June I saw plenty of "sulphurs" in the A.M. and in the evening. Now they are far fewer.


fischmeister57 said...

Ken, I think you're right about the Cahill. The other evening a friend of mine was getting fish on a cream-colored Cahill.


Anonymous said...


The Swift below Rte 9 was empty this afternoon. Caught & released a bunch of brookies. Had a small brookie on that was chased by a large rainbow. The rainbow inhaled the brookie & I had both on for a split second. Pretty fun to watch. Hope you had a good weekend.