This week we are tying the Bead Head Soft Hackle. It’s a great Callibaetis nymph and has been catching lots of fishing on the local lakes. It has been a strong producer on Rogers Lake and some others in the area. Callibaetis nymphs are a significant food source to lake fish and a variety of these bugs should be carried in your lake box.
When tying this fly there are a few things to keep in mind. One is to make sure that you leave the right amount to space between the bead and the eye of the hook. To much room and you will have a a huge head of thread and to little room you will not have enough room for your soft hackle. The last thing to focus on is make sure that your hackle angles back over the bead and body. Just a little attention to the hackle with you bind it is important. When you wrap your soft hackle, wrap from the bead to the eye with one wrap in from of the other. Then when you bind the stem do not wrap to tight, this will cause the barbs to flair upward. Looser wraps will allow that rear taper of the barbs.
Callibaetis mayflies belong to the Baetidae family of mayflies. Baetidae nymphs grow very fast and several generations can emerge in a single season. Nymphs are strong swimmers and very active, moving from place to place. This makes them available to trout and easy to mimic with the Bead Head Soft Hackle. Colors of nymphs tend to shift with the color of the lake bottom, local colors range from glacial green to brown with the Bead Headed Soft Hackle doing a good job as a general color for local lakes. It can be very productive when fished near the bottom and retrieved with short, sharp strips under an indicator or stripped in on an intermediate sinking line. Hatches usually happen in the late morning to early afternoon with colder cloudier days pushing that time later in the day. The largest Callibaetis hatch early in the season with the smallest later in the year.
Gasses form between the skin of the nymph and the body of the forming adult insect inside. These gasses make the nymph so buoyant that it is carried to the surface where it hatches into a dun. For a short period the hatching nymphs try to swim back to the vegetation for safety. They are in the upper water column moving up and down ringing the dinner bell for any trout in the area. Fish this soft hackle in the upper water column on a floating line for this stage. You can also tie the fly with no bead and fish it in the film as an emerger pattern.
So the next time you are on a lake and you see speckled winged mayflies around fish the Beaded Soft Hackle with confidence and get some fish.