October 1, 2009

Forest chickens

ruffed grouse
Roadside score. The ruffed grouse is possibly one of the tastiest byproducts of the northern boreal forest. They are also most excellent for tying soft hackled nymphs, preferred over partridge and woodcock for their beautiful barring, variegation, and nice webby hackle. This treasure of the Tioga will be perfect for caddis patterns.

It's always nice to replenish the stash.

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  1. Jean-Paul, which grouse feathers do you use for your soft hackles?

  2. I keep all of the feathers. The lighter colored belly on the light phase of these birds is pretty close to partridge and good for caddis nymphs. The darker stuff from the back and wing flanks, as well as the tail, are nice for mayfly nymphs.

    I kept the marabou; it looks a lot like wild turkey, but softer. It should breathe well on streamer patterns.