Article by Jack Gartside: The Soft Hackle Streamer is one of my favorite small streamers for all species of fish, fresh water or salt. It may be tied in many colors and sizes to suit the occasion.

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The Merlin, a mixed-hackle dry fly tied in a more or less traditional manner, was inspired by and may be considered a variation of the well-known Adams. I named it after my old cat, Merlin, who traveled with me throughout the West over twenty-five years ago, when this fly was first tied. It's been a favorite of mine ever since.

The difference between this fly and the Adams is largely in the coloration. The Adams has a mostly gray/brown appearance while the Merlin has a mostly olive cast to its body and hackle. While I use this fly most often as a searching pattern, I've had great success with it during baetis hatches or (tied on larger, longer hooks) during green drake hatches.

Tie this fly sparse for slow moving meadow streams or spring creeks, heavier for faster, more broken water.

Tying the Merlin


MM94859, TMC 5262, Partridge H1A (LS) or similar: Sizes 12-18


6/0,light olive


Light gray moose body hair (moose calf is best)


Light olive-gray blend polydubbing


Matched grizzly saddle or neck tips


Grizzly and olive-dyed ginger tied in and wound together.

step 1

Step 1Tie in saddle wings in upright or slightly spent position depending on effect desired. Wing height may vary from short to slightly longer than usual, depending on effect desired.

step 2

Step 2Tie in tail of moose hair (length slightly longer than hook shank).

step 3

Step 3Dub a small amount of polyfur onto tying thread and wind on a slender, tapered body.

step 4

Step 4Tie in two hackles and wind in together both behind and forward of the wing. Hackles may be of traditional width (1 1/2 times the gap) or tied in shorter or longer, depending on effect desired.


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