Soft hackles are great for beginners. There is not much to learn, a simple roll cast will do. Cast the fly into a nice seem and let the fly swing. Start of with short casts then progressively get longer. Even a bad cast can produce fish, on a soft hackle. Since fish feed subsurface most of them, give these killer flies a shot.
Stone Flies can be used at any time, I am starting to get into swinging soft hackles, with my 4wt TFO Deer Creek Switch. This is a killer pattern tied by my good buddie Tom Lienhard.