Fly of the Month: Gold Ribbed Hare's Ear

The Hare’s Ear is a standard “go-to” fly in my box. Especially when fishing for browns – they seem to like this pattern very much. The pattern is easy to modify and change as per your own likes and dislikes as well as the water you might be fishing on. The pattern is a nonspecific nymph suggesting several bugs. I’ve caught fish with it on the bottom (dead drift) as well as in the surface film. Seems to work best in faster moving water.

Hook: TMC 3769, TMC 100 or TMC 5262, size 12 – 18
Thread: 6/0 black, brown, grey to match dubbing
Tail: Mottled hen back feather
Body: Hare fur/dubbing material with guard hairs – grey, brown, or green
Wire: Gold wire, gold tinsel, or gold mylar thread
Wing Case: Turkey tail feather
Tying Instructions

1. Tie down the thread and wrap a base back to the bend.

2. Using a mottled hen back feather, pull off a batch of fibers – the width of these should be near the width of the hook gap. Line the tips up and tie them down on the hook (tips back) so that their length past the bend is about half the length of the hook’s shank. Wrap the thread to about the mid point of the shank and clip off the remaining butt ends of the fibers.

3. Tie in a length of gold wire or gold mylar covered thread and bring the thread back to the bend.

4. Apply the dubbing (hare fur) to the thread. A neat trick I learned from Greg Garcia at our June meeting was to put dubbing wax on you thumb and index finger before picking up the fur and then spread the fur out on the thread, spinning it into a thin layer of dubbing. Build a tapered abdomen from the base of the tail to three quarters of the way toward the eye of the hook.

5. Spiral wrap the gold wire/tinsel forming the rib and then tie off and break/cut the remaining. Build a thread base from this point to the eye of the hook and back.

6. Next tie in a clump of turkey tail feathers (about 5 or 6 fibers) with the tips facing to the back of the hook.

7. Apply more dubbing material to the thread for the thorax of the fly. I mix the rabbit fur with some squirrel hair dubbing I acquired a while back. The goal is to mix guard hairs (those stiff hairs that extend beyond the softer fur next to the animal’s skin) into the dubbing. Wrap the dubbing forward, creating a thick thorax but stopping at least one hook eye width behind the eye.

8. Next bring the turkey feathers forward to create a wingcase and tie it down at the eye and trim off the excess. Now build up a thread head covering the butt ends of the turkey feathers and whip finish the fly, then apply head cement.

One last task remains: brush or a dubbing needle and pick out the guard hairs

Gold Ribbed Hare's Ear

Try some other variations of the fly like:

Add a brass or gold tungsten bead for a bead head nymph. Mix in UV dubbing instead of guard hairs. Use a flashback wingcase instead of turkey feather. I recovered a fly from a bush that used goose biot for the tail. The original pattern calls for guard hairs to be used for the tail. I’m sure you get the idea.

Have fun catching fish with the Gold Ribbed Hare’s Ear! --Jim Wilborn.