Posts Tagged ‘Hare’s Ear


Critter/Fly Pattern Replication: Smooth or Buggy…Why not both?

Golden Stonefly NymphWhen you pull underwater critters from their habitat (mayfly, caddis, stoneflies, scuds, dragons, midges) they, for the most part, are smooth looking and segmented. They often look like some creature from a science fiction scene…in a way, I guess they actually are.

I am not presenting this post as an end all recommendation on fly pattern design. My suggestion is to recognize the options of fly pattern design: exacting imitations or suggestive (scraggly) of life imitations. Have both and know how to present the options in the most appropriate manner. Where does that insect or critter reside subsurface and how does it move under control or out of control.

Nymph Buggy CleanHere you have the scraggly Gold Ribbed, Bead Head Hare’s Ear Nymph with the buggy, scraggly thorax. Also, the lower left pattern is a nymph pattern that is somewhat representative of a Caddis or Scud. Below right is the simple, streamlined, only so slightly scraggly Czech Nymph. All catch countless fish. Have both and again pay particular attention to where these insects live…how they move (dislodged and drifting, climbing/rising, crawling, swimming).


SwittersB’s New Postage Stamp Suggestion

Postage Stamp


Fly Tying: Whitlock’s Red Squirrel Nymph (Emerger)

The Whitlock Red Squirrel Nymph is a pattern that incorporated the classic nymph components of a Hare’s Ear Nymph and the wound hackle wing of a Wet Fly or emerger pattern. The original used the natural materials of the day, in other words fur. There is certainly nothing incorrect in using rabbit fur for the abdomen and thorax. I have in recent years opted for blends of fur/synthetics or straight synthetics simply because my throat seizes up at the mere mention of rabbit fur let alone the handling of it. 

I tied up a few dozen of these ‘nymphs’ last Winter and have yet to use them (such has been life of late). But, I came across them sitting atop the tying station in a discarded hook box. I need to at least put them into the cubicle of a fly box that is likely to go out the door on an outing. 

Here are a few links on tying the Whitlock Red Squirrel Nymph. I am not trying to be a rebel or non-traditionalist with the ’emerger’ use. It just is how I would fish this fly…bottom and up to the top…more in the top layers.  Semantics, purely semantics. I use Krystal Flash for the ribbing rather than tinsel. Wire could be used or the traditional tinsel. Red Squirrel was used for the tail, but bunched hackle fibers could be used too. (How to) (How to)


A Caddis Pattern for Busy Waters


Nothing delicate about this fly. Tied on a size 10 sprout style hook, size 8/0 black thread helps bind the Caddis Green vinyl V-Rib in first (at the rear like the typical ribbing material). Then an abdomen was dubbed of hare’s ear, spikes and all. The V-Rib was wound close together at the beginning and then spaced apart like normal ribbing up over the rabbit dubbing. The Teal feather was tied in tip first and wrapped around the shank about two times so that the tips of the barbs don’t extend much past the rear of the hook. The tie off points for the dubbing, ribbing and feather were covered with a few turns of the same hare’s ear dubbing. A simple thread head finished the fly off. 

A pattern to be swung through riffles and busy currents more than plopped upon the surface.



Fly Tying: Do You Tie Anything Shaggy Anymore?

Over the last few years, fly tying has taken the nymph’s form and made it sleek, denser and a synthetic affair. A bead, wire, synthetic dubbing, a few feather barbs, polyester film make up smaller, sleeker fast sinking nymphal form. Not so long ago, buggy, shaggy, fuzzy nymphs with a bit of wire/tinsel ribbing were the norm. Good to have both in your box. The new materials do make it easier to tie a smaller nymph that travels deeper and suggests the necessary shape.


Fly Tying: The Old Standby?

Not too many years ago, the beginning fly fisher was told they had to carry at least two nymphs in assorted sizes: the Pheasant Tail Nymph (PTN) and the Gold Ribbed Hares Ear (GRHE). Maybe I wrong, but the Hare’s Ear almost seems to have gone the way of the Muddler Minnow, Woolly Worm, Montana Stone or….. Well, maybe I am wrong. The Hare’s Ear Nymph is an excellent crawler/clinger nymph pattern. I suffer tying these because I almost seize up around rabbit. In fact, years ago, I regretfully eliminated the Hare’s Ear from my beginning tier’s lesson plan because I could not breath around the fur. It is the only fly tying material that seems to affect me so. Anyway, tie this pattern from size 8 to size 16, mostly in the natural Hare’s Mask. You can fool around with rubber legs and some flash at the tail, but it isn’t necessary. The Gold bead head can be omitted if desired. I have not had as much success with this pattern on stillwaters (not a good Hex or Callibaetis pattern for me). It is outstanding on rivers. You will notice in the attached link, the tier uses hackle barbs for the tail rather than the traditional Hare’s Mask guard hairs. That is quite acceptable. That way you don’t have to buy a Hare’s Mask and can buy the dubbing and sub hackle barbs for the tail.


Fly Tying: Hare’s Mask, Dubbing

Hare's Masks of Different Dyed Colors (MadRiverFlyTyingMaterials Pic)

As a beginning fly fisher or tier, you will note the GRHE or some variation of the very popular/productive Gold Ribbed Hare’s Ear. The tying process often involves selecting a small plastic bag, off a hook, which contains rabbit fur or a blend of rabbit fur and a synthetic. The primary appeal of the fur is the guard hairs amongst the fur, which when applied or dubbed to the hook creates a spiky appearance. All this fur, in fact, comes from a Hare’s Mask. The fur is longer about the cheeks and quite short up near the ears. The masks are offered in dyed colors with the natural mask still the most popular. I am not sure there is any advantage to buying the mask as opposed to plucking that bag off the hook. But, if you like the more hands on effort at dubbing and blending, it is always interesting to buy a mask and see what you create. Store the mask where moths or mice cannot get at it (sound advice for all your materials).


Fly Fishing: Nymphs You Must Have Recap

For the beginner, a recap of the often successful nymphs that are so good you must carry them along with a multitude of also’s, pretenders, maybe’s and mights. (not including all the dries, wets, emergers, pupa, larvae patterns)

PTN by SwittersB

Copper John

Prince Nymph

Possie Bugger


Stubble in Trouble (The Respectfully Tucked Away Hare’s Ear Nymph)

The Hare’s Ear..The Gold Ribbed Hare’s Ear…The Bead Head Gold Ribbed Hare’s Ear….so it progressed. And, did it progress right out of your fly box? Oh, some of you still have a spot for a few along with the must have Adams. But, in the quest for the new fix, I think perhaps, if not taken for granted like you know who, then you have perhaps opted for that new curvaceous  hook and some concoction that owes its worthiness to the original bristling gem…the Gold Ribbed Hare’s Ear.

The GRHE or the beaded version, became the nymph staple up until about eight or so years ago when boredom, innovation or anarchy set in and the Hare’s Ear became respectfully tucked away. No, you say. Well, perhaps not you, but the old dynamic duo of the GRHE and the PTN (Pheasant Tail Nymph) have been set aside in a 7 year itch sort of way….later to be appreciated. Oh, and don’t think just because you reflexively resort to a hare’s ear dubbed thorax you’re off the hook. This is a good pattern for the chunky, clinger mayfly nymphs. Don’t let it go the way of the Green Butt Skunk and Woolly Worm!!!

Tutorial (Tier initially uses pheasant tail fibers for tail….see how easy the classic is forsaken? Then note in the bead version the tail is hare’s ear tied in at the tail).


Hare’s Ear Nymph by Switters B (Bearded Hippie)

I tied this one in a more ‘impressionistic’ way (less exacting) for the stocky clinger/crawler nymphs that are rough on the edges and drink too many beers. Hare’s Mask was used in this instance rather than the pre-packaged hare’s ear dubbing. Consequently, it was a more aggressive pattern with guard hairs abounding. I have only tried these on freestone streams tumbling in and below riffles and rapids and have found them to be enticing morsels. This coming year, I want to remember (I don’t write lists, so we shall see if I do) to use this pattern while Czech Nymphing..up close and personal near an edge of a riffle or rapids. I only use the bead for weight and tie the pattern on a size 10 or 12 straight shank nymph hook. This is a classic Hare’s Ear pattern from the tail to the thorax….only from the mask.



I have a mental block re certain patterns and the two that I am prejudice against are two of the simplest to tie and both are truly highly effective: Hare’s Ear Nymph and Pheasant Tail Nymph. There is no logical explanation…kind of like being against blonds with big gazaba’s… I mean why? Yet despite myself I fish this pattern and the PTN. It frigging works….they work! Re the tinsel. That is what the standard pattern calls for. I use it..yet I have never liked working with tinsel and would prefer gold wire. The reason is evident by my wraps..uneven and inconsistent. You decide.  The thorax can be much less spikey and comprised of dubbing and less guard hairs. I like it spikey…a road trip without shaving.     

Hippy Hare's Ear by G. Muncy

Hippy Hare's Ear by G. Muncy


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July 2020

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