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).


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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).

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