Swedish version

How to Tie a Hare's Ear Nymph
By R. Wollum

The origins of this fly are hard to come by but I found references that trace it back to the 1880's, and even as far back as the 1600's. Charles Cotton and Izaak Walton ring a bell. Enough said, this fly has stood the test of time. With all it's variations the gold ribbed hare's ear can imitate a wide variety of trout foods, but especially mayfly and stonefly nymphs. It works great on the Yellowstone, Boulder, Stillwater, Madison, Lamar, and just about every other freestone river I can think of. Here is basic recipe for tying this truly wonderful fly:

Step 1.

I like to start wrapping the thread from the middle of the hook shank backwards, stopping just in front of the barb. This gives me a good visual reference. One trick I use, which saves time is snapping the extra thread off rather than cutting it off. You simply hold the extra thread in your fingers tightly and yank it towards the eye of the hook...

Step 2.

Clipping a small amount of hair from between the eyes on the hare's mask, I pinch the tips of the hair with force and pull out the under fur.

Next, transfer the hair to the other hand, and measure the tail against the hook shank. When satisfied with the length, transfer it again so you are holding both the tail and the hook shank.

Make sure to use a loose wrap of thread to attach the tail to the hook shank. (This will prevent the hair from rolling off the hook shank). As you pull your thread up, pinch your thread between your thumb and index finger over the top of tail and pull straight down.

Step 3. Again, use the slack loop method to tie in the gold oval tinsel on the bottom of the hook shank, allow it to hang or you can put it in a material clip if you have one.

Step 4. Next pull some dubbing (under fur and guard hairs from the cheeks of the mask). Mix this soft fur together. Then pinch and spin it onto thread forming a thin noodle of dubbing. Wrap this forward to the middle of the hook shank, making several wraps of thread in front of the dubbing to secure it to the hook shank.

Step 5. Wrap your tinsel forward in an even spiral over the dubbing and tie it off. If you need to, you can use a bodkin to pull out the dubbing as you wrap the tinsel. This will ensure that your dubbing is not matted down and will spike outwards,giving your fly a more "buggy" look. Next trim any excess. Depending on fly size you'll use three to five wraps of tinsel.

You're already half way done!

Use your scissors to measure how much wing to cut. Keeping your scissors slightly open, pull them away from the quill.

Step 6. Next cut a thin grouping of turkey tail or wing. Try to be careful not to let the feather split while cutting it off the quill. Tie the turkey feather on (dull side up) using the slack loop method mentioned above. Allow the feather to stick out over the back of the hook.

Step 7. (Optional). Wrap lead around hook shank then cover with thread wraps to secure. Depending on the size of fly you're tying, you should be using .010"-.025" sized lead wire.

Tip: I like to change my thread color for each weighted fly. For example if I am tying .20" weighted flies I will use green thread for the entire fly. For .025" I will use brown. Since the dubbing covers up your thread, only the head will have a different color. This way when I'm on the stream and have found a deep hole to fish, I look for a brown threaded hare's ear nymph in my fly box.

Step 8. To complete the thorax, make a dubbing loop.

Twist this loop of dubbing several times until tight. Depending on the size of fly this could be as little as 3 turns, or as many as 20. Next, wrap this dubbing loop forward to just behind the eye of the fly. I like to use my hackle pliers for holding onto the dubbing loop for extra control. Tie off and trim excess.

Step 9. Carefully pull wing case forward (so it doesn't split), over dubbed thorax, tie off, trim, then whip finish.

Pick out the dubbed thorax under the wing with a bodkin, needle, or extra hook to bring the "legs" out. This is a good trick to get your fly to look more "buggy". The real trick however, is getting your next 20 flies to look like the one you just tied!

Other options include: bead head, soft hackle, flash back and epoxy on wing case. (see photo).

Now go out and get that big brown trout to eat your fly!

Text and photo by R. Wollum

Article published by permission of Yellowstone Angler


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© Mats Sjöstrand 2009

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