Gold Ribbed Hare’s Ear Nymph Step by Step

Written by Ian Anderson

Background

The Gold Ribbed Hare’s Ear is a nymph that has been around for as long as I can remember.  It was actually one of the first trout nymphs I ever fished when introduced to the technique of nymphing.  When I decided to tie this fly for Dressed Irons and do a video I began researching the fly to find out it’s origins and history.  To my surprise, I hardly found anything on the history of the Gold Ribbed Hare’s Ear.  I consulted a number of fishing and fly tying books I have on trout nymphs and most mentioned the fly but not much on it’s history.  I did the proverbial “google” search and came up with lots of pages that explained the fly and how it was tied and what it might represent but no history.  I even found a Wikipedia page on the “Hare’s Ear” but again, nothing really on the origins or the history.  So, for now, I don’t have much about this fly from a past perspective other than my own past experiences.  If anyone reading this know anything of the origins or the history of this fly, please leave a comment below and I will gladly update this page as well as my gray cells.

As I mentioned, I have used the fly for chasing trout for may years and the natural, olive and brown colors as well as those with bead heads have really never let me down.  That is of course provided the trout are taking nymphs and not focused on something else.  The fly is tied in such a was as to represent all sorts of aquatic insects.  It can be a mayfly, a caddis, a scud or sowbug, or just about anything that creeps along the bottom of the river.  Tied with just fur from a Hare’s mask (from a face of a rabbit), a rib and a wingcase, the colors of the fur and rib can be changed up to help the fly represent the particular insects you have in your waters.  Not to mention adding a bead on the front (and of different colors) to aide in the deception.   From a fly tiers perspective, it is a simple fly to tie utilizing many basic fly tying skills and does not take long at all to tie.  The average fly tier can have a dozen of these tied up in no time.  Spend a few hours at the vise and you have enough to get your through an entire season.

I have detailed step by step instructions below for tying the Gold Ribbed Hare’s Ear Nymph.  In some regards the high resolution images might help answer questions as to how to tie this fly.  I also have a detailed video on the tying of the Gold Ribbed Hare’s Ear Nymph (see below).  I recommend you watch the video first and refer back to it because there is some information that is in the video that is not included in this article.  At the same time, there is some information included in this article that is not in the video.  Just remember, it is fly tying, it is supposed to be fun and learning new flies and techniques, while confusing as you are learning, can be quite fun and rewarding.

If you have any questions about the article or the video, do not hesitate to leave me a comment here or on YouTube (the video) and I will be glad to help clear anything up.

  Materials

Hook: Mustad 3906, #10 – #18 (Standard Nymph Hook)
Thread: Wapsi UTC Ultra Thread 70 Denier, Brown
Rib: Danville Oval Tinsel, Gold, size 14 for #10 & #12 hooks and Size 18 for #14 – #18 hooks
Abdomen: Light Hare’s Mask underfur
Wingcase: Turkey Tail
Thorax: Darker Hare’s mask fur with guard hairs and underfur mixed.

 

Instructions

1)  Place the hook in the vise.  You can de-barb the hook if you like. The Gold Ribbed Hare's Ear - Step by Step
2)  Attach the thread about one eye length behind the eye of the hook. The Gold Ribbed Hare's Ear - Step by Step
3)  Catch the end of the rib under the hook with the thread and wind down the hook shank a few wraps. The Gold Ribbed Hare's Ear - Step by Step
4)  Move the rib from the side of the hook facing you to the opposite side.  This will help keep the rib on the bottom of the hook and even over to the other side a little while you tie in the rib under the hook the entire length of the hook. The Gold Ribbed Hare's Ear - Step by Step
5)  Wrap the tread down the hook shank binding in the rib.  Stop when you are past the hook point but before the barb of the hook. The Gold Ribbed Hare's Ear - Step by Step
6)  Cut out a section of Hare’s Mask fur and clean out the underfur.  Tie in the guard hair where the thread is hanging with just a few wraps up the hook shank. The Gold Ribbed Hare's Ear - Step by Step
7)  If the butt ends of the hairs extend into and past the hook eye, you will want to trim them back to the length of the body. The Gold Ribbed Hare's Ear - Step by Step
8)  Bind in the butt end of the tail and take the thread back to between the point of the hook and the barb of the hook. The Gold Ribbed Hare's Ear - Step by Step
9)  Cut out some of the lighter hair from the Hare’s mask and remove the guard hairs.  Use the remaining underfur to make a 1 1/2 inch to 2 inch long dubbing noodle on the thread.  Make certain to taper the noodle so it is sparser towards the hook. The Gold Ribbed Hare's Ear - Step by Step
10)  Apply the dubbing noodle to form the abdomen of the fly.  You will want the abdomen to be tapered, meaning narrow in the back by the tail and gradually getting larger until you are just past the half way point on the hook shank. The Gold Ribbed Hare's Ear - Step by Step
11)  Palmer the rib around the abdomen.  When completed you should have about 4 turns of the rib around the abdomen by the time you get to the thread.  Secure the remaining rib material and cut away the excess. The Gold Ribbed Hare's Ear - Step by Step
12)  Cut out a slip of turkey tail that has about 6 to 7 barbs in it.  Tie in the butt ends in front of the abdomen and wrap the thread down the hook shank to bind in the wingcase and end up right at the forward end of the abdomen. The Gold Ribbed Hare's Ear - Step by Step
13)  Cut out a clump of darker fur from the Hare’s mask and mix the guard hairs and underfur together.  Use this to make a 2 inch dubbing noodle on the thread. The Gold Ribbed Hare's Ear - Step by Step
14)  Wrap the dubbing noodle you just created onto the hook starting where the abdomen ended and continue to just behind the eye of the hook. The Gold Ribbed Hare's Ear - Step by Step
15)  With the thread just behind the eye of the hook, fold the wingcase over the back of the thorax and extending out in front of the fly.  It should be directly over the back of the thorax not off to one side.

The Gold Ribbed Hare's Ear - Step by Step

The Gold Ribbed Hare's Ear - Step by Step
16)  Secure the wingcase to the hook with three or four turns of thread right behind the eye of the hook and trim away the remaining turkey tail fibers. The Gold Ribbed Hare's Ear - Step by Step
17)  Make a small head to cover up any materials behind the eye of the hook and add a four or five turn whip finish to secure the thread. The Gold Ribbed Hare's Ear - Step by Step
18)  Once you have trimmed away the thread you will want to take a dubbing brush, if you have one, or use the end of your bodkin to tease out some of the guard hairs and/or underfur under the thorax.  These will act as legs for the nymph.

The Gold Ribbed Hare's Ear - Step by Step

The Gold Ribbed Hare's Ear - Step by Step
19)  Once you have the legs teased out for the fly add a drop of head cement to the threads behind the eye of the hook and the fly is complete. The Gold Ribbed Hare's Ear - Step by Step

If you prefer, there is a video on tying this fly.  I recommend you watch the video even if you prefer the step-by-step directions as the video can clarify some of the steps.

Feel free to leave a comment or question below.  If you would like, you can purchase some Gold Ribbed Hare’s Ear Nymphs here (while supplies last).

Always Remember…It’s Fly Tying… If You’re Not Having Fun, You’re Doin’ it Wrong!