So, what makes the extremely popular Gold-Ribbed Hare’s Ear the No. 1 “searching nymph.” First, hair taken from the hare’s ears are a combination of long, multi-toned, stiff hair and short, multi-toned, soft hair. Once made into a dubbing material, it is natural looking – rugged, soft and buggy! The color scheme represents many of the natural food items available to fish. Second, the pattern can be used at any time of the year and during most conditions with confidence. Third, the materials are easy to obtain, and the fly pattern is both ties easily and lends itself well to modification.
Gold-Ribbed Hare’s Ear (GRHE)
The Gold-Ribbed Hare's Ear is an old pattern referred to in many early fly-fishing journals. The origin of the Hare’s Ear Nymph is not fully known. Halford dressed the pattern as a winged dry fly, while more recently the GRHE has been tied as a winged wet fly, and as a nymph having a distinct thorax with wing case. An English fly tyer is believed to have created the first hare’s ear nymph body using hare’s ear dubbing in 1910 as simply a modification on the long-lived Gold-Ribbed Hare's Ear wet fly. It was tied with a fur tail and body and with a fur 'hackle'. In its original form the GRHE was fished wet or dry. The Hare's Ear nymph is a fly pattern that is fished below the surface; an older pattern that imitates a variety of aquatic life, including scuds, sow bugs, mayfly nymphs, and caddis larvae.
Some fly-fishers prefer to use a fly having a flat gold tinsel rib. You can also incorporate some weight under the body/thorax or use a gold bead (GRHE Goldhead). The use of different colored tying threads can impart subtle and useful differences of hue and tone – brown, black and the standard primrose are useful alternatives. You can also use dyed hare's ear for non-standard GRHE nymphs, olive can be very effective, while fur can be selected from specific areas of the hare's ear and mask to create a pattern with a colour to suit your needs.
Commercial variations include: Bead Head, Golden Bead Head or as the Aussie say “Golden-Nugget,” Tungsten Bead Head, Rubber Legged and Flashback in the dyed-black, dyed-brown, natural and dyed-olive colors using various gold wire, flat tinsel or oval tinsel ribbing. The Western versions are tied bulkier and in larger (size 8-14) that the Eastern versions (size 10-16).
Soft hair and stiff bristles from a hare are wound around the shank of the hook and fastened with gold wire that suggests ribs. Sometimes a bead head or a lead substitute wire underbody is added for weight and stability in the water. A few strands of hair or pheasant feather fibers is added for a tail. Traditional coloring is a natural Hare’s ear brown body with orange or brown tying thread.
The Gold-Ribbed Hare’s Ear (GRHE) is an effective pattern throughout the year because it covers a broad spectrum of prey that are active in every season. When this fly is immersed, the stiff fibers in the dubbing stand out and imitate the legs of an insect. Fish this lure below the surface with or without a small strike indicator and split-shot to help it sink.
The Gold-Ribbed Hare’s Ear nymph (GRHE) is used to represents a wide range of aquatic insect larvae. The pattern is especially good at representing lighter colored species of mayfly and caddis. It is very useful on still water and moving water for targeting numerous species including amongst others: trout, grayling, panfish, and carp. To imitate darker insect larvae, you might do better with a dyed-black, dyed-brown or dyed-olive variation of the fly pattern.
In still water present the GRHE using a slow hand-twist or use a wind drift. In moving water use standard nymph tactics (drag free drift, rising nymph, wet-fly swing).
Fly of the Month 3.18
Gold-Ribbed Hare’s Ear Nymph
There are numerous coloration and material substitutes when tying this pattern, while keeping the same concept as originally designed. The following includes both original and updated approaches. The traditional material is in bold type. The changes will expand this pattern ability to mimic dozens of insect in varying conditions.
Hook: Tiemco 100 or equivalent 12,14,16,18
Thread: Uni 8/0 or equivalent in color to match
Tail: Hare's Mask fibers, Hungarian Partridge, Pheasant Tail in color to match
Abdomen: Hare's Ear dubbing with gold ribbing ( oval tinsel, wire, or Flashabou) in color to match
Thorax: Hare's Ear dubbing in color to match
Wingcase: Turkey Tail, Pheasant Tail, Flashback material
Bead: Brass or Tungsten to match hook size