Customers come into the shop all the time asking us “what are your favorite flies to fish” and every angler has an opinion on what patterns are top flies. One of my all-time favorites has to be the Guide’s Choice Hares Ear. This was one of the first patterns I learned to tie and have been fishing it ever since. It makes for a great lead fly in the larger sizes and works well as a dropper to your dry. These instructions are for a variation of the pattern that I have found to work best for me here in Utah, the original uses fire orange thread, gold wire and a gold bead. The recipe below is for a size 14 nymph so if you do change the sizes remember to match up the hook with appropriate sized material.
As with all flies I like to experiment with the patterns; changing the color of the body and beads, adding more or less weight and changing the size. I’ve had great luck with this variation, the original and olive works great when the green drakes are hatching. Have fun with it, mess around and see what variations work for your rivers!
Guide’s Choice Hare’s Ear Recipe:
- Hook: Size 14 2X-Long nymph hook (Tiemco 5262 or equivalent)
- Thread: Fluorescent Pink 6/0
- Bead: 1/8 or 3.5mm Silver
- Body: Light Hare’s Mask Dubbing
- Rib: Small Silver Wire
- Tail: Natural Hare’s Mask
- Thorax: Strung Peacock Herl
- Wingcase: Large Pearl Tinsel
- Hackle: Hungarian Partridge Feather
- Hot Spot: Thread
Step 1. Slide a 1/8 bead on the hook with the counter sunk end facing the bend of the hook. Start a thread wrap around the shank of the hook and laydown an even baselayer of thread (usually about 1 1/2 to two trips from the eye of the hook to the barb).
Step 2. Cut off a pinch of hair from the hare’s mask, grabbing the guard hair (tips) pluck out the underfur from the bottom of the hair fibers (where you made the cut). Save the underfur to use as dubbing for the body. Measure the tail by laying the fibers on top of the hook shank with the tips roughly at the bend of the hook and measure up to the back of the bead. This is the point where you will tie the tail in, make a few wraps around the excess hair and work your way up to the bead and back down to the bend of the hook.
Step 3. Cut about a half inch piece of wire and tie it in at the same spot as the tail and make thread wraps up to the bead and back down to the bend.
Step 4. Start applying light hare’s mask dubbing and the leftover underfur to your thread in small amounts by twisting it between the thread and your fingers covering the expose thread between your bobbin and the hook shank (Dubbing wax or waxed thread will help this process). Once applied, start wrapping the thread around the shank of the hook creating a tapered body to about the halfway point of the shank.
Step 5. Start wrapping the wire in even segments up the dubbed body to where the dubbing stops. Tie off the wire with your thread with a few wraps and use an old pair scissor to cut the excess wire free.
Step 6. Cut off a piece of pearl tinsel and tie it in on the top-center of the shank, next tie in 2 strands of peacock herl in the same place (tie in at the top of the feather, this is the fullest part of the herl and will give the best results) and move your thread up towards the bead.
Step 7. Make 2 to 3 wraps with the peacock herl around the shank of the hook continuing the taper of the body and cut off the excess herl. Next pull the tinsel overtop the herl and tie it off with a few wraps of thread.
Step 8. Take a single Hungarian Partridge feather and grab it at the tip, strip off the under feather from the base of the stem with your fingers. Once you have this done gently separate the barbs of the feather at the tip of the feather creating a small triangle at the top of the feather, this will be where you tie the feather onto the hook.
Step 9. Once the feather is securely tied in make a single wrap around the shank with the partridge feather, tie it off and cut off the stem of the feather. This step may vary with the fullness of the feather, one wrap usually does the trick but I have done as many as two wraps to get the barbs the way I want.
Step 10. Finally create a small collar between the partridge feather and the bead with thread once about even with the bead finish it off with a half hitch or whip finish and add some head cement.
Stay tuned for more fly patterns from the Fishwest staff, if you have any questions or patterns you’d like to request feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org