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Golden Ribbed Hairs Ear

Printable Version


The Gold-Ribbed Hare’s Ear is a fly with origins way back beyond the last century.  Whether fished as a nymph or a emerger, it is an excellent medium olive or dark olive copy, and as a general impressionist nymph and dun it probably has no peer.  It was originally tied without a hackle, with merely the thorax fibers picked out for legs.  The wings were a-late-nineteenth century addition.

The pattern is sometimes taken for a caddis pupa when fished just below the surface.  Whether fished as a nymph or emerger, the pattern is effective when prospecting or matching an olive hatch.

Although Halford discarded the fly, probably because it was just too nondescript for his liking, he believed it to the most effective pattern used on southern chalk-streams in his time.  Many writers over the years have described the wingless version as one of the best-ever nymph-suggesting imitations.


Mustad 3906B or equivalent, 1XL, size 8-20 (12-18 most common)
8/0 brown or match body color
Hare’s Ear Fur
Oval or flat gold tinsel
Blended hare’s mask fur
Wing case:
Turkey tail segment - Mottled
Blended hare’s mask fur, picked out to suggest legs

Tying Instructions

  1. Mount the hook and attach thread.
  2. Tie in tail and ribbing.
  3. Dub abdomen on rear 2/3 of the hook.
  4. Wrap ribbing forward, tie off, and trim excess.
  5. Tie in wing case material
  6. Dub front 1/3 of body, leaving room to tie off wing case and finish head.
  7. Pull wing case over front of body, tie down, and trim excess.
  8. Pick out dubbing to suggest legs.
  9. Whip finish and cement head.

Fishing Techniques

The fly can be fished deep as the top fly on a shot and indicator rig or as the lone fly on a shot and indicator rig.  It can also be fished as an emerger pattern using a Wet Fly Swing.