Confidence flies, The Hares Ear and its Variations
by: Nathan Wight
The Hares Ear has been around for a long time. In fact, we can trace its roots back to the 1880’s. What we know and fish today was not how the fly started. It was originally thought of as a dry fly but was changed to what we know today as the Hares Ear nymph by Frederic Halford. The Hares Ear Nymph has been a staple in fly boxes since and has been written about by many of the greats in the industry like Joe Brooks and Randall Kaufmann. So, what does a Hares Ear represent? Originally it was intended to imitate a May fly and is still a great representative of a variety of May fly nymphs. However, with a few modifications it can be a great “searching” pattern. Adding a hot spot of color in the thorax or a strip of flash over the shell case can grab the attention of trout. I tie Hares Ears in a variety of sizes and colors. Some are unweighted, but most of them have a bead. I use both Tungsten beads and brass beads for different fishing conditions. Most of them are tied on a longer straight shanked nymph style hook, but they are quite effective on a Jig/Euro hook as well. I like to tie mine from sizes 10 – 18. Colors I prefer for the North Maine Woods, Natural, Brown, Olive, and Dark grey.
The one style that I will always have in my box is what has been referred to as “Western” style. This incorporates rubber legs into the fly, essentially creating a mini Stone Fly effect. While guiding at Libby Camps with the exception of only a few days, this style Hares Ear is one of my go-to patterns. Whether fished in a tandem nymph rig or as a dropper in dry /dropper combo it has led many a customer to be connected to a wild Maine Brooke Trout.
Nate Wight’s Hares Ear Recipe
- Hook: all-purpose nymph hook, like Sprite Hooks S1830 or Partridge G3A/LY in sizes 10-18.
- Bead: tungsten or brass in 2.5-4.0 mm
- Thread: Veevus 30D or 70D Ultra thread.
- Wire rib: small UTC to match your bead.
- Tail: longer guard hairs from a Hares Mask.
- Body: Hares Mask.
- Thorax: Hare’s Mask under fur, the fibers from the “ears” create the buggiest look.
- Wing Case: Pheasant tail Fibers, Turkey tail fibers, thin skin, or Flashabou depending on the look you want.
- Optional: Legs, Montana Fly centipede legs in size small.
**Side Note: The key to getting Hares Mash under fur is a good dubbing rake. This allows you to rake out the needed fibers to be used as dubbing for the body and Thorax. The best I’ve found so far is the new Dubbing Rake from Hareline Products.
Nathan Wight is a fourth generation Master Maine Guide, with over 20 years of guiding and 40 years of tying experience. This will be Nathans second full season at Libby Camps guiding for trout and salmon. He currently lives in Durham Maine and with the help of his wife Shana runs North Woods Fly and Guide Service LLC. When not guiding he is a Sales Representative for Fishing Matters for the US market, covering Sprite Hooks, Partridge Hooks, Marryat Fly Rods and HENDS flotant.