GRHE6. The White Gold Ribbed Hare's Ear Nymph Fly
GOLD RIBBED HARE'S EAR FLY PATTERNS. Hook size 10 12 14 16 18 20 - $US each
THE GOLD RIBBED HARE'S EAR NYMPH
The Gold Ribbed Hare's Ear is one of the all time great effective classic patterns. It is a 'must have' fly in everyone's fly box. It is not an imitation of a particular insect but a general representation pattern that takes fish again and again and again. I would not be without it. We have increased our range to 12 variations to suit all water conditions and color. It’s shaggy appearance resembles many species of nymphs when they shed their skins or ‘shucks’ as they progress into the next stage of their life. In the past to make this pattern more of a killing machine fly fishermen used to tease out the fur below the thorax to make it resemble legs. We have left that natural fur untrimmed on purpose, to help in the deception. The occasional long hair coming from the body will assist fooling the trout that your fly is alive as the it moves in the water. Too often you see neatly trimmed Gold Ribbed Hares Ear nymphs for sale in tackle shops. Those fly manufacturers are missing the point. The more scruffy this fly is the better it is at catching fish.
It is a very old pattern and has certainly been around for over two centuries. No one knows with certainty who originally designed the fly but it is attributed to the Victorian tyer James Ogden. It is believed that Frederick Halford popularized the pattern in the late 1880s as a dry fly, but later dismissed it as it did not represent a specific insect. The vogue at that period was for flies to match the hatch exactly. Traditionally, to give it it's bug like appearance, the pattern used fur from a hare's ear, mingling the longer guard hairs with the lighter colored under fur and dubbing for a body. Rabbit fur is easier to obtain and now more widely used. The mayfly nymph can be imitated quite well with a large gold ribbed Hare's ear. It can be fished either weighted or un-weighted. If greased, it floats and provides an excellent imitation of large, hatching mayflies and caddis fly pupae. The most common method of fishing this popular fly is on a dead drift. The nymph is cast upstream and allowed to drift with the current. This is a most effective short-range technique and takes are usually seen as a splash at the surface. The Gold Ribbed Hare's Ear has proven it's effectiveness in lakes. Fished very slowly near the bed of the lake it is particularly attractive to brown trout. Along with the pheasant tail nymph it is one of our most ordered flies. Both flies should be in your fly box in different sizes and shades.
Some nymphs are classified as crawlers. They live among rocks and debris feeding on vegetation. They have well developed legs that enable them to crawl along the bottom of the river without getting swept away. They stay hidden among the rocks and debris and are seldom available to the trout. They are not very good swimmers. If they do lose contact with the river bottom they can drift for long distances before sinking to the bottom again. They are very vulnerable if this happens. A Gold Ribbed Hairs Ear Nymph or Pheasant Tail Nymph is ideal as a nymph imitation for these insects. On rivers where the water surface is broken or there is a lot of fishing pressure, you may find the trout more cautious and feed exclusively on drifting nymphs ignoring anything on the surface. If you see drifting and flying duns but no rises this is what the fish are doing and you will need to change tactics from surface dry flies to nymph fishing. The best way to choose your nymph imitation is to collect a few samples of the natural insect from the river or stream bed and match the size and color. Remember to look at them up to the light to see their true color as seen by the fish. Trout normally attack their prey from below and will look at them against the light of the bright sky. Nymphs that look black in the hand turn out to be brown or olive when the light is behind them
THE WASHING LINE RIG
I like using this set up of buzzers and Gold Ribbed Hares Ears on droppers when other tactics are not working. Rather than have the point fly at the end of your leader, the largest and heaviest fly to help the leader sink, I tie on a very buoyant booby nymph. This keeps the end of the leader up near the surface. I then tie on a mixture of three buzzers or Gold Ribbed Hares Ears each on their own dropper. They dangle down in the water, off the horizontal leader, just like clothing hanging down from a washing line. It simulates buzzers that are nearing the surface just before they reach the top and emerge into adults. I tie the leader onto an intermediate or slow sinking line.
In August during a heatwave I went to a local fishery in Southern England. Talking to a few of the anglers on the lake they said that the fishing was slow as expected. They were all fishing deep with three buzzers on droppers tied to a long leader. If I did the same I would get the same results. It was too early for a hatch but I believed that the nymphs might be getting ready for the hatch and moving up through the water. I tied on a 'washing line rig' and sent out my first cast. I caught four times the amount of fish as the other stillwater fly fishermen.
FISHING FOR TROUT OR STEELHEADS IN SALMON COUNTRY
If you are lucky enough to live, or go fishing in a salmon fishing area, from July onwards lookout for the red marked salmon lying in mid stream. It is salmon spawning time. It is not hard to locate trout or steelheads. Just look about three feet behind every pair of spawning salmon. The trout are fixed on eating salmon eggs that escape the gravel nest being made to keep the eggs safe. Egg patterns are a good choice but are not the only pattern to choose. Before spawning the salmon pair start digging a groove in the gravel of the river bed. This is called a 'redd'. This nest building activity disturbs and flushes out insects from the gravel. The trout are on the look out for disturbed stoneflies, mayfly nymphs and caddis larvae. If your egg patterns are not working because the fish are being very selective try a Gold Ribbed Hares Ear. They will get you a good sized fish that you might not be able to fool with a traditional egg.
If you are fishing water that allows the use of a dropper, try a Gold Ribbed Hares Ear behind an egg pattern. The egg will get the trout's attention but you will be surprised how many reject the egg and go after the nymph. If the regulations do not allow this type of fishing I normally like to spot a good target fish. It may take about 15 drifts of the nymph in front of of the fish. Most feeding trout will eventually take the fly. Whilst fishing in Scotland on the River Dee, three large Sea trout took my orange gold ribbed hare's ears. It was a great days fishing. Perfect weather conditions (which is a bit unusual for Scotland). I took one of the catch to the local restaurant. I asked the chief to prepare and cook it. My partner and I had a fantastic evening meal of fresh caught Sea trout, by candle light.
There is a trout feeding pattern that you should always be on the look out for. The tell tale sign is when you see a fish tail popping out of the water. The fish is head down in the weed, sometimes ripping out the weed with its mouth, trying to disturb all the shrimp, nymphs, pupa and scuds that have sort refuge in the weed. This is where they live and feed. This is the only way trout and grayling can get at weed imbedded insects and crustaceans. The fish dive aggressively head long into the weed mass with the object of panicking the residents to make a dash to an alternative place of safety. This is what the fish are after. They start to feed on all the fleeing food forms. Do not cast when you see tailing trout. Wait until the tails have disappeared and the fish are hunting. The harvesting of panicked insect phase is when the fly fisher can make the most impact. Place your fly in the feeding zone and let it let it drift at the mercy of the current and to tumble about just like the naturals. Give a short sharp strip to imitate them fleeing to escape.
Nymphs represent insects in their under water aquatic life stage. This stage comes before the adult stage where the insects emerge out of the water and fly away, normally to mate and lay eggs (dry fly). Technically the term 'Nymph' means the juvenile stage of a Mayfly but it is commonly used to refer to any insect in it's aquatic life stage. Nymphs are, perhaps one of the most deadliest ways of taking most species of freshwater fish. In a river or stream, they can be fished anywhere from just beneath the surface to imitate emerging or drowned flies to right to the bottom to imitate the unhatched larvae. These flies weigh a little more than a dry fly, and weight is often added to them in order for them to achieve the proper depth. This additional weight makes them a little harder to cast but the good news is that there is almost no wind resistance. Generally fish nymph flies along the bottom, move them slowly and smoothly. Every now and then dart the fly forward as if it is attacking its prey or trying to escape from the advances of a predatory large fish. Such movements hopefully may induce a following trout to take your fly.
All fly fishing men and women dream of being on the water during a hatch or a spinner fall and watching our fly being gently sipped under the surface of the water by a large trout. This is one of the most exciting times in our sport but what about the other 90% of the time when there is not and action on the surface? The fish are still feeding. Yes you can keep casting away at likely spots with dry flies but you would have more success if you placed your fly where the fish were feeding and that is under water.
If the water is not clear and you cannot see your target fish you will have to read the water to try and find out the best place to cast your fly. Large areas of the river will hold no trout at all. Trout are usually solitary feeders and can normally be found next to something solid like a big boulder, patch of weeds, or the river bank. They lie up in stretches of the river where there is a high concentration of food. Look for creases on the water surface. These are lines that normally run downstream. They are caused by bodies of water, flowing at different rates, colliding. Trout food is concentrated in and around these creases. Food is carried by the current and concentrated where the current is funneled in the fast water of runs, riffles, creases plus the heads and tails of pools.
There is often slack water by the river bank and fast flowing water a few inches away. This is why a lot of trout can be found near the bank. Boulders and weedbeds cause the water to speed up to as they get past them. A crease is formed between the fast and slow water that traps floating aquatic insects in the eddies. Fish the crease and providing the trout are feeding you will catch fish. Fish like to conserve energy and hold in slower moving slack water on the edge of faster water. This enables the food to come to them and they are close enough to nip out into the faster water to intercept their target food as it drifts past. Look for seams of foaming turbulent water as it pass over submerged boulders. Even though there is a current of fast moving water on the surface there is a pocket of slower water beneath it and some of these pockets will hold fish.
If the nymph does not drift naturally the trout will refuse it. Try to keep as much of the line off the water as possible and follow the end of the line as it travels down stream with my rod tip. Set the hook at any tightening or unnatural movement or flutter of the strike indicator. Some of these will be the snagging of the nymph on the bottom but a number will be fish. If you find you are not getting any takes change the nymph to a smaller size. If it is clear water choose natural colored patterns and longer leaders with lighter tippets. If the water is dirty or colored use a more brighter colored and large pattern to help the trout see what is being offered to them.
Over 100 years ago past masters like G.E.M Skues fished his nymph imitations close to the bank. "I am always amazed at how many fly fishermen overlook the large trout lurking close to the bank. I call them 'Bankers'." Just choose a small weighted nymph like this one. It will cut through the surface film and sink to the bottom. Approach your selected spot from down stream without spooking the fish. Caste upstream and drift your fly to a trout feeding in one of these near to the bank spots. Watch the trout strike the fly.
GOLD BEAD HEAD FLIES
The gold colored beads add weight to a fly. It helps when you need to fish a fly on or near the river bottom. It is also suggested that the bead imitates an air bubble. This is a bonus when trying to imitate Sedge Pupa. Because the bead is at the front of the fly it is this section that dives to the river floor first when the line is paused on the retrieve. After casting the fly try retrieve, pause, retrieve, pause. This helps animate the fly and makes them more attractive to the trout. If a sunbeam shines through the water it will reflect off the shinny gold bead head surface and hopefully help in catching the eye of a predatory trout. I prefer gold colored beads as I believe your chances of a fish taking your fly are improved. Many classic patterns have gold bead head variations. We have included 6 variations of our Gold Ribbed Hare's Ear Nymphs. Have fun. Have a great day. Go fly fishing!.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF NYMPH FISHING
Many of the very early flies fished below the surface were being used in the North of England and Scotland. Many of these wet fly techniques were being developed into a fine art. Down in the South of England , during the Victorian era, on the clear chalk streams of Hampshire and Wiltshire it was the floating or Dry Fly technique that became popular in fly fishing circles. It was considered the most sporting method of tempting trout. By the end of the nineteenth century the rule of 'dry fly only' had become entrenched on most rivers. this was despite knowing fact that large river fish rarely feed on the surface. These values were transported around the British Empire.
However this dogma was challenged by one G.E.M. Skues, who fished on the famous River Itchen. Skues made himself very unpopular with the Victorian dry fly traditionalists, by singing the praises of a nymph pattern fished just beneath the surface to represent a hatching fly. Eventually Skues' arguments won the day and on most chalk streams the rules were changed so Gentlemen could fish either a floating fly or a nymph.
With the 'rot' having set in, Frank Sawyer, a South England, Hampshire Avon river keeper, publicized his new 'induced take' method of fishing a heavily weighted nymph from near the river bottom. A method still widely used on both chalk and rough water streams.
With the building of reservoirs for public water supplies the opportunity for trout fishing increased in areas that previously had poor fishing resources. Many of the reservoirs are extremely deep and new nymph fishing techniques and lures have been developed to tempt the huge trout that live at the bottom. The growing popularity of stillwater trout fishing has led to many farmers and landowners digging trout pools as an extra source of revenue. These small stillwater lakes and ponds make fly fishing accessible to more people.
There is normally no need to hurry to be on the water before noon in winter and you will be finished by dusk. The best winter fishing is during the warmest part of the day. Trout food is not as scarce as you think at this time of the year. You might not see any insect activity on the water surface but there is lots of activity on the bottom as they prepare for the coming season of hatches. A trout’s metabolism slows in the cold water but it still needs to eat to survive. They may not eat as much as in the summer but they still search out food.
Nymph fishing is the best method for this time of the year. Lightning Bug, Copper John, Beaded Gold Ribbed Hare’s Ear Nymphs and Pheasant Tail Nymphs fished dead drift in the current can be very productive. Make sure you work the water thoroughly as cold winter trout will not move a great distance to take a fly. I concentrate on deeper runs, pools and shallow water. I fish slow and deep on a floating line with a strike detector. Takes can be subtle so you have to concentrate hard.
These game fish are very abundant throughout Alberta, British Columbia and many of the western states of the USA. The most popular flies are beaded Prince's Nymph, Gold Ribbed Hares Ears and wet flies like the Royal Coachman in size #12 to #16. Some of the more popular streams for mountain whitefish in Alberta are the Athabasca, North Saskatchwan, Red Deer, Bow, Highwood, Sheep, Oldman, Livingstone, Crowsnest, Castle, Waterton, Belly and St Mary rivers. Spawning occurs from late September to early November over gravelbeds. The eggs are broadcast not buried in s redd like salmoniods. They are a long lived species with a 20 year old specimen being recorded in a reservoir and they can grow to over 5lbs. Autumn fall period is the traditional time to catch mountain whitefish, as after gathering to spawn in late August they move into over wintering pools where they remain until spring breaks. Use a pair of polarized sunglasses. They tend to move around a lot. Look for flashes of silver as they jostle for position in the current. It is not uncommon to find over 50 fish hold up in the same pool. During the summer Mountain whitefish tend to favour turbulent pocket water as well as deep runs and large pool. Mountain whitefish are popular as a table fish and fantastic when smoked - particularly the smaller ones.
Yesterday was the last day of the inland trout season in the State of Wisconsin, so I went to my favorite nearby stream called Black Earth Creek. Tried several flies that you sold me when BINGO! caught the three biggest rainbow trout that I have ever caught, all of them on your Orange Gold Ribbed Hares Ear Nymph Fly. Great Day
Bob Olach, Wisconsin, USA
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