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The Hare’s Ear – A Winter Wonder

The downturn in fly life during the Winter Season shouldn’t put you off fishing in the coming months as we need to continue supporting our local fisheries and keep the sport alive during quiet spells. The Hare’s Ear is a popular fly for the winter and James investigates why.

As we get into the month of October and the Winter season on the horizon the water temperature on many waters is down and levels have comeback up as the springs kick back in again. The fishing can still be excellent and I have landed some fantastic rainbows at this time of the year and a few late season brownies too. More often in late September and more especially when river fishing, the trout can be in prime condition and aggressive eaters, stocking up due to the coming winter months and the downturn in fly life. A fly I have a great success rate with and favour throughout the season from around May right through the year is the Hare’s Ear.

A very popular nymph wet fly, the Hare’s Ear can definitely attract fish to take even when there is no hatch on and when the fly life on the water has begun to dwindle. During the slightly warmer and milder days in October, albeit scarce in the Scottish climate, the fish may rise to buzzers, caddis pupas and sedges, so depending on the weather on any given day there are different variants to the Hare’s Ear which can be very effective. I think the standard gold ribbed Hare’s Ear is a spot on imitation of a caddis pupa rising to the surface and best fished in the top 5 feet of water.

fly of the month

The bead-headed varieties such as the Gold Head and Hot Head are big favourites of mine and ones I use during most outings during the season. During the colder days and when fish are not rising much, a couple of gold heads sizes 12-14 often do the trick, fished on a long leeda of about 10 feet or a sinking tippet so they can get down to where the fish could be. Fished on a slow retrieve making the gold heads pop up slowly and then sink back again in a nymph movement has given me some great hard takes.

The hot head hare’s ear I like to work in a very similar fashion to the gold head in that the head, either gold or red bead, acts as the lure and hopefully grabs the attention of a stalking trout, and the ribbed body and tufts of the hare’s ear act as the bait which all going well it should take. What an ideal world that sounds. The hot head red bead variant has faired me well on a few waters this year, especially at times when the fish are taking other red beaded flies such as damsels and nomad lures.

A Selection of Hare's Ear Flies

A Selection of Hare's Ear Flies

In warmer outings when a rise is on and fly life is evident, the foam head Hare’s Ear has given me limited success but at least one to remember. I often fish this fly on the point with a small gold head or weighted fly on a mid dropper so that the line goes down but with the hare’s ear bobbing back up towards the surface as I retrieve. I fished this exact pattern one mid June a few years back at Bowden Springs fishery near Linlithgow and with the water being especially clear on this day I had very good visibility on the fish and also the suspended hare’s ear bobbing just below the surface. I was watching my line when straight out about 20 feet in front of my fly the water started to wake from the fin of a trout which had spotted the fly and was making a beeline for it. The clear visual of all this happening and then striking into the trout was a joy and after a nice tussle I brought in a 4lb brownie. On the back of this I have been using the Hare’s Ear and the several variants on a regular basis ever since and will definitely continue.

hares-ears-collection Full Mill – Hares Ears Selection – £8.95

– Flashback Hare’s Ear W
– Flashback Hare’s Ear W
– Flashback Olive W
– Flashback Olive W
– Grhe Nymph
– Grhe Nymph
– Grhe Nymph Weighted
– Grhe Nymph Weighted
– Hare’s Ear
– Hare’s Ear Special

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