How To Tie A Gold Ribbed Hare’s Ear: From Novice To Pro

When it’s time to hit the fishing spot, you reach into your tackle box, searching for that one irresistible fly pattern that has enticed countless trout: the Gold Ribbed Hare’s Ear. But wait, you realize you don’t know how to tie it! Don’t fret because we’ve got your solution.

Gather the necessary tools and materials like a hook, thread, gold wire, and more. Prepare the hook and bead, adding weight with wire to ensure the fly sinks just right.

With the thread secured, it’s time to create the body using the dubbing material, skillfully applying it to give the fly a realistic appearance. But that’s not all – there are a few more steps to perfecting this classic pattern.

Join us in this guide, where we’ll delve into the intricacies of rib preparation, wingcase creation, and finishing touches. So, Get ready to master the art of tying the GHRE.

Read Related Articles:

The Origin of Gold-Ribbed Hare’s Ear

Let’s take a trip back in time to appreciate the Gold Ribbed Hare’s Ear’s rich history. This fly pattern traces its roots to the innovative mind of Victorian tier James Ogden.

Initially created as a dry fly, it gained recognition in Frederick M. Halford’s influential book, “Floating Flies and How to Dress Them.” However, it is the nymph version that has gained immense popularity among anglers, owing to its ability to mimic a variety of aquatic insects.

As fly fishing techniques evolved, so did the Gold Ribbed Hare’s Ear. Anglers soon realized that the nymph version of this pattern was a more precise imitation of naturals.

Its realistic appearance, coupled with its lifelike movement in the water, made it irresistible to trout and other species. Today, the nymph version of the Gold Ribbed Hare’s Ear is a staple in fly boxes worldwide.

What Makes the Gold Ribbed Hare’s Ear a Remarkable Fly Pattern?

As we all know now about the origin of this pattern, it’s time to explore what makes the Gold Ribbed Hare’s Ear fly pattern truly remarkable. Hailing from the rich history of fly fishing, this pattern has stood the test of time and remains a favorite among anglers worldwide.

Versatility: A Jack-of-All-Trades Fly Pattern

The Gold Ribbed Hare’s Ear is the Swiss Army knife of fly patterns. Its versatility lies in its ability to imitate a wide range of subsurface insects. Whether you’re targeting stoneflies, mayflies, or caddisflies, this fly does it all. Its uncanny resemblance to various larvae makes it a go-to choice for anglers seeking a fly that can fool fish in different scenarios.

Lifelike Appearance: Fooling Fish with Realism

One of the Gold Ribbed Hare’s Ear’s secrets lies in its realistic appearance. The combination of hare mask dubbing and gold ribbing creates a fly that closely resembles the natural insects found in the water. This attention to detail fools even the most discerning fish, enticing them to strike without hesitation. It’s as if Mother Nature herself tied this fly.

Natural Movement: A Dance Beneath the Surface

As the Gold Ribbed Hare’s Ear drifts through the water, it exhibits a subtle, natural movement. The materials used in its construction, combined with the intricately ribbed body, create an enticing dance beneath the surface. This lifelike motion grabs the attention of nearby fish, triggering their predatory instincts. It’s a game of seduction between angler and prey.

Durable and Long-lasting: Built to Endure

Durability is a crucial factor in any fly pattern’s success, and the Gold Ribbed Hare’s Ear doesn’t disappoint. Crafted with hardy materials like a hare’s mask and sturdy thread, this fly can withstand multiple strikes without losing its charm. Seasoned anglers appreciate its longevity, making it a cost-effective choice that keeps delivering results.

Consistent Fish-Producer: A Trusty Companion

The Gold Ribbed Hare’s Ear has stood the test of time as a consistent fish producer. Its effectiveness has been proven across a wide range of fishing scenarios, from rivers and lakes to streams and ponds. Whether you’re a novice or a seasoned angler, this fly pattern is a trustworthy companion that consistently puts fish on the end of your line.

How Long Does It Take to Tie a Gold-Ribbed Hare’s Ear?

When tying a Gold Ribbed Hare’s Ear, you’ll be delighted to know that it’s a relatively quick and straightforward process. With some practice, you can tie this fly pattern in just about 3 to 5 minutes. The simplicity of its design, along with the availability of the necessary materials, allows for efficient and swift tying.

Whether you’re getting ready for a last-minute fishing trip or need to replenish your fly box in a hurry, the Gold Ribbed Hare’s Ear is a fantastic option that won’t keep you waiting for long.

What Are The Necessary Tools And Materials for Tying A GRHE?

As we all know, without the proper tools and materials, any task becomes challenging, if not impossible. When tying a GRHE (Gold Ribbed Hare’s Ear), a popular fly pattern in fly fishing, having the right equipment is essential to create a successful and effective fly.


  • Hook: You’ll need a hook in the appropriate size range, typically #16 to #12. Opt for a reliable brand like Kamasan to ensure quality.
  • Weight: To give your fly that perfect sink rate, add some weight using up to 6 turns of lead wire. This will help get your fly down to the feeding zone.
  • Thread: Grab some rusty brown 8/0 Uni-Thread to secure and bind the materials together. This thread is strong and reliable, ensuring your fly stays intact during those intense battles with trout and grayling.
rusty brown 80 Uni Thread | Honest Fishers
  • Tail: For the tail, ginger cock fibers are the way to go. These fibers add movement and lifelike appeal to your fly, enticing the fish to strike.
  • Body & Thorax: Light Hares Mask is the star of the show here. This versatile material creates the body and thorax of the fly, imitating various insect nymphs.
  • Rib: To give your Gold Ribbed Hare’s Ear that signature look, use gold ribbing. This adds a touch of flash and acts as an attractor to draw fish in.


  • Vise: A reliable vise is essential for securely holding your hook while you tie. Make sure it’s sturdy and provides a solid grip.
  • Bobbin: Load up your bobbin with the rusty brown thread. This tool allows you to smoothly and evenly wrap the thread around the hook.
  • Scissors: A good pair of sharp scissors is crucial for trimming materials and ensuring clean, precise cuts. This will give your fly a professional finish.
  • Bodkin or Dubbing Needle: Use a bodkin or dubbing needle to tease out and manipulate the materials, creating a more realistic and buggy appearance.

How Do You Tie a Gold Ribbed Hare’s Ear? Step-by-Step Tying Process:

Now, we’re going to walk you through the step-by-step process of tying a modified version of the Gold Ribbed Hare’s Ear fly pattern. So, grab your tying vise, and let’s get started!

Step 1: Prepare the Hook and Bead

Start by placing the gold bead onto the hook, a small hole first. Secure the hook firmly in your tying vise. Make sure to choose a barbless hook or mash the barb down to make it barbless, which is more fish-friendly.

Step 2: Add Weight with Wire

To add weight and help the fly sink faster, wrap 10 to 12 wraps of 0.015 lead-free wire around the hook shank. Hold the wire tip with your left hand while holding the spool in your right. Take about 10 wraps around the hook shank and use your fingernail to trim off the excess wire close to the hook.

Step 3: Secure the Wire and Bead

Although not essential, applying a drop of Zappa Gap adhesive to the hook shank using a bodkin ensures that the wire stays in place. Once the wire is secured, push it forward into the back of the bead. Turn the remaining bit of wire around the hook shank to prevent it from slipping.

Step 4: Start the Thread

Take a single wrap of the Olive Danville thread around the tip of the index finger of your left hand. Pinch the wrap with your thumb, and then start the thread on the hook shank. Take several wraps rearward, towards the bend of the hook. Finally, pull the tag end forward parallel to the hook shank and break it off cleanly.

Step 5: Prepare the Rib

Break off an eight to ten-inch length of gold brassy-sized ultra wire. Attach the wire to the near side of the hook and let the thread torque carry it to the far side. Take wraps rearward, stopping just above the hook bar. This initial placement will become important later on.

Step 6: Add the Tail

Take hold of ten to twelve natural-colored pheasant tail fibers, ensuring their tips are aligned. Strip the fibers free from the stem and trim off the curly ends to prevent interference. Measure the fibers to form a tail slightly longer than the hook gap.

With a pinch wrap, secure the tail to the top of the hook shank. Continue taking thread wraps forward, securing the pheasant tail all the way up to just behind the bead. Then, position your thread back to one-third of the distance from the back of the bead to the base of the tail.

Step 7: Apply Dubbing to the Abdomen

Select your custom blend dubbing material, consisting of short, spiky hair from a hare’s mask mixed with naturally colored rabbit fur dubbing. Create a long, slender noodle of dubbing on your tying thread, tapered at both ends. Start taking wraps so the dubbing begins right at the base of the tail and continues wrapping forward to just behind the bead.

Step 8: Segment the Abdomen with Wire

Position your thread back to one-third of the distance from the back of the bead to the base of the tail. The first wrap won’t disturb the tail fibers by having the wire on the far side of the hook.

Begin making open spiral wraps with the wire to segment the abdomen of the fly. Once you reach the thorax region, take thread wraps to secure the wire, and then helicopter it to break it off close.

Step 9: Fold the Pheasant Tail Fibers

Fold the pheasant tail fibers rearward and bind them down on top of the fly, creating a natural-looking wing case.

Step 10: Build the Thorax

Build a thin, fairly short noodle of the same dubbing material used for the abdomen. Start at the one-third point and begin building up the thorax of the fly, stopping at the back edge of the bead.

Fold the remainder of the pheasant tail fibers forward to create the wing case, spreading them out as you secure them with thread wraps just behind the bead.

Step 11: Finish the Fly

Pull the bottoms of the pheasant tail fibers up and snip them off close, being careful not to cut the wing case or the thread. Take a few more wraps of tying thread, followed by a five or six-turn whip finish. Snip or cut your tying thread free.

Step 12: Apply UV Clear Fly Finish

To enhance the wing case and add durability, apply a small drop of Loon Outdoors Thick UV Clear Fly Finish. Use a bodkin to spread it out, covering each pheasant tail fiber and extending it over the top of the thread wraps and onto the bead. Cure and harden the finish using a small UV torch. A few seconds of exposure is sufficient, and the wing case should be dry to the touch.

Step 13: Add Finishing Touches

Rough up the wing case with a piece of Velcro to increase the fly’s appeal. This technique makes the guard hairs of the hare’s mask stand out, adding extra bugginess and movement to the pattern.

Tips and Tricks for Successfully Tying a GRHE

Whether you’re a newbie to the world of angling or a seasoned pro, mastering the art of tying effective fly patterns is essential for a successful fishing experience.

  • Consistency is Key: When dubbing the body and thorax, strive for consistent thickness and density. This will create a more natural look and improve the fly’s overall effectiveness.
  • Proper Proportions: Pay attention to the length of the tail, body, and wing case. Keeping the proportions in line with the natural insects will increase the fly’s realism and enticement factor.
  • Ribbing Technique: When wrapping the gold ribbing, make sure the turns are evenly spaced and not too tight. This will create attractive segmentation without overpowering the fly’s appearance.
  • Use Quality Materials: Invest in high-quality materials, especially when it comes to the hare’s mask dubbing and turkey quill for the wing case. Good materials ensure durability and enhance the fly’s natural appeal.
high quality hare's mask Honest Fishers
  • Experiment with Colors: While the traditional Gold Ribbed Hare’s Ear is a classic for a reason, don’t be afraid to experiment with different color variations. Try incorporating darker or lighter dubbing shades to imitate specific insect species in your fishing area.
  • Vary Sizes: Tie the Gold Ribbed Hare’s Ear in various hook sizes to match the hatch and target different fish species. Larger sizes can imitate stoneflies, while smaller ones can resemble mayflies and caddisflies.
  • Add Some Flash: To give your fly an extra enticing touch, consider incorporating a strand or two of flash material into the wing case or tail. This subtle flash can attract the attention of fish, especially in low-light conditions.
  • Attention to Detail: Take your time to ensure the wing case is neatly tied down, the dubbing is evenly distributed, and the fly’s overall profile is tidy. Small details can make a big difference in how fish perceive your fly.
  • Practice Makes Perfect: Like any skill, practice is key. Tie multiple Gold Ribbed Hare’s Ears to refine your technique and develop consistency. As you gain experience, you’ll find your own rhythm and style in tying this effective pattern.
  • Observe and Learn: Spend time observing the insects in your fishing area to understand their characteristics and colors better. By closely studying their behavior and appearance, you can create more realistic and effective imitations.

What Are Some Effective Ways to Fish With The GRHE?

Alright, my fellow anglers, let’s talk about some effective ways to fish with the legendary Gold Ribbed Hare’s Ear fly pattern. This versatile fly can be fished in various ways, so let’s explore a few techniques that will maximize its fish-catching potential:


The Gold Ribbed Hare’s Ear is a go-to pattern for nymph fishing. Use it as part of a nymphing rig, either as the lead fly or as a dropper behind a larger attractor pattern. Cast upstream or across the current, allowing the fly to drift naturally along the bottom. Keep an eye on your line for any subtle movements indicating a strike.

Dead Drift

One of the most effective techniques is to present the Gold Ribbed Hare’s Ear with a dead drift. This means allowing the fly to flow naturally with the current, mimicking the movement of a nymph. Pay attention to the speed of the current and adjust your leader length and weight accordingly to achieve the desired depth.

Swing and Twitch

Another effective method is to cast the fly slightly upstream and across, then let it swing in the current. As the fly swings, give occasional twitches to imitate the movements of an emerging insect. This can trigger aggressive strikes from fish that are looking for an easy meal.

Stripping Technique

If you’re targeting more aggressive fish, such as trout or bass, you can employ a stripping technique. Cast the Gold Ribbed Hare’s Ear out and strip it back in short, quick bursts to mimic the movement of a swimming insect or baitfish. Vary your retrieve speed and occasionally pause to imitate natural behavior.

Sight Fishing

In clear water conditions, you may spot fish actively feeding near the surface. This is when the Gold Ribbed Hare’s Ear can be effective as an emerger pattern. Present the fly just above the fish’s line of sight, allowing it to drift naturally. Be patient and observant, as the visual element adds an exciting dimension to your fishing experience.

Final Say

The Gold Ribbed Hare’s Ear is undoubtedly a remarkable fly pattern that has stood the test of time. Its origin dates back to the early days of fly fishing, and it continues to be a staple in anglers’ fly boxes worldwide.

With its versatile nature, the Gold Ribbed Hare’s Ear can be fished effectively using various techniques, including nymphing, dead drifting, swinging and twitching, stripping, and sight fishing. Its realistic appearance and versatility make it a go-to choice for imitating a wide range of aquatic insects.

So, whether you’re targeting trout in a river or bass in a lake, don’t overlook the power of the Gold Ribbed Hare’s Ear to entice strikes and bring success to your fly fishing adventures. Tight lines and happy fishing!