Views from My Side of the Vise
Paul Johnson

The Gold-Ribbed Hare’s Ear (GRHE) nymph has been a constant in my fly box for many years now. Before I get to that, did you know that I actually started tying trout flies before I started trout fishing? The first trout I ever hooked in the Driftless was on a GRHE. Did you notice that I said hooked and not caught? Not long after that I had a very memorable day fishing on the Missouri River near Craig, Montana with a very simple GRHE.

Now where was I? Oh, yeah: the GRHE has always been in my fly box. I always had a supply of them, tucked safely in the back corner never to see the light of day. They stayed there until a couple years ago when I was on a multi-day fishing trip down in the Driftless with a couple buddies. One day, Jason was having a better day catching than I was. That’s not allowed, so I caught up to him and asked what he was catching them on and he said the GRHE. I dug into   my fly box, blew the dust off one of my GRHEs, tied it on and started to catch some fish.

The truth be told, I still do not fish this fly all that much. However, every time I do, I seem to consistently catch fish. Maybe this reminder will encourage me to use them more often.

I like to tie GRHEs on a size 16 1xl nymph hook with a gold tungsten bead. Most of the time I will add a flashback. I think it is a fly that is so versatile that you really cannot tie it wrong.

Do you think that maybe James Ogden and Frederic Halford really knew what they were talking about when they started tying and writing about the Gold-Ribbed Hare’s Ear in England over 150 years ago?

If you have any questions about this fly pattern or any of the flies that I tie, please let me know.

Paul Johnson

Waconia, Minnesota

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