The beadhead hares ear nymph rocks. Year after year it is my most consistent producer throughout all the seasons of the year. What does it imitate? I suspect a reason for its universal effectiveness is its ability to represent numerous underwater life forms. Surely the coarse fur and earthy color cause it to be mistaken for a caddis pupa. Numerous mayfly species carry a gray-brown color and the general shape of a hares ear nymph. A guide also informed me that the hares ear nymph is a reasonable representation of the nymph of a yellow sally stonefly. Dare I suggest that it also serves as a copy of a cranefly nymph? Given this versatility it is no surprise that a beadhead hares ear nymph is my most productive fly.
My post of 11/05/2010 provides a materials chart and describes a few of the alterations that I applied to the standard pattern. I tie them on a scud hook to give the body a slight curled appearance. I substituted Tyvek strips for turkey quill for the wing case. This synthetic addition is nearly indestructible, and many sources are available such as Fedex mailing envelopes. I use race bib numbers and color them with a black magic marker. A standard hares ear specifies a gold tinsel rib, but I utilize fine gold wire. Of course the gold bead is a modification of the original pattern, but I cannot conceive of a hares ear nymph without a bead. I now apply head cement at two intermediate steps before coating the whip finish wraps behind the bead. The first dab goes on the rear of the abdomen, after I add the tail and fine gold wire. A second application is soaked into the wraps after the abdomen is completed and the wing case is tied in.
In my estimation an absolute necessity for an effective hares ear nymph is natural hares mask dubbing. I use the real stuff, and I try make sure that the guard hairs are incorporated into each fly. For the abdomen I make a dubbing loop and insert a blend of the natural fur and guard hairs, and this method yields an extremely buggy appearance with stray guard hairs pointing in random directions. I use the same dubbing for the thorax but without a dubbing loop, but again I make sure to roll some guard hairs into the noodle to create additional buggyness. I tie 100% of my beadhead hares ear nymphs on a size 14 scud hook. The space consumed by the bead creates a body length roughly equivalent to a size 16 nymph. I suppose I should try some different sizes, but it is hard to imagine that additional sizes could make the hares ear nymph more productive than it already is.
I counted my inventory of beadhead hares ear nymphs and determined that my various storage compartments contained seventy-six completed flies. I target a starting inventory of 100 each year, so I completed twenty-four new nymphs and then added ten for a friend. I have no doubt that the beadhead hares ear nymph will once again be my most productive fly in 2020.