I caught more fish on a beadhead hares ear nymph than any other fly during my fly fishing lifetime. My friend Dave Gaboury swears that my version, which he calls Dave’s hares ear, is superior to those he purchases. My modest modifications include tying them on a curved scud hook (Tiemco 2457), using small clumps of pheasant body feather fibers for the tail and legs, and including a generous amount of guard hairs from a hares mask in the dubbing. A hunting friend shot a rabbit many years ago in Pennsylvania and donated the hide to my fly tying material cache. I can certainly testify that my hares mask is the real thing, and despite tying at least a thousand of these flies, I still possess ten lifetimes worth of hares mask.
Gradually over the last couple years I gravitated to a salvation nymph and ultra zug bug ahead of the hares ear, however, I continue defaulting to this reliable general nymph imitation nearly every time I fish. I particularly favor the hares ear on the Arkansas River, as it seems to imitate caddis pupa and yellow sally stonefly nymphs, and these two bugs are quite prolific in Big Horn Sheep Canyon through which the Arkansas flows. Historically I attempted to enter each new season with 100 beadhead hares ear nymphs in my fly bins, but because I rely more on the other two nymphs mentioned earlier, I lowered the starting inventory goal to eighty.
When I counted my existing stock of hares ear nymphs several weeks ago, I determined that I had 65, so I tied fifteen new additions to bring my total to the goal amount. When I tie beadhead hares ear nymphs, I dab head cement on the threads after attaching the tail and gold wire for ribbing. I am convinced that this helps to prevent the fly from unraveling at the rear. After I dub the abdomen, rib, and attach the wing case material; I apply another coat of head cement in the thorax area. Of course the head wraps behind the bead receive the final application of head cement to protect the fly from unraveling. This area remains the most vulnerable, and I have several flies that I plan to refurbish because the threads at the head got severed by the teeth of hungry trout.