How To Tie A Gold Ribbed Hare’s Ear (Step-By-Step With Video)

An easy-to-follow step-by-step tutorial to teach you how to tie a Gold Ribbed Hare's Ear Fly including a video and photo instructions.

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This step-by-step guide will show you how to tie a very effective variation of the Gold Ribbed Hare’s Ear. The GRHE (short for Gold Ribbed Hare’s Ear) is a versatile mayfly nymph that can be used on rivers and lakes.

In cleaner water, I use it extensively for our local Smallmouth Yellowfish. Although I’ve been tying the fly for many years, I stumbled across this variation quite recently.

Watch the How To Tie A Gold Ribbed Hare’s Ear Video

YouTube video

Quick Look

  • Difficulty Level: Moderate
  • Tying Time: 5 minutes
  • Materials: Hook, bead (optional), thread, Coq de Leon, Krystal flash, fine dubbing, hare’s mask, and peacock herl
  • Hook Size: 18 – 10

What Is a Gold Ribbed Hare’s Ear?

The exact origin of the Gold Ribbed Hare’s Ear, or GRHE, isn’t known.

Gold Ribbed Hare_s Ear step-20learn how to tie a

It does however appear in some of the very early fly fishing journals. Since then, it has been a staple fly for many trout fishermen. And rightly so.

The GRHE is a mayfly imitation. If you have a good selection of GRHEs and Pheasant Tail Nymphs in your box, you have covered many different mayfly species.

How to Fish a Gold Ribbed Hare’s Ear?

The GRHE is equally effective in lakes and rivers. However, the method to fish it differs for each scenario.


For lakes, there are two very effective methods. The first is to use the fly in tandem with other nymphs, such as Buzzers, Bloodworm Larva, or Damselfly Nymphs. Once the cast is made, the flies are allowed to sink and then slowly retrieved using a figure-of-eight retrieve.

Long cast with floating fly fishing line

The second method is called dry-and-dropper. The GRHE is suspended behind a buoyant dry fly. This method works well when there’s a slight breeze that allows the dry fly, and hence the nymph, to drift freely. When a fish takes the nymph, the dry fly will act as a strike indicator.


The dry-and-dropper method works well on rivers too. The combination is cast upstream and allowed to drift through likely fish-holding areas. The dry fly will signal a take on the nymph.

The GRHE can be used in more specialized nymphing techniques. A combination of two, or more, flies are dead drifted through likely fish-holding water. A sighter or strike indicator will show you when a fish has taken the fly.

Materials You’ll Need to Tie a Gold Ribbed Hare’s Ear

You need the following materials to tie a Gold Ribbed Hare’s Ear, so open up your fly tying kit and get ready.


Use a long shank nymph or strong dry fly hook. Match the size of the hook to the mayfly species that are prevalent in the waters you’re fishing. In general, a GRHE can be tied on any hook sizes ranging from 10 – 18.

fly tying hooks

Recommended Fly Tying Hooks:
XFISHMAN Assorted Fly Tying Hooks


If you’ve been tying flies for some time, chances are that you already have a thread preference for nymphs. If not, choose a strong flat-laying thread 70 Denier or finer. Match the color of the thread to that of the fly.

Recommended 32 Denier or 16/0 Fly Tying Thread:
Veevus 16/0 Fly Tying Thread – Assorted Colors

Recommended 50 Denier 12/0 Thread:
Semperfli – Nano Silk 50D 12/0

Recommended 70 Denier or 8/0 Fly Tying Thread:
Ultra Thread 70 Denier UT

Bead (Optional)

Use a counter-sunk tungsten bead. The size of the bead should be chosen according to the size of the fly and the sink-rate you want to achieve.

fly tying Beads and eyes

A good selection of beads will include sizes ranging from 2 – 4 mm. You can make use of the following colors on a GRHE:

  • Silver
  • Gold
  • Black

Recommended Fly Tying Beads:
Tigofly 24 Colors Fly Tying Beads

Coq de Leon

Coq de Leon fibers are used as the tail of the fly. You can also use other feathers, such as partridge and pheasant. For a very durable option, use microfibbets or even paintbrush fibers.

Recommended Coq de Leon Feathers:
Whiting Farms Coq De Leon Hen Soft Hackle with Chickabou


The original ribbing material for the Gold Ribbed Hair’s Ear is gold wire.

fly tying flash

I like using material that gives the abdomen some flash. For this effect, I make use of Krystal flash. Great colors are:

  • Pearl
  • Root beer
  • Green
  • Copper
  • Black
  • Gold
  • Silver

Recommended Copper Ribbing Wire:
Phecda 10pcs Assorted Colors 0.3MM Copper Wire


Make use of a fine dubbing that will allow you to form a neat and slender abdomen. On mayflies, always avoid overdressing the abdomen. A slender body will create a great looking profile and will allow the fly to sink better.

Great colors to tie the Gold Ribbed Hair’s Ear in include:

  • Natural
  • Tan
  • Grey
  • Olive

Recommended Dubbing Material:
Hareline Ice Dub – Dispenser W/ 12 Popular Colors

Wing Case

The wing case folds over the thorax fibers and should contrast the color of the abdomen.

fly tying Feathers

If you tied a light-colored abdomen, use dark material for the wing case. Good options for the wing case include:

  • Pheasant tail (in natural, black, or olive)
  • Peacock herl
  • Scud back material

Recommended Natural Pheasant Tails:
20-22″ Assorted Hgshow 10pc Assorted Natural Pheasant Tails

Recommended Peacock Herl:
Hareline Strung Peacock Herl

Recommended Scud Back Material:
Scud Back Materia 1/8″ Wide Brown


The thorax is made from long fibers pulled from a hare’s mask. These fibers are placed in a dubbing loop, or split thread, and spun to imitate mayfly legs. Good colors of hare’s mask to have on hand are:

  • Natural
  • Olive
  • Yellow
  • Grey
  • Brown

Recommended Hare’s Mask:
Hareline Hare’s Mask Grade #1

Dubbing/Thread Wax

Dubbing wax is used to form a slender dubbing noodle for the abdomen. It also prevents the hare’s mask fibers from falling out of the split thread while spinning the abdomen. You can make use of any dubbing or thread wax of your choice.

Fly Tying Dubbing Wax

Recommended Dubbing Wax:
Loon Outdoors Swax High Tack Dubbing Wax

Head Cement

Make use of standard head cement, super glue, or UV resin to seal the fly after the whip finish.

Recommended Head Cement:
Loon Outdoors Water Based Head Cement System

Tools Needed to Tie a Gold Ribbed Hare’s Ear

You’ll need the following tools to tie a Gold Ribbed Hare’s Ear:

Let’s Get Started!

How To Tie a Gold Ribbed Hare’s Ear

Follow the step-by-step procedure below to learn how to tie an excellent Gold Ribbed Hare’s Ear:

GRHE Recipe

  • Hook: Mouche 8443 size 16
  • Bead: 2mm Tungsten bead in gold
  • Thread: Semperfli Nanosilk 50D White
  • Tail: Coq de Leon
  • Ribbing: Pearl Krystal flash
  • Abdomen: Hemingway’s Hare’s Ear Plus UV tan
  • Wing case: Peacock herl
  • Thorax: Natural hare’s mask
  • Dubbing wax: Loon Outdoors Low Tack Swax
  • UV resin: Solarez Thin
  • Brown permanent marker

Step 1: Place The Bead On The Hook

Gold Ribbed Hare's Ear Step 1

The countersunk tungsten bead has a small hole on the one side and a large hole on the other. 

Slide the bead, small hole first, over the point of the hook. Allow the bead to sit against the hook’s eye.

Step 2: Secure The Hook in The Vise

how to tie a Gold Ribbed Hare_s Ear step-2

Place the hook between the jaws of the vise. The hook shank must be level and the point and barb (if present) should be visible. 

When you’re happy with the positioning, secure the hook firmly with the jaws.

Step 3: Attach Thread To The Hook

how to tie a Gold Ribbed Hare_s Ear step-3

Hold the tip of the thread in your left hand and place the thread over the hook shank, about ¼ shank length behind the eye. Make 5 – 6 touching wraps forward. 

Then, with touching wraps, run the thread over itself until you reach the loose tag end. Let the bobbin hang freely and cut off the excess.

Step 4: Lay a Thread Foundation

how to tie a Gold Ribbed Hare_s Ear step-4

Run the thread forward with touching turns until you reach the bead. 

Then, wrap the thread backward with touching turns until you reach the end of the hook.

Step 5: Measure The Tail

how to tie a Gold Ribbed Hare_s Ear step-5

Cut about 5 Coq de Leon fibers from a feather. Place the fibers over the hook shank pinched between your right thumb and index finger. 

The tail must be the same length as the total body length. That is, from the bead to the point where you stopped the thread foundation.

Step 6: Tie In The Tail

learn to tie a Gold Ribbed Hare_s Ear step-6

Transfer the measured Coq de Leon fibers to your left thumb and index finger. Place the tie in point, that you measured in the previous step, over the position of the thread. Tie in making use of 3 pinch wraps. Make one wrap behind the tail and pull the thread forward. 

This will make the tail fibers flare out. Run the thread forward, securing the left-over material until you reach the bead. Cut off the excess fibers.

Step 7: Tie In The Ribbing Material

learn to tie a Gold Ribbed Hare_s Ear step-7

Cut a section of your ribbing material and place the tip just behind the bead. Secure with a couple of thread wraps. 

Wrap the thread backward, while maintaining tension on the ribbing material, and stop when you reach the base of the tail.

Step 8: Dub The Abdomen

learn to tie a Gold Ribbed Hare_s Ear step-8

Apply a thin coating of dubbing wax to the thread. Take a small amount of your chosen dubbing and form a slender dubbing noodle around the thread. 

Wrap the noodle forward around the shank, pulling and twisting the noodle tight after each turn. Stop the abdomen when you’ve covered 2/3 of the shank.

Step 9: Rib The Abdomen

learn to tie a Gold Ribbed Hare_s Ear step-9

Wrap the ribbing in the opposite direction than the dubbing. Create evenly spaced segments. 

Once you reach the end of the abdomen, secure the rubbing with the thread and cut off the excess. Move the thread behind the bead.

Step 10: Tie In The Rib Case

Gold Ribbed Hare_s Ear step-10 fly tying tutorial

Select 3 peacock herl fibers and cut their tips to align. Tie the tips in just behind the bead and cut off the excess. 

Wrap the thread backward keeping the peacock on top of the hook shank. Stop when you reach the end of the abdomen.

Step 11: Prepare The Dubbing Brush

Gold Ribbed Hare_s Ear step-11 fly tying tutorial

Pick a bunch of long fibers from the hare’s mask. Spin the bobbin anti-clockwise to flatten the thread. 

Split the thread with a bodkin or the point of a pair of scissors. Apply a thin coat of dubbing wax to the split thread. Place the hare’s mask fibers in the split thread and space out evenly.

Step 12: Spin The Dubbing Brush

Gold Ribbed Hare_s Ear step-12 fly tying tutorial

Pull the bobbin holder outward to let out about 4 inches of thread. Let the bobbin holder hang from your finger, creating a 90-degree angle in the thread. 

Spin the bobbin holder. When the hare’s fibers start spinning, push the twists from the tip of the bobbin holder to the base of the brush with your thumb and forefinger.

Step 13: Palmer The Thorax

Gold Ribbed Hare_s Ear step-13 fly tying tutorial

Palmer the hare’s fibers forward, creating the thorax. 

Stop when you reach the bead. If the brush is too long, pull some fibers out of the brush.

Step 14: Comb Out The Fibers

Gold Ribbed Hare_s Ear step-14tying a

Take a piece of velcro or a proper velcro brush and comb any trapped fibers out of the thorax.

You’ll notice that some of the fibers break free during this step, but that’s absolutely fine.

Step 15: Pull Over The Wing Case

Gold Ribbed Hare_s Ear step-15tying a

Split the fibers on the top of the thorax. Now comb them down and hold in place. Pull the peacock herl fibers over the thorax. 

Secure the peacock herl with the thread just behind the bead.

Step 16: Whip Finish The Fly

Gold Ribbed Hare_s Ear step-16tying a

Color the white thread with a brown permanent marker. Make two whip finishes, pulling the thread tight after each. 

You can apply considerable strain on the Nanosilk thread, so don’t be scared of pulling tight. Cut off the thread.

Step 17: Seal The Fly

Gold Ribbed Hare_s Ear step-17tying a

Apply a drop of UV resin on top of the fly. Allow it to cover part of the wing case and the bead. This is very similar to the sealing procedure of the Copper John.

When you’re happy with the glob of glue on the top of the fly, cure the UV resin with a UV torch.

The Gold Ribbed Hare’s Ear

Gold Ribbed Hare's Ear Fully Tied Finished Fly

Now You Know How To Tie a Gold Ribbed Hare’s Ear

Tie some of these GRHE nymphs up and the next time when you’re on a trout stream give them a try. I can guarantee you that after the day’s fishing you’ll understand why the GRHE has stood the test of time.

Thank you once again for taking the time to work through one of our step-by-step guides with me. Please share this with you fly fishing and tying friends. Also, leave any questions or comments at the bottom of the page.

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Pierre is a fly fishing guide and professional photographer who has guided and hosted trips for top fly fishing outfitters. Since being introduced to fly fishing over 21 years ago, he has travelled, fished and guided across the globe. He has extensive knowledge on specific gear and tackle selection for various salt- and freshwater species. Some of his writing work includes blogposts for Alphonse Fishing Company and African Waters.

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