What's The Deal With Hare's Ear?

While I certainly can not disagree with anything said above, and more in keeping with American Tenkara Tying Techniques, I have strongly adopted tying with Variegated Wool Yarns, which accomplish most of the same things that the blending of various colors of Hare’s Ear and synthetic dubbing can do more quickly and easily, while still providing that fish attention appeal in the water with all the Micro-Fiber Motion and Action for the fish to see the wool fibers provide, as well as a high degree of translucence that just looks like something that is Alive in the water. Both materials work very well, but with the wool yarn, you do not have to do the dubbing steps, you just wrap the yarn on the hook.

Be sure to click on and read “What Moves A Trout To A Fly?” and all the other offered Jewels Of Wisdom contained in this piece as well, if you want to get the most you can get out of it. I promise, it will be well worth your effort…Karl.

1 Like

Thanks for the link Karl. I enjoy using hares ear in my flies. I actually just tied a few last night.


That’s funny Karl. I think I replied prior to your commentary…and I couldn’t agree more. I recently made a couple orders from Fytyingyarn and just tied these up today.

1 Like

Kris, thank you very much for the comments and the photos of such beautiful tied flies. I also find the wool yarn much faster and easier to work with than dubbing…Karl.

I am a fan of wool yarn - Jamieson’s Shetland Spindrift wool from Lerwick in the Shetland Islands is my favourite even though I have various dubbings. I have found that when wet the Spindrift wool becomes very translucent and also displays all the different colourings of the wool. It is also less resistant to the ravages of fish teeth. I also like the way that it will attract air bubbles better (in my opinion) than dubbings.

Below are 2 photos , one fly dry the other wet, of simple wet fly that I tied, using a Snipe hackle, black thread and one ply of a length of Jamieson’s Shetland Spindrift Fog (272) on a size 14 hook.

The Jamieson’s Shetland Spindrift is two ply so you can create even more colour alternatives by using one strand from two different colours.



I like that sparse dressing. I’m constantly fiddling with thick/thin and sparse/heavy dressings to experiment with in different situations. My previous pics are obviously from thick/heavy batches

David, thank you very much for posting the excellent photos of the dry/Wet Kebari, it really demonstrates how translucent the wool yarn is and, I believe, the need for a larger diameter Thorax to keep the hackle from collapsing down flat against the fly’s body for better hackle movement in the water in current flow and when pulsing the fly. Thanks again…Karl.

Kris, Have you noticed how much easier it is to get consistent body diameter results between flies with yarn than it is with dubbed bodies? And how easy it is to control and duplicate that diameter by counting the twists you are putting into the yarn? If you want a tapered body, you can twist the yarn in the opposite direction to the direction in which it is being wrapped, so it will un-wind 1 Wrap with each wrap that is laid down, or twist it 1 Wrap tighter if you want it to get thicker going up the hook.

The yarn will thicken up with each twist up to 8 turns. Beyond that point, it begins to get tighter again and becomes stressed, and can break. Because wrapping the yarn with your fingers tends to ruff it up, (which can be both positive or negative depending on the effect you want), I have found a pair of Plunger Style Hackle Pliers to do a great job in handling wool yarns and in keeping track of and being able to repeat the twist rates…Karl.


I had read about Dazzleaire synthetic yarn on a western fly tying forum a long time ago. It is 80% Acrylic (a polymer that DuPont created in the 1940’s, originally named Orlon) & 20% Nylon. It is laid with 4 strands that will produce very sparse to meaty dressings and was available in a wide variety of solid and variegated colors. It also has clear filaments woven into each strand to give finished knitting projects a hazy sheen and provides flash on a fly when picked out. I have a friend who loves to knit that says it looks nice but was terrible for knitting because it hangs up on itself. That is probably why it was discontinued quite some time ago and is only available on the “vintage” market.

Here is what it looks like.

I always accompany my wife into craft-fabric-quilt stores to look for fly tying materials. She jokes that I’ll often have a couple store clerks volunteering to help me find stuff while she has to wait or find one to help her. We were in a small coastal town’s fabric & quilt shop and I asked at the front counter about Dazzleaire. The shop owner said she had a box of skeins in her attic that she would sell me for $10 and called her husband to bring it to the shop. There were lots of usable colors for flies in the box so it was a win-win. It will last me many lifetimes so I’ve taken skeins into our local FFI club meetings for members to take as much as they want.

The top fly has a hematite bead (from a beading shop) and craft store Guinea Hen hackle tied on a #10 or #12 hook. I use Olive Crystal Chenille and more recently Olive Ice dubbing for the thorax. It has been consistent for big Coastal Cutthroat in high water conditions.

My by far highest producing and goto kebari is an unweighted pheasant tail body with a peacock herl or olive ice dubbing thorax, followed by a red thread body and herl or olive ice thorax. This 2nd fly saved a skunking for me one day when nothing else worked and I noticed Ephemerella (PMDs) were coming off the water.

1 Like

Hi Brian. Well, it certainly looks like your accompanying your wife to the fabric stores has been a productive addition for your fishing. As far as I know, Gary LaFontaine was the first angling author to recognize the importance of Sparkle Yarn, back in 1976, in his book Challenge Of The Trout, for imitating the gas filled sheaths Caddis Pupa use to raise themselves to the surface at emergence, which was discovered while doing underwater research with SCUBA Diving Gear. The flat sided Try-Lobal Fibers of Antron reflect the light so it looks like the gases contained with the sheath to the fish, which is a highly visible strike trigger and very effective. The testing of Sparkle Yarn was first published in the Connecticut Fly Fishermen’s Association newsletter in February of 1974, so this information has been available for a very long time, if one knew where to look for it. In Gary’s book, Caddisflies, 1981, the Deep Sparkle Pupa, the Emergent Sparkle Pupa and the Egg Laying Sparkle Caddis were all dealt with in exhaustive detail. So if you want to read a lot more than you will ever need to know about Caddisflies and the materials used to tie them, Gary’s book Caddisflies covers the insects, entomology, fly tying and proven fishing techniques that go far beyond what anyone else has ever done.

1 Like

Although there has been a lot of argument about whether or not caddis actually have air filled shucks, Ralph Cutter in his DVD Bugs Of The Under World and in his book, Fish Food, in the chapter All That Glitters, has a photo of a caddis pupa swimming to the surface in its air filled sheath. The CDC And Elk pattern appears to be a much easier and quicker pattern to tie that accomplishes the same things as the Emergent Sparkle Pupa.

The CDC & Elk & Tenkara:

Absolutely Karl. Very consistent results and I enjoy experimenting with the thickness and segmentation by twisting the yarn.

I agree…I have Gary’s book and it is the caddis bible IMO.

Here are a few wool yarn (Thanks Tristan!) bodied caddis pupae I tied up this weekend. I love the segmentation and variegation you can get with the yarn, along with a decent amount of shaggy fibers. They really look good when wet and are quick, consistent, and simple.


I’m a big fan of the CDC & Elk, easy to tie and looks great in different colors as well. Any variations you’d recommend I’d try?

Hi Daniel. I believe I take a different approach to dry fly fishing than what most anglers use in that I do not try to match the color of the naturals the fish are eating. Instead, I choose the fly color I can see the. best under the present lighting conditions, reasoning that if I can see that color better, so can the trout.

When a fly is viewed against the sky, black is the color that stands out the best, and I have done very well with black patterns in the middle of Light Colored Caddis Hacthes. When there are hundreds to thousands of bugs on the water, you need something that will make Your Fly stand out over and above all the natural food it has to compete with. And a fly color that draws attention in a crowd has a better chance of being taken than one that is the same color as everyone else is. So, no, I can not give you a specific set of color/patterns, let the conditions you are fishing under be your guide and you will be better off.

The above situation is where Two-Tone Fly patterns come into their own, dark underneath for the fish to see against the sky, and light on top for the angler to see against the darker water, so you may also find Light/Dark Elk/CDC Patterns helpful…Karl.


I like your logic here Karl. I honestly have been most successful with flies I’ve made up with the craziest color combinations I thought looked cool so I can understand your reasoning. I’ll just keep playing around then and maybe get some dark deer/elk hair to tie with.