This week PRO-Team member Arthur Greenwood, shows us The Hare’s Ear Soft Hackle...

I’m a great admirer of the American writer John Gierach, and when he says that if he were restricted to only two trout flies, he’d choose an Adams and the Hare’s Ear Soft Hackle, I sit up and listen.

This nymph pattern has proved to be a real discovery for me. I have found it effective in the early season when Large Dark Olives are around, then later if I see March Browns hatching, it makes a super emerger imitation for that fly. It is more than passable as a caddis pupa imitation (an insect, says Gierach, which looks like a wet cat!) and at the end of the season when Blue Winged Olives are present.

The Hare’s Ear Soft Hackle is, like all good patterns, a simple fly in terms of materials used and ease of tying. You can complicate it if you like, as Gierach once did, with duck quill wing pads and trailing bronze mallard antennae before he went back to the sort of simple, traditional spider pattern which has been catching fish for the past five hundred years or so. The only useful modification I have found is the addition of a small brass or tungsten bead for use in faster flowing streams.


Hook: Partridge Fine Dry SLD  # 12 – 16

Thread: Brown or Black 8/0

Body: Dark hare’s ear dubbing

Rib: Fine copper or gold wire

Hackle: Two or three turn of partridge. Dark ginger hen may also be used.


Arthur Greenwood

Arthur lives in Carryduff near Belfast, Northern Ireland and is a retired Head Teacher. He is a member of the Association of Professional Game Angling Instructors (Ireland) and is Secretary of that group.

Arthur’s area of expertise is in tying and demonstrating traditional Irish lough flies although he enjoys dressing the whole range of Irish trout and seatrout flies including the more modern and innovative patterns.

As an ex-teacher, he particularly likes working with young people and beginners to the world of fly dressing and demonstrates and teaches in this area at all the major Irish Country Fairs and Shows each year as well as selected overseas events such as the Dutch Fly Fair and the FFF Conclave in Montana.

When not tying, Arthur sometimes finds time to actually go fishing! Local rivers and streams for wild browns in spring-time, then the big western loughs for trout at mayfly time followed by a seatrout odyssey on the lakes and rivers of Connemara to end the season.

Since the Irish are not fortunate enough to have grayling as a native species, an annual pilgrimage (or two!) is necessary to England, Scotland or Wales each winter.

Each summer Arthur usually takes a flyfishing visit abroad, often to Montana and Alberta but also to various destinations in Europe including Slovenia and Romania and within the UK.