Hare and Copper nymph variant (AKA that fly everyone has been asking about)

Now you can meet, up-close and personal, the fly that has taken the currentseams community by storm: the Hare and Copper variant.

I first saw the Hare and Copper in the Spring 2012 issue of Fly Tyer, in a piece written by George Daniel called “Confidence Flies.” The original calls for a Knapek Nymph Hook, red wire, Dark Pardo Coq de Leon tail, black tungsten bead, and an entire body of dark brown SLF Squirrel dubbing. You can see below how I modified it to suit my tastes. This is really nothing more than a slightly souped-up cross between a Pheasant Tail and a Hare’s Ear. No wonder trout like it. A fine addition to your fuzzy nymph stash.

Hare and Copper Nymph variant

Hare and Copper Variant

The Squirrel and Ginger Bead-Head Nymph

After catching a bajillion trout on my Squirrel and Ginger fur-hackled wet, I wondered how the fly might transition into a nymph. So last summer, I took to the bench and fiddled with the basic pattern a bit. Add some copper wire to the flash to re-enforce it. Make the wing just on the top of the fly, or make it a full collar. Use the working thread to create a hot spot, if that’s your pleasure. And top it off with a black tungsten bead. I’ve been catching on it ever since.

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Hook: 2x short, 2x strong scud size 12-16
Thread: Uni Fire Orange 6/0
Body: Ginger Angora goat
Rib: Green Krystal Flash under extra small copper wire
Hackle: Red fox squirrel
Hot Spot: Working thread
Head: Black tungsten bead

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Tying notes: I don’t use a dubbing loop on the body, but I do chop up the Angora goat with scissors before applying it to the thread with Loon Swax hi-tack wax. Likewise, no dubbing loop on the hackle. I tie the hackle in several different ways: as a full collar, pictured here, giving the nymph more of a weighted wet fly look; as a much sparser, shorter collar; and as a sparse wing. All of them work. I can’t tell you that you’ll catch more fish with the hot spot, but I can tell you that it certainly does no harm. Play around with different hot spot colors (fluoro red, chartreuse) to your heart’s content, and let us know what the fish think.

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The Bead Head Squirrel and Ginger Nymph Rogues’ Gallery:

Farmington River, 9/4/14:

Big Rainbow 9-14

A Fuzzy Nymph: The Ginger Caddis Larva

Ever heard of a guide fly? In case you haven’t, guide flies have two qualities: They can be tied quickly, and they are high-confidence fish magnets. The Ginger Caddis Larva is such a fly.

It’s one of those flies that, if you saw it in the bins at your local shop, you might not give it a second look. But the trout certainly will. Angora goat is one of my favorite tying materials. It takes on a translucency underwater, and the fibers trap miniature air bubbles much like an emerging or diving caddis might.

The Ginger Caddis Larva is a quintessential fuzzy nymph; I fish it as nymph, bouncing it along the bottom, then as a wet, letting the fly swing up toward the surface. I’ll also fish it as a straight wet in a team of three flies. If I don’t get a strike, I let the fly sit there at swing’s end.

This pattern lends itself to dozens of variations. Try it in Insect or Highlander Green. Get some black or brown Angora and make it a little stonefly. Add a soft hackle (like partridge). Give it a bead head. Swap out peacock herl for the hare’s ear thorax. You get the idea.

Back to the guide fly thing. Two years ago I passed this fly out at one of my wet fly classes. It was a slow day on the river, but what little action we saw came on this fly (we were fishing teams of three flies, so the trout had a choice). A few weeks later, I ran into one of my students outside the local fly shop. “Steve,” he says, “I need some more of those Ginger Caddis Larvas and I can’t find them anywhere.”

He bought every single Ginger Caddis I had in my box on the spot.

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Hook: 2x strong, size 10-18
Weight: 8-12 turns undersized wire
Thread: Orange
Body: Ginger Angora goat, very spikey
Thorax: Dark hare’s ear

Tying notes: To make it spikey and rough, try chopping the hairs up with scissors and winding them on a dubbing loop. Angora goat has long, unruly fibers that become problematic on smaller flies, so the chopping remedies that. I use high tack wax with Angora, like Loon Swax. I like to underweight this fly. Underweighting doesn’t mean that you’re putting wire under the body – you are – but rather, it refers to using lead wire that is thinner than the diameter of the hook wire. The goal is to help the fly sink, not suck the life out of it.