The Gold Ribbed Hare's Ear nymph fly pattern has an advantage over other fly fishing patterns like the Pheasant Tail Nymph or Copper John Nymph. It is constructed using a soft dubbing material. Why does this matter? Well in a fish's mouth it will feel more like a natural insect and something good to eat.
GOLD RIBBED HARE'S EAR FLY PATTERNS. Hook size 10 12 14 16 18 20 - $US each
It is not the taste of an insect that matters to a trout, It is the texture of an object that can be the deciding factor of whether it is ingested or spat out. This is especially important for other fish species that have smaller mouths like the Grayling. Many fish search through the mud and silt at the bottom of a stream, river or lake for insects and eggs. They soon learn what is good to eat and what is not. They reject foreign inanimate objects like pebbles and sticks by expelling them. Soft objects they munch and then swallow.
Detecting a subsurface take is sometimes quite hard. There will be a lot of circumstances where a trout has taken your fly and spat it out almost immediately because it was too hard and the texture was not right. This is done so quickly that it is not transmitted back along the line. The Gold Ribbed Hares Ear Nymph gives you a better chance of detecting a take as these softer nymph imitations are held longer in the mouth whilst the grayling or trout works out what it is chewing.
Do fish like the trout smell their food? Is this an important consideration in their choice of food. I think not as a lot of their food is swallowed whole. You often find nymphs and pupae still alive in a trout's stomach as they have not been crushed before being devoured. If they are not crushed then the body juices are not released. Taste is therefore not an issue I would suggest. Saying that I have observed fish avoiding a fly that did have a strong unnatural smell. It belonged to a fishing buddy. They would approach the same fly pattern I was using with success but as they neared his fly they quickly swam away on a number of occasions. I couldn't understand what the problem was until I saw him topping up his suntan lotion and then taking a new fly out of the flybox to tie on. He did not wash his hands first. Trout are not silly. Mayfly Nymphs do not normally smell of coconut oil. The same would go for beer, onions, salami and aftershave. I always wash my hands in the river water before I touch my flies.
What about water vibration? Does that have any relevance on a particular fly's ability to catch a fish? In rough water streams then I would say no as there is too much back ground noise. In stillwater pools and lakes then yes. I would use a scruffy dressed fly like the Gold Ribbed Hare's Ear Nymph or one that has hackles like a south hackled wet fly. The hackles and fibres move on the retrieve and imitate the natural insects body gills and legs as it swims. This movement is felt by the fish as a vibration. Most fish, like the trout, has vibration sensitive organs along its lateral line. I tend to tease out fibres from the body of a Gold Ribbed Hares Ear nymph fly with the tip of another fly's hook to add "legs" to my fly pattern.
WINTER FLY FISHING WITH NYMPHS
There is normally no need to hurry to be on the water before noon in winter and you will be finished by dusk. The best winter fishing is during the warmest part of the day. Trout food is not as scarce as you think at this time of the year. You might not see any insect activity on the water surface but there is lots of activity on the bottom as they prepare for the coming season of hatches. A trout's metabolism slows in the cold water but it still needs to eat to survive. They may not eat as much as in the summer but they still search out food. Nymph fishing is the best method for this time of the year. Lightning Bug, Copper John, Beaded Gold Ribbed Hare's Ear Nymphs and Pheasant Tail Nymphs fished dead drift in the current can be very productive. Make sure you work the water thoroughly as cold winter trout will not move a great distance to take a fly. I concentrate on deeper runs, pools and shallow water. I fish slow and deep on a floating line with a strike detector. Takes can be subtle so you have to concentrate hard.
MOUNTAIN WHITEFISH FLT FISHING
These game fish are very abundant throughout Alberta, British Columbia and many of the western states of the USA. The most popular flies are beaded Prince's Nymph, Black Gold Ribbed Hares Ears and wet flies like the Royal Coachman in size #12 to #16. Some of the more popular streams for mountain whitefish in Alberta are the Athabasca, North Saskatchwan, Red Deer, Bow, Highwood, Sheep, Oldman, Livingstone, Crowsnest, Castle, Waterton, Belly and St Mary rivers. Spawning occurs from late September to early November over gravelbeds. The eggs are broadcast not buried in redds like salmoniods. They are a long lived species with a 20 year old specimen being recorded in a reservoir and they can grow to over 5lbs. Autumn fall period is the traditional time to catch mountain whitefish, as after gathering to spawn in late August they move into over wintering pools where they remain until spring breaks. Use a pair of polarized sunglasses. They tend to move around a lot. Look for flashes of silver as they jostle for position in the current. It is not uncommon to find over 50 fish hold up in the same pool. During the summer Mountain whitefish tend to favour turbulent pocket water as well as deep runs and large pool. Mountain whitefish are popular as a table fish and fantastic when smoked - particularly the smaller ones.