Hare and Copper Nymph
The Hare and Copper nymph is probably the most popular nymph pattern used to fish for trout in New Zealand. Relatively easy to tie. It is a favourite of the home tier. It is also possible to make numerous variations with different coloured beads, body shapes, and the like to suggest different insects from mayflies to drowned spinners, hatching caddis and even dragonfly nymphs.
The hare and copper nymph is perhaps the simplest fly for the newcomer to start out with. The long course guard hairs suggest an insect’s legs; therefore the more scruffy the fly with a mix of long and short hairs the better. This pattern is almost always sold in the shops nowadays with a black, gold or copper bead head. This provides added weight to take the fly deeper. Additional lead can also be wound around the hook prior to creating the body for an even faster sink rate depending on the fishing conditions in which it will be used.
Begin by sliding the bead on the hook if you are using one. Next, wrap the lead wire around the hook tapering from head to tail. Glue in place. Wrap with thread to form a bed for the body. Next, add the tail and secure the end of the copper wire at the tail end. Mix your hairs together then apply wax to your thread. The idea is to roll the hair with your fingers around the sticky thread. Try not to roll too tightly or your fly will be too smooth in appearance and lack the shaggy look.
Aim to continue with the cone-shape towards the head. Finally, wrap the copper wire over and thru the hair towards the end, snip off, bind down the end with your thread, and coat the binding with cement. It all seems quite easy but takes a bit of practice to get the proportions looking right. Don’t worry in the least if your attempt isn’t perfect. I assure you it will work just as well as a shop-bought version. The hungry trout will never be able to tell the difference!
Hare and Copper Nymph
Hook: Size 10 – 16 Tail Whisks: Pheasant tail fibres or rabbit guard hairs. Body: Hare Fur including guard hairs. Thorax: Hare Fur including guard hairs Lead wire: (optional) for added weight. Rib: Copper wire. Bead (optional): 3.8mm black, copper or gold.
Below: Watch renowned fishing guide Graeme Ryder nymph fishing on a remote stream in the North Island of New Zealand.