The Dorato Hare’s Ear was developed by Bill Dorato of Albany, New York, many years ago. Originally intended to imitate a newly emerged caddis, it does an admirable job of imitating mayflies as well. In addition to a dead drift, it’s especially effective when skittered or skated.
Here, author, fly tier and blogger Matt Grobert is going to tie one on a size 16 Dai-Riki #300 dry fly hook. Never one to give up on a spool of olive 6/0 Danville, Matt’s going to use the last few turns to produce this fly.
Start your thread on the hook shank, leaving an eye-length space behind the eye, and take wraps rearward to about the 1/3rd point before snipping or breaking off the tag. A single wood duck flank feather is used to create the wings. Strip off any webby or short fibers so the tips are all just about even. With the very ends of your tying scissors, reach in and snip the stem in order to remove it’s tip. Orient the feather so the dull side faces you and then fold the two sides together. The idea here is to create a single bundle of fibers while keeping their tips aligned. Measure to form a wing that’s just a bit longer than a hook shank in length. Transfer the measurement forward to the tie-in point and, with a pinch wrap, secure it to the top of the hook shank. Take thread warps rearward making sure the bundle stays on top of the hook then return your thread to the tie-in point. Lift the butts of the wood duck fibers up and snip them off at a shallow angle to create a gentle ramp down to the hook shank. Lift the fibers up and pull them back. Take wraps to form a thread dam that braces the wood duck in an upright position. Carefully separate the fibers into two equal clumps then use a series of figure 8 wraps to further separate them. A wrap completely around the hook shank can be used to save your work. With the wings divided, take wraps rearward, down the hook shank to about the hook point.
Both grizzly and brown hackle fibers are used to form the tail of the fly. Strip 8-10 fibers of each free from their respective stems and, while keeping the tips aligned, combine them to form a single bundle. The fibers will generally mix together on their own. Snip the curlies from the butt ends and secure the fibers to the top of the hook shank with a few tight wraps of tying thread. Ideally, the butts should help to create an evenly tapered underbody. The tail on this pattern is supposed to be shorter than on most dry flies, typically less than a hook shank in length. Take thread wraps forward to firmly secure the tail.
Natural-colored hare’s ear dubbing is most often used for the body of the fly, but dark grey, olive and cream also work well. Establish a short, thin dubbing noodle on your tying thread, then take wraps to form an ample, spiky body.
As with the tail, both grizzly and brown are used to hackle the fly. Select a single, appropriately sized feather from each and prepare them by stripping away any webby fibers and exposing about 1/8th of an inch of bare stem. Orient the feathers so their dull sides are facing each other and the butt ends are aligned. The grizzly hackle should be closest to you. Lay the butts against the near side of the hook and take thread wraps to secure them. Get hold of the brown hackle first and take two wraps behind the wing then pull the wing back and take another three wraps in front before securing the hackle tip with a few tight wraps of tying thread. If you’ve trapped some errant hackle fibers, now, before you wrap the grizzly, is a good time to trim them out.
Next, get hold of the grizzly hackle and begin taking wraps, zig-zagging your way through the brown hackle fibers. After three turns in front of the wing, secure the hackle tip with turns of tying thread, then reach in with your scissors and snip the tip off close.
Finally, do a 4 or 5 turn whip finish and snip or cut your tying thread free. Although maybe not as handsome as it’s close cousin the Adams, the Dorato Hare’s Ear is a wonderful pattern that imitates a bunch of aquatic insect species. There are quite a few anglers in the Northeast who absolutely swear by them.