Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing began in 2005 serving wounded military personnel at Walter Reed Army Medical Center who were returning from combat in Iraq and Afghanistan. Since then it has expanded nationwide, establishing its highly successful program in Dept. of Defense hospitals, Warrior Transition Units, and Veterans Affairs Medical Centers and clinics across the country.
The PHWFF program provides basic fly fishing, casting, fly tying and rod building classes to participants ranging from beginners to those with prior fly fishing and tying experience who are adapting their skills to their new abilities.
Where do I fit in to all this? I teach fly tying to -and am sometimes taught by – a small group of vets on Monday nights.
Last Monday we had requests for tying instructions on a traditional trout fly, the gold ribbed hare’s ear nymph. I chose a relatively large hook (#12 3X long) because a big hook is easier for beginners to learn on– and because I could see it better.
This fly can be tied weighted or unweighted, in many colors, with or without a bead. It looks exactly like nothing but suggests everything from a mayfly nymph to a scud or sow bug. It gets its name from the original body material: the short fur on the ears of rabbits. They still sell real rabbit ears in fly shops for the purists but I prefer packaged dubbing material.