charlie's flybox

Barr Emerger Bwo (wet)


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step: 1
Pattern Description
The Barr Emerger is high on my list of favorite flies. A simple concotion of feathers and dubbing, this simple pattern is an all around great fly. The idea behind this pattern, according to John Barr, was to imitate the adult insect creeping out of the nymphal shuck. Originally John tied this pattern to match Pale Morning Duns after a day on Nelson's Spring Creek. The original pattern, too, was tied on a dry fly hook (TMC 101) and meant to be fished dry to rising fish. The pattern I present here is the wet version, meant to be fished below the surface, anywhere from streambottom to an inch under the surface. This is also the color variation meant to match the common blue wing olive hatches we see out west on a regular basis. I would say that the wet BWO version is the most popular variation, and is the one I fish most often. I typically fish the Barr Emerger as I would any nymph; down along the bottom with a split-shot on the leader and an indicator above, or as a point fly in the Hopper/Copper/Dropper system. There is no reason not to have some of these in your box. They are so quick and easy to tie and use cheap, readily available materials to boot. Get to work.
Materials Needed:

Hook: TMC 2487 or 2488 (H) #16-24 Thread: 8/0 Iron Dun Tail: Brown Spade Hackle Fibers Abdomen: Olive Brown SuperFine Dubbing Wingcase: Dark Dun Spade Hackle Fibers Thorax: Grey Muskrat or Beaver Dubbing Legs: Leftover tips of wingcase fibers
step: 2
Attach the thread and wrap a base back about halfway down the bend of the hook. charlie's flybox
charlies flybox
step: 3
Prepare a brown spade hackle feather by stripping the fluff from its base and preening the fibers against the direction of growth to make them stand up at a ninety degree angle to the quill. Spade hackles are found on the edges of a dry fly cape, right around the widest part of the neck. charlie's flybox
charlies flybox
step: 4
Cut or peel about ten or twelve fibers from the brown spade hackle and place them at the bend of the hook. Do not worry about the length, as they will be cut later. Tie the fibers in at the end of the thread base with a couple tight turns of thread. Be sure not to flare the fibers, as, rather than a tail, they will imitate the shuck of the nymph. charlie's flybox
charlies flybox
step: 5
wrap forward from the bend over the butt ends of the hackle fibers to the sixty percent point on the shank. Clip the remaining butt ends of the fibers off at this point. charlie's flybox
charlies flybox
step: 6
Dub the thread with olive brown SuperFine dubing and form a tapered abdomen from the base of the tails to the seventy-five percent point on the shank. charlie's flybox
charlies flybox
step: 7
Wrap the thread so it overlaps onto the front of the dubbed abdomen back to the sixty percent point. charlie's flybox
charlies flybox
step: 8
Prepare a dark dun spade hackle feather as you did with the brown one for the tail. Peel a dozen or so fibers off of the dun feather and tie them in by their butt ends at the front of the abdomen. Wrap over the butt ends to smooth out the base and clip any remaining butts off flush. charlie's flybox
charlies flybox
step: 9
Dub the thread with the grey beaver dubbing (think thin) and begin wrapping it at the rear edge of the index point, working back toward the base of the wingcase. Wrapping the dubbing from front to back like this will make it easier to build the ball shape we need and keep the dubbing from falling off the shoulder on the thread base. charlie's flybox
charlies flybox
step: 10
Continue dubbing back to the base of the wingcase, then work the dubbing forward again forming a ball shaped thorax. You should end with bare thread hanging at the back edge of the index point. charlie's flybox
charlies flybox
step: 11
Pull the dun hackle fibers forward over the top of the thorax, forming the wingcase, and tie them down with a couple turns of thread at the index point. charlie's flybox
charlies flybox
step: 12
Detail of wingcase. Be sure to pull the fibers tight before you tie them down. charlie's flybox
charlies flybox
step: 13
Pull half of the remaining tips of the wingcase fibers back along the far side of the hook and bind them in place with two tight turns of thread. charlie's flybox
charlies flybox
step: 14
Pull the other half of the wingcase fibers back along the near side and bind them down as well. Be sure the fibers are along the SIDE of the hook, not below or above it. charlie's flybox
charlies flybox
step: 15
Build a smooth thread head and whip finish at the index point. charlie's flybox
charlies flybox
step: 16
Trim the legs so they are equal in length to the wingcase. Trim the tail to about a half shank long. charlie's flybox
charlies flybox