Fly of the Month – Borchers Parachute

J. Stockard Pro Tyer: Paul Shurtleff, Springville UT, You can find Paul @:,

The Borchers Special is a dry fly developed by Ernie Borchers of Grayling, Michigan around the 1940s. This fly was turned into a parachute style fly and simply called The Borchers Parachute since parachute flies became very popular.

It was created to mimic early season spinner falls, primarily dark colored flies in Michigan and is still used to this day. Some prefer it to the Adams dry fly which is an extremely popular fly.

This version is tied by J. Stockard Pro Paulie Shurtleff. See the video for all of the tying details.

Materials list:
Hook: J2 105 Dry Fly Hook
Thread: Semperfli Brown Classic Waxed 8/0
Tail: Moose Body Hair
Rib: Semperfli Brown Thin Wire
Body: Cinnamon Tipped Turkey Tail
Thorax: Brown Fine Dry Dubbing
Hackle: Brown
Post: McFlylon White

Simple Flies – The Bi-Visible

Guest Blogger: Mike Cline, Bozeman, Montana

The Bi-Visible pattern was conceived and named sometime in the 1920s. It is most commonly referred to as the Brown Bi-Visible, but as a pattern, brown is just one iteration of the versatile pattern. For the fly tier, the Bi-Visible is indeed simple. For the angler, the Bi-Visible is both “Visible” on the water and if tied with quality dry fly hackle is a high floater that retains its flotation properties well.

The Bi-Visible was popularized by angler and author Edward Ringwood Hewitt in his 1926 work Telling on the Trout. Fishing in waters where trout preferred darker dry flies was problematic in low light or conditions with shadows and glare on the surface. Seeing a small dark colored fly during an evening rise can be frustrating. Hewitt wrote that the addition of a bright white or cream hackle to the front of an otherwise dark colored fly improved its visibility to the angler immensely. But the Bi-Visible as we know it today has its roots in flies many centuries old, the Palmer. First documented in the 1600s, the Palmer Worm introduced the tying technique of wrapping a hackle from the hook bend forward to the hook eye. The technique eventually became known as Palmering and is used today in a wide variety of wet and dry flies. Probably the most contemporary use of palmering hackle on dry flies are the Elk Hair Caddis and Stimulator. The densely wrapped dry fly hackle for the body on these flies makes them high floaters. From a simplicity standpoint, the Bi-Visible couldn’t be easier to tie. Rube Cross in The Complete Fly Tier (1936) dedicates an entire chapter to the style.


To tie a Bi-Visible start a thread base and tie-in a typical dry fly tail if desired. Deer or Moose Hair can also be used for tailing. With the thread at the hook bend, tie in the body hackle. If you use hackle from a cape, tie in the feather at the tip. If using a saddle hackle, you can tie in at the butt. Apply dubbing to the thread and wrap a thin body 2/3rds the way up the hook shank. Dubbing is optional but does provide a soft base for the hackle and can add another level of contrast to the fly. Wrap the hackle forward in tight turns over the dubbed body, tie off and clip. Tie in the front hackle at the butt and wrap forward in tight wraps. Bi-Visibles should be heavily hackled. Finish the fly with a whip finish or half-hitches.

Color variations and combinations are a matter of choice, but an over-arching principle should be a bright, lightly colored front hackle that contrasts with the body hackle. White, cream or silver badger hackles make excellent Bi-Visibles. One technique uses two contrasting hackles for the body with the lighter hackle extended to the front of the fly. An “Adams” variation can be tied using a dark brown hackle and light grizzly hackle over a gray dubbing. Both hackles are wound forward to the 2/3rds point but only the brown hackle is trimmed. The grizzly hackle is wrapped all the way to the hook eye to create the light colored front hackle. Some authors also tout adding a couple of turns of bright hackle to the front of more traditional flies to create flies like the Royal Coachman Bi-Visible.

The Bi-Visible is not only easy to tie, but it floats well and is unbiased when it comes to “matching the hatch”. On the Big Hole River not too long ago, there was an early morning Brown Drake hatch along with some caddis and small stone flies. Fish were steadily feeding in tight seams along a grass bank. It was difficult to see what they were actually feeding on. The morning sun was at my back and the glare on the water made seeing a dry fly let alone getting a good drift at 40’ somewhat difficult. I tied on a size 16 Bi-Visible and had no problems seeing the fly or getting the drift I needed. It is a good pattern—a simple, but effective fly—to have in your fly box.

Big Antlered Brute

Guest Blogger: Michael Vorhis, author of ARCHANGEL suspense thriller, OPEN DISTANCE adventure thriller & more to come

We’re all familiar with the Elk Hair Caddis dry fly pattern–very productive, easy to tie, floats high, good for prospecting, works like a wet fly if it gets sucked under. Introduced to the fly fishing world by notable tier Al Troth 61 years ago, it’s said to be a stand-in for an adult caddis fly, although its hair wing fans out far wider and higher than the closed tent-shaped wing of a real resting caddis.

Its current form differs somewhat from the original, which was in fact intended to float low, in the film, like an emerger–an eastern green caddis emerger to be specific. Despite Troth’s love for palmered-bodied flies, this one was not intended to ride high on good dry fly hackle…nor to wiggle like a soft-hackle wet. He envisioned it a ‘tweener.

But now it’s typically tied as dry as can be. The reigning theory is that its modern hairdo–the splayed-wide elk hair wing–may appear to trout to be caddis wings that are vigorously flapping rather than folded. In truth, this fly pattern lets us defy the “perfect drift” rule of fly fishing because with the application of a little gink it can be skittered across the surface, even cross-current…heck, even up-current…and doing so will draw strikes. Skittering the fly makes it resemble a caddis fly ovipositing as it dances around on the top. Trout cannot waste time studying it; they need to strike or it’ll be gone, and ‘gone’ is not in their playbook when it comes to a tasty caddis.

Continue reading → Big Antlered Brute