I have been tying and fishing the Biot Emerger for nearly as long as I can remember. I admit the resemblance to the great Barr Emerger is unmistakable. The idea behind this fly was to create a pattern that was similar to the Barr but just different enough to show the fish something new. I firmly believe the last fly you want to use is the one everyone else is using. The Barr Emerger is a great fly but its commonness can sometimes be a liability.
The Biot Emerger is a bit easier to tie than the Barr but incorporates the same type of profile and substitutes a few materials. I like the turkey biot abdomen for the segmented effect it gives and the antron wingcase is simply easier to handle and tie in than the hackle fibers of the original. This fly is a good exercise with biots and works well for introducing the technique used for creating the stand-up rib.
I fish this fly as a nymph on the bottom with split shot and an indicator or as a dropper with the Hopper/Copper/Dropper System. I have also had good luck greasing this fly and fishing it dry to rising fish during a hatch. Tie some up and give them a try. It never hurts to have a few different looks to show them when they get tough.
Hook: TMC 101 #18-22
Thread: 8/0 Gray
Tail: Brown Spade Hackle Fibers
Abdomen: Dyed Turkey Biot, Chestnut Brown
Wingcase: Olive Gray Antron Yarn
Thorax: Dark Gray Beaver Dubbing
Legs: Leftover tips of Antron wingcase
Start the thread at the sixty percent point on the shank and wrap a thread base back to the bend.
Select a small bunch of spade hackle fibers and strip them from the quill. Tie the spade fibers in at the bend and wrap forward over the butt ends to the sixty percent point. The length of the tip ends does not matter at this point, as we will cut them to length in the next step.
Trim the tailing fibers so they are equal to about sixty percent of the shank length and trim the butt ends flush against the hook.
Select a turkey biot from the quill. I use the biots from the leading edge of the left wing feather as I tie left handed and find that wrapping the biot with the natural curve (as opposed to against it) creates a nicely spiraled rib. Wrapping the feather against the natural curve will stand the rib up even more and make the ribs more vertical than spiraled. If you tie right handed, use the right wing feather. (Save the opposite wing for smooth bodied flies, as again, you’ll be better off wrapping it with the curve than against it.)
Tie the very tip of the biot in at the bend of the hook with the dark, ribbing edge toward the bottom. This assures that the ribbed edge follows as you wrap the biot around the hook and doesn’t get covered up. Wrap the thread forward over the tip of the biot to secure it and build a tapered thread underbody up to the sixty-five percent point. (You may want to apply a very thin layer of Zap-A-Gap to the thread underbody before proceeding. This adds considerable durability to the biot.)
Grasp the butt end of the biot in your hackle pliers and wrap the biot forward in slightly overlapping turns. You can control the amount of ribbing with how closely overlapped you make the wraps; tightly overlapped makes more ribs, space it out for less. Tie the biot off at the front edge of the underbody and clip the excess.
Cut a length of antron from the card and divide it in half. I run the tips of my scissor blades lengthwise through the antron to help separate the fibers. Cut the end of the antron so it is square and tie it in at the seventy-five percent point. Wrap over the antron with the thread to the sixty percent point overlapping onto the front end of the biot abdomen. Wrap forward again with the thread, smoothing the thread base in preparation for the dubbing.
Apply a small amount of beaver dubbing to the thread in a fine rope and wrap the dubbing from the rear edge of the index point to the base of the wingcase and back again forming an elongated oval shaped thorax. Form a thread base on the shank in the index point and end with the thread at the front edge of the dubbing.
Pull the antron fibers forward over the thorax dubbing (forming the wingcase) and tie them down at the index point.
Divide the remaining antron fibers in half. Pull one half back along the far side of the hook and bind them in place with two turns of thread.
Pull the other half back along the near side and repeat the process.
Form a smooth thread head and whip finish at the index point. Clip the antron legs so they are equal in length to the wingcase/thorax assembly.
Finished fly, side view. Notice the length of the tail, the number and angle of the ribs in the biot body, the size of the thread head and the overall proportions.
Finished fly, top view. Notice the width of the wingcase, the length of the legs and the taper of the body.