Fly of the Month: The Bivisible

The Bivisible is an attractor or searching pattern, similar to the Renegade. The Bivisible fishes well on top of streams and in fast and slow water. It also can be really hot on a place such as the Buchanan Ponds. It is thought that it represents a variety of insects or small terrestrials: things such as midge clusters, beetles, crickets or flying ants. It could imitate cripple or dead insects as well. The Bivisible, quoting from Fly Patterns and Their Origins: “The idea of the Bivisible and its apt name must certainly be credited to Edward Ringwood Hewitt. Mr. Hewitt in his Telling on the Trout, 1926, states: ‘Dark colors are more visible to the trout from below than light colors, and, therefore, take more fish under most conditions and are more generally used. They are often, however, more difficult to see on the water than the lighter flies. “’This is the reason for my favorite design of fly which I call the BiVisible which consists of a palmer-tied brown hackle on the head of which is wound a small wisp of white hackle. The white resting against the brown becomes very visible in most lights to the angler; on the other hand, the trout see the brown hackle from below better than any other color used. “’ This fly is by far the best of any I have yet seen for all species of trout and it is based on a sound physical principle’” Enough history, let’s tie the pattern!


Hook: Dry fly standard - TMC 100 sizes 10-18
Thread: Black Danville's 70 Denier 6/0 or similar
Tail: Brown hackle fibers
Body: Brown hackle (size dependent on hook)
Fore Hackle: White (size dependent on hook)

Tying Instructions:

Step 1: Tie the thread in at the 3/5 point and wrap back to just before the bend. Tie in the tail of brown hackle fibers.

Step 2: Tie in a brown hackle. Wrap the thread forward, covering the hook to about the 4/5 point behind the eye.

Step 3: Wind the hackle forward (palmered style), tie off and trim.

Step 4: Tie in the white hackle and bring the thread forward to the eye and back far enough to leave space to form a thread head. Wrap the hackle forward 2 – 3 times, tie off and trim. Wrap a thread head, whip finish and cement.

Writer’s Note: The 1978 copyright “Index of Orvis Fly Patterns” describes the body using three different hackles increasing in size (smaller in the back and larger in the front). I would think one could create the same effect by trimming the bottom of the hackle at an angle, which would tip the back of the fly lower on the water surface.

Photos and article by Jim Wilborn