The Parachute Ant is among the most productive terrestrial dry-fly patterns you can carry. On the freestone mountain streams of Vermont, where I fish for native brook trout, this ant pattern is killer. The fish love it, and it’s easy to see, whether it’s floating in foam, a riffle, or a dark shadow under a bush. And since I mostly fish after work, a small fly that I can see in low light is a big advantage.
Throughout the summer and fall, I often use an ant pattern as a dropper behind a larger pattern, an attractor or a larger terrestrial, and I find that many trout not interested in the bigger offering will rise for a tasty ant. Every fall, I travel to Maine’s Rapid River with my friends Fred and Sandy–a. k. a. the Wretched Hays Boys—and we fish Parachute Ants in the river’s pocketwater sections for big landlocked salmon and brook trout. On the Rapid, the cinnamon version of the pattern seems to work best, even when it’s driven underwater by a heavy current.
In this video, Connecticut-based guide Rich Strolis offers some great tips that you can use to make a parachute post on any kind of fly.
Hook: Standard dry-fly hook (here a TMC 100 SPBL), sizes 10
Thread: UTC 70, black.
Post: Poly yarn.
Body: Black Superfine dubbing.
Hackle: Grizzly dry-fly.
Note: You can use different colors for all materials to match
ants in your area or to make the fly more visible. Try
posts in yellow or chartreuse for maximum visibility
in low light.