Ants are among the most important summertime fly patterns for both trout and panfish. When the sun is high and nothing is rising, oftentimes a Black or Cinnamon Ant can save the day. One of the great things about this fly is that you can fish it in all kinds of water–from flat eddies to riffles to bankside runs. Plus, it often works even when it has been sunk by the current or rough water.
But my favorite place to fish an ant is in the mountain freestone streams near my house, where wild brookies are almost always looking up for a tasty morsel floating by. There are tons of ants on the banks and in the bushes along these streams, which means that the fish are accustomed to seeing (and eating) these nutritious insects. I’ll often fish a black ant as a dropper behind a grasshopper or attractor dry fly. The splat! of the larger fly hitting the water gets a fish’s attention, and then they can’t resist the temptation of a “helpless” ant.
This super-simple pattern—tied here by the folks at In The Riffle—is easy to tie and features a hi-vis Antron post, which makes the fly easier to see on the water. So next time your hatch-matching comes to naught, tie on one of these ants and prepare for a strike.
Parachute Fur Ant
Hook: TMC 100, sizes 10 through 20.
Thread: Black, 70 denier.
Body: Superfine dubbing.
Post: Antron yarn.
Hackle: Any dry-fly hackle.
Note: You can tie the body and post in various colors to match the naturals or improve visibility.