A few summers ago, our interns were complaining that they weren’t catching as many brook trout as they thought they should from a local freestone stream. I suggested that they try adding a Fur Ant as a dropper off the Stimulators and Wulffs they’d been using. They came back to the office very pleased with the results. From the landlocked salmon of northern Maine to the cutthroats of Yellowstone National Park, fish everywhere seem to love ants, in my experience. (My older brother, who was forced to eat ants in military survival school, says they’re actually kind of sweet.)
There are plenty of ant patterns out there, but it’s tough to beat the classic Fur Ant, and author and blogger Matt Grobert makes tying the fly seem ridiculously easy in this classic video from Tightline Productions. Who would think that a couple of dubbing balls and some hackle could fool so many fish? Because the fly can be hard to see on the water, trailing it behind another dry is a great tactic.
Hook: 1X-fine dry-fly hook (here a TMC100), sizes 16-20.
Thread: Black, 6/0 or 140-denier.
Body segments: Black and brown Australian possum dubbing, mixed.
Hackle: Dark dun or black hackle, trimmed top and bottom.