Missouri River Ant Fest
I got an order for ants about 25 years ago. I was tying commercially and this feller wanted a couple hundred ants.
What kind of ants I asked? He said quite simply…”Oh tie me up a variety of colors a sizes. You know, ant patterns. Some foam, some thread, some dubbing, some sinking. You know, ants.”
So I did. I tied black, red, cinnamon, bi-color, posted, hair winged, hackled, foam, and so on.
The order turned out to be 212 ants. I was bit concerned that this customer had fallen off of the terrestrial deep end.
Turns out he was one of those fish catching type of anglers. Probably still is.
He took delivery of all of them, wrote a check, and stocked his boxes with a pile of ants.
For the Love of Ants
I thought it strange until I got the ant bug. I certainly do not throw them often enough. Many guides, anglers here and beyond are ant fanatics. And rightly so. Ants get the job done.
Can you really have too many ant patterns in your terrestrial collection? Obviously no.
You can show an ant to a Trico eating fish and he may fall for the familiarity of said bug.
Ants can skitter, crawl, swim, ride high, rest in the film, or drown. A pretty good choice if you are drift challenged.
Fish near banks, in the center, certainly in runs, riffles and pools. Skinny water or deep. Of course we are always looking for 18″-36″ moving water for a good blind dry fly bite, but do not disregard much thinner water than you believe should hold trout. Only the big ones lay in that sort of water.
Double down if you like to play the odds. One floating and one in the film. Or one sinking. Or tie on the bobber and sink two of ’em. One you can see and one you can’t see.
Any way you like it!
You can probably see a them developing above. Fish the ant anyway you desire. There are always a bundle of ways to have success with an ant pattern. Some patterns require pretty narrow technique accompanying the fly. Not so with the ant.
Although a dead drifted fly here fishing central Montana’s Missouri River is the best method. Having said that I do not discount the alternative either.
So go out there and get your Ant-On! Fish it in ponds, lakes, creeks, streams, that bass pond on the golf course or anywhere you think fish are hidden. Never head out there without a few ants in your pocket. Or if you are stumped and need to turn your luck around don’t hesitate to employ the oft forgotten ant.
Check out this video from Scumliner Media fishing the ant the entire vid.