Tuesday, August 18, 2015
Ant Swarms - Get Ready!
Back cast to the mid 1990's. I somehow find myself at a late August weekend craft fair with my wife. The only thing that I remember is that all of the outdoor booths were covered with WINGED ANTS. A call the next day from a fly fisher spoke of trout committing suicide for all of those morsels.
Roll cast a few years forward when I was on the phone to a New Hampshire friend who said that his yard and the air above it was full of ants. My central Mass. location had the same thing happening.
Roll cast again to the Farmington River in 2004. A blizzard of ants started that Friday afternoon and lasted until I left on Sunday. Every trout was on them!!!
Roll cast forward to 2009 on the EB when I thought that I saw the wings of HUNDREDS of BWO's but when I got into the water I found a half dozen winged ants on my shirt. No BWO's, just WINGED ANTS!!
This is the time of year for the ANT SWARMS. We're not talking about the lone individual that finds itself in the water BUT the winged ant that is on a mission. The Mission is that the colony has gotten too big and has to split up. Tens of Thousands will sprout wings and take off. This ALWAYS happens in late August for one species that is small (size 18-20) and is a light reddish brown in color. For some reason they are drawn (by mistake) to water. Big swarms will blanket the surface of lucky
streams for lucky trout. Forget what is hatching. If ants land they will have the trout's undivided attention.
What to use? Forget the big goofy foam creatures that we use to imitate individual stragglers. Size and Profile now mean a lot.
Here are my patterns - this is very simple. For years I used a reddish brown dubbing making a ball of dubbing at the rear of a size 18 or 20 hook. Then I tied in two thin blue dun hackle points at the mid point and had them extend just behind the bend of the hook. Then I make a ball of dubbing up front. That's it! Over the past few years I've replace the hackle points with grey CDC and it's fine.
The BIG patterns just don't cut it when these little guys hit the water. Sizes 18 through 20 are what you need. The dubbed body doesn't need hackle either. Just have plenty of magic powder with you to keep things high and dry. And don't worry too much about tippet size (duh) and even sloppy casters will score when this "Fall" is on.
Four years ago I was fishing the Swift at the second turnoff on River Rd in the late afternoon. I lost a dry fly and was slowly going through my fly box when a saw an ant drift by. I looked up and saw a hundred on the water with trout coming up after them. Five minutes before there wasn't a hint of them.
Simple to tie. Keep them with you!
Posted by Millers River Flyfisher at 7:05 PM
Labels: Fly Fishing Instruction, guided fly fishing trips on the Swift River, guided fly fishing trips on th East Branch of the Westfield River, Guided fly fishing trips on the Miller River