Summertime Solution – The Mighty Simple Fur Ant

By Brandon Dwyer

Two common scenarios we are bound to encounter when it comes to late summer trout fishing can also be the most frustrating: 1)pods of fussy (but happy) trout eating nearly invisible tricos on slick calm river flats or 2) educated fish near bank side shade that have been stung by a hopper or two (or three).  These two scenarios are some of the most consistent chances for us to hook a fish in our local waters once August rolls around and (no surprise) can also be two of the most maddening to tackle. It’s a bit psychological, really.  Our local fisheries have spoiled us, we have been looking at big, high floating dry flies since the Skwala’s and March Browns shook us out of winter bobber watching and now it’s almost painful to knot on an extra arm-length of 6x tippet and twist on a fly that is nearly too small to hold let alone locate on the water (or pin in the jaw of a big trout!). But, as in life, there is a middle ground and it works in both situations.

In the case of the pod of trico eaters in the glassy flat just go ahead and pick out a consistent riser near the edge of the pod and make a drift with the ant.  See what happens…  that bunch of trico eaters, believe it or not might be a little competitive, and that consistent fish is going to have a tough time distinguishing that fur ant from a wad of Trico’s. And guess what the best part is?  You MIGHT actually be able to see your fly (not guarantees) and the size 16-14 hook on the ant has a much better chance of staying put in those trout lips. In the case of the shady bank fish, if it comes up to nose your hopper or foamy creation don’t show the fish the hopper again, there is a reason that it did not eat the hopper on the first drift and showing it to them a second time likely will not change its mind (it ALMOST never does), it will only put it down.  Instead rest the fish for as long as it takes you to nip the hopper and replace it with the fur ant, and take extra care to make a delicate and drag free drift and watch that scrupulous customer rise from its layer and confidently suck pluck the unassuming ant. 

The Fur Ant also makes a great dropper for your larger attractor dries, even when soaked or sunken.  It is a simple bug to tie (dubbing and hackle are the only ingredients you will need) and readily available at all fly shops

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