Ant Flies

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Amy's Ant, Olive Antron Wing Ant
Amy's Ant, Red Carpenter Ant Queen

Reportedly, ants are the most numerous of all insects. They live in large colonies which are family bands who conduct themselves with strict social organization.  Ants have only one or two queens per colony and these queens do all of the egg laying. When new queens are born they have to leave and start their own colony. At this stage they are winged, and they fly to new territories.
fly to new territories. On the west side of the Cascades, "terrestrial-insect-fall" is is a very important food source for native trout in mountain streams. The first big terrestrial-insect-fall is the Queen Carpenter Ant exodus. At the 1,200' elevation near our store, the air is filled with big glossy black queens during the first hot days of the spring/summer season. In 2007 it started in late April. In 2010 hot weather didn't arrive until the last week in June and the Carpenter Ant Queens waited until then, but they continued through mid-July. Emergence progresses up hill and is still going on in August Frog Lake & Timothy Lake, which are about 3,500' in elevation.
Since ants are so numerous, Ant "hatches" are of major importance to the angler in nearly every environment that contains insectivore fish. Ants are clumsy fliers. Wherever ant queens are migrating around water, there are fish eating them. The Carpenter Ants are most notable because of their large size, but are only one of many ant migrations that happen in the region. Next time you are fishing a desert stream, stop and examine how many kinds of ants inhabit the barren landscape. There are a multitude of sizes and colors. Most seem to forage around water. Some do fall in. Trout and panfish love ants. Foraging ants are always wingless.
But, remember that each specie probably has a queen exodus sometime during the year. Be sure to carry a few winged and wingless ant patterns to cover a variety of situations. The Twilight Parachute Ant is an easy one to see and an effective searching pattern for everything from blue gills to sea run cutthroats. The Winged Ant Fly is an essential fly to have in all sizes.  If you are fishing for any specie of fish that eats insects of any kind, the probability is that they eat ants whenever they are available.

Ants come in many sizes and colors, like this tiny honey ant inside a stream-edge fox glove flower.

Amy's Ant, Olive
Amy's Ant comes from the vise of Jackson Hole shop owner/guide, Jack Dennis and is named after his daughter. This fly doesn't look much like an ant, but you never know. It has found much favor with the area guides and has also proven itself in the Pacific Nortwest. Jack calls it an ant, but also states, you should have an open mind.
Item Description Size Price To Top
17041 Amy's Ant, Olive 10 3 for $9.75
19518 Amy's Ant, Olive 12 3 for $9.75

Amy's Ant, Red
At least this fly is tied in ant colors. When fishing timbered streams there a all kinds of critters that can fall into the water; ants, beetles and bees to name a few. This fly could look like any of those terrestrial insects. It is productive much of the year. Constructed with unsinkable foam, the ant is a great fly to suspend a small nymph from.
Item Description Size Price To Top
19520 Amy's Ant, Red 12 3 for $9.75
19521 Amy's Ant, Red 14 3 for $9.75

Antron Wing Ant, Black
Angling entomologists haven't studied and documented terrestrial hatches, such as queen ant flights, with the same  interest as has been paid to aquatic insect hatches.  Because of this, there isn't a readily available source of information on species or hatch timing.  The Antron Ant series of flies are designed to fit the size and color of ants most usually found in the Pacific Northwest.  The white wing is easy to see in many light conditions.  It is easily colored with a water proof felt marker.  We suggest you carry dark gray and brown markers.  You may also easily refashion or remove the wings with your leader clipper.
Item Description Size Price To Top
8000-14 Antron Wing Ant, Black 14 3 for $6.75
8000-16 Antron Wing Ant, Black 16 3 for $6.75

Carpenter Ant Queen          Buy Now
These ants are prolific in mature conifer forests and  produce some of the most important  hatches of the season on our local lakes and streams west of the Cascade Mountains. They are the largest ant specie in our region. Hatches happen when the air temperature climbs above 85-degrees for the first time during the spring or summer season. The hatch timing can vary drastically with elevation or climatic changes. Expect to see carpenter ant queen flights from April through August.

Wherever ant queens are migrating around water, there are fish eating them. Here is a fish eye view of a winged Carpenter Ant Queen from the under side.

Here is a Queen with wings extended. When an ant comes in contact with water they usually die and sink quickly. And flies may be fished wet or dry.

When a Carpenter Ant Queen, and for that matter queens of all species of ants bite off their wings so that they can form a nest more effectively. By this time the female ant is already pregnant and my lay thousands of eggs to establish a new colony.
A spider dines on a Winged Carpenter Ant Queen...
Besides trout and birds, many other critters eat Carpenter Ant Queens. Here a spider dines on a winged queen, which became entangled in the web.
 
A Carpenter Ant fly pattern is an especially good fly pattern to have when fishing mountain streams and lakes, which are surrounded by mature conifer forests. Try our foam body Carpenter Queen. It was first tied by Mark Bachmann in 1993 and is the best we've been able to come up with.
Item Description Size Price To Top
20849 Carpenter Ant Queen 12 3 for $9.75

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