Ant Flies

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Amy's Ant, Olive Carpenter Ant Queen
Amy's Ant, Red  
Antron Wing Ant, Black Winged Ants

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
17046 Amy's Ant, Olive 10 3 for $7.49
19518 Amy's Ant, Olive 12 3 for $7.49

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 $7.49
19521 Amy's Ant, Red 14 3 for $7.49

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
8000-12 Antron Wing Ant, Black 12 3 for $5.85
8000-14 Antron Wing Ant, Black 14 3 for $5.85
8000-16 Antron Wing Ant, Black 16 3 for $5.85

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
8010-10 Carpenter Ant Queen 10 3 for $5.85

Winged Ant Fly, Black
Often new winged queens leave a colony by the hundreds.  When this happens there can be an explosion of fish food equal to many aquatic insect hatches.  Fish can become very selective when it comes to the size of ants they will feed on. Most ants are small.  One day many years ago, a friend and I visited the Kilchis River, not far from Tillamook, OR.  It was late September and the water was very low and clear, clear enough to see dozens of Sea Run Cutthroats in a big pool under a

bridge.  There fish were on the move, coming upstream into the pool through a shallow riffle.  They were going out the top end, also through another shallow riffle.  We fished under the bridge to fish that were easily visible, trying many flies and different presentations without success.  After more than an hour I gave up, and decided to explore upstream from the bridge.  The river was very shallow for a several hundred yards.  It deepened only slightly under a jam caused by an up-rooted medium size cottonwood tree, and the other woody debris that had collect on it.  At first I passed it by.  Wading through extremely shallow water I kicked a sculpin out of the gravel  and up onto the low bank. It flopped around and I seized it, examining it closely.  I selected a fly out of one of my boxes that looked similar, and to the end of my leader.  It was then that I saw a fish rise under the log jam.  Upon re-assessing that piece of water, I realized it was much larger than my first impression.  A second fish rose and then a third.  There was much more room between the water and the wood than I first thought.  The sculpin fly was sent under the jam.  The reaction was instantaneous and a very nice cutthroat was landed.  It was killed for dinner and its stomach contents were autopsied.  It was full of small black winged ants.  It was then that I noticed the cloud of tiny queens hatching from the log jam.  Fortunately there matching flies in one of my boxes.  Many nice sea runs were landed that afternoon.  It still ranks as the best day of sea run cutthroat fishing I have ever had.

This winged Carpenter Ant male, which is much smaller than the female is only one reason why an angler should carry a selection of winged ant patterns.
Item Description Size Price To Top
06250-12 Winged Ant Fly, Black 12 3 for $5.85

06250-16 Winged Ant Fly, Black 16 3 for $5.85

06250-18 Winged Ant Fly, Black 18 3 for $5.85

No one beats our quality at any price!


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