Fly Angler's OnLine "Fly of the Week #38"

The Black Fur Ant

by Deanna Birkholm
May 18th, 1998
Fur Ant
Image from "The Art of Fly Tying" - Courtesy of Cowles Creative Publishing
Thanks for use permission.

Materials List:

Tying Instructions:

1. Start thread at rear of hook and dub the lower body to the center of the hook.

2. Tie in hackle for legs.

3. Dub the forward section to but not covering the eye.

4. Palmer the hackle between the 2 body sections. While ants have three sections to their bodies, the 2 section fly seems to work better. A very thin waist (between the two sections is important.)

5. Whip finish the head.

6. Trim the hackle on the underside close for a lower ride in the water.


Perhaps the best thing about fishing any of the terrestrial patterns is you can fish them any time! No waiting around for the hatch. Terrestrials are "out" any time of the day you wish to fish. Fish them early, mid-day, afternoon or evening. The ant is one type of insect that is always there - except below freezing. And I have seen ants scurry across melting snow.

Fishing terrestrials is an easier task for fly anglers. A joy to new fly fishers as well. Presentation for these land insects should be normal for the circumstances. Ants don't live in the water, and get on or into the water by happenstance. This is light rod fishing - although you may be pleasantly surprised at the size of fish who take your fly.

Ten-foot 6X leaders work well with the smaller size ant patterns on a floating line. While you still need to mend line for a drag-free float, the presentation of the fly is a gentle 'slap' on the surface. The theory is trout are alerted to the presence of terrestrials by the the sound of the insect hitting the water. Since ants are one of the trout's favorite foods, any decent effort will be rewarded.

All ant patterns should ride just in the surface film, not 'high and dry.'


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