Unicoi Outfitters is north Georgia's premier guide service and fly fishing outfitter, located on the Chattahoochee River near alpine Helen. Look for fishing reports, gear and book reviews, and general musings here from our staff and guides.

Thursday, July 21, 2022

Ant Candy


Summer is terrestrial time for Southeastern flyfishers. Spring’s stream bug hatches are history and our finned targets often rely on missteps of land-based bugs to provide some summer lunch.

For bream and headwater trout, ants are high on the menu. They’re abundant and available. On our very first Chattooga trout sample (Sept ’86), most of the wild browns sampled had, you guessed it, ants in their stomachs.

While we all love dries and will toss a parachute ant, we shouldn’t forget the wets. That submerged dropper will enhance your catch, especially when the midday sun is high and fish won’t rise due to predation fears.

Here are three sunken ant patterns for your summer box. The first is simply a black fur ant. It’s just two small balls of dubbing, shaped like a dumbbell,  with a hackle wrap in the middle. It can be fished shallow or a bit deeper by adding a size 6 or 8 Dinsmore shot six inches above it. Just see how much weight your dry will float. For a deeper dropper, I’ll use a black tungsten bead instead of dubbing for that front bump, the thorax.  It passed my Smokies tests. 

Third, I saw this fancy wire ant pattern on midcurrent.com and have shared it.


Try some ant candy this summer, both dry and deep. Your hatch-matching might just give you some great memories despite the heat. Good luck!

Unicoi Outfitters: Friendly. Local. Experts.



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