Sunken Ant Fly Step-by-Step

Sunken Ant Fly Step-by-Step:

I last touched on the value of ant patterns when I posted a Parachute Ant tutorial in December of this past year. An oft overlooked terrestrial due to their diminutive size, ants make up nearly 1/3 of all insect biomass and are no doubt as valuable a food source for trout as larger grasshoppers and beetles.

Unlike their larger cousins, however, their small stature leaves them more vulnerable to slipping through the surface film and succumbing to the currents. As such, sunken or drowned ants may in fact play a larger role in a trout’s summer diet than those that manage to stay afloat.

As a result, patterns such as the one presented below deserve a prominent place in every angler’s terrestrial box.

Scud Hook (Size 16-20) 70 Denier (Black, brown or red)Materials Ultra Wire (Small; Red or Black)
Saddle Hackle (Grizzly)Materials UV Resin

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Sunken Ant Fly Step-by-Step Tying Instructions:

(Mobile Viewers: Click images to enlarge)

Tips and Tricks

  1. Go Deep – For deeper water or stronger currents consider burying a tungsten bead within the thread wraps of the fly’s abdomen. Or if you prefer, simply replace the thread head with an appropriately sized & colored bead.
  2. Mind the Eye – Small hooks and UV resin can be a recipe for disaster. Even a small drop in the hook eye could render the fly useless. Take care when applying UV resin to your thread head. Better still consider placing a need through the eye of the hook before curing the resin.

Proof of Concept

Returning to RMNP in the summer of 2022, I finally had the opportunity to put the sunken ant to the test. Prospecting a small meadow stream for brook trout, I tied on a sunken ant as a shallow dropper below my Charlie Boy Hopper.

While the hopper proved the meal of choice on this particular moment, one small brookie favored the ant as my flies shot through a narrow, grass lined run.

Tight Lines!


Species Caught on the Sunken Ant Fly to Date:
  1. Brook Trout

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