Terrestrials are abundant and become a staple to trout in many waters through the summer season. Ant patterns are a must if you plan to fly fish for trout in the summer. Ants vary in size and color. Look for naturals on and around the water then match accordingly. But do not stop there. If you carry an insect seine, which can be as simple as an aquarium net, hold it beneath the water surface and most likely you will discover a big surprise – sunken ants.
As often the case, trout do not want to rise completely to the surface if they don’t have to because the closer to the surface the more vulnerable they are to predators. This is why fishing to casually rising trout that hover at the surface should be cherished because it is an exception; statistically speaking. Ants do not float forever they will eventually get washed below the surface and remain submerged. Sub-surface ant patterns (Wet Ants) make for great days on the water when fly fishing for trout in the summer.
Generally, I like to use a 10 to 12 foot long leader, a dry fly or New Zealand Wool indicator, with a sunken ant on the dropper approximately 1 to 4 feet below.
There are a multitude of wet ant patterns; here is my favorite:
You do not have to use specially tied sunken ant patterns. “Dry” dubbing bodied ant patterns can be fished below by squeezing them wet or by adding split shot to the leader.