If flying ants were a geyser, they would be the opposite of Old Faithful.  Some years they are just clockwork.  About five or six years ago, we had an early October week that was clockwork.  Every day that week was warm and hazy and overcast.  You’d start seeing the ants on the water about 3 or 4 pm, and they’d go right up until dark.  If you didn’t know better, you’d think you were fishing in May.  I remember that year because it was consistent enough to target those ants with confidence.  We tied lots of different patterns.  Got dialed in.  This year…we have the heat, and we’ve had some ants — some good ants, even — but we’ve also had some days that seemed perfect (rain, sun, warm) and nada.

In general, the flying ants range from size 14-20, and are either black or cinnamon.  That’s about 8 different color/size combos.  For each of those, I like to have a few patterns.  That said, the best day of ant fishing I ever had was on a Borchers parachute.  I was guiding that day, and the ants flew thick.  They coated the water.  We’d been fishing the Borchers anyway, and the trout were eating it, so we just kept on fishing it.  Sometimes it’s that easy.

The rivers are back to good flows.  It’s been a wet and wild summer, that’s for sure.  It looks like a warm and beautiful weekend.  This will mean some tricos in the morning (yes, still) and some afternoon olive hatch-matching, but I like attractor fishing (dry and dropper in the morning and early afternoon, and blind fishing dry flies in the later afternoon) or fishing small streamers along the shallow cover.  The fall Isonychia are out now, and while they rarely hatch in enough numbers to lure fish into rhythmic rising, they are present enough to warrant blind fishing them.  A size 12 or 14 Adams, a small Iso, or even grayer hendrickson imitations, are the way to go.

We’re anxious for a more permanent weather change, which it looks like we’ll get early next week.  Bird season is on up here which has me heading to the woods more often than the water, but I’ll be out there every rainy day trying to get a fish to chase or working a pod of colored up brook trout eating BWOs.  There really aren’t many bad options in the fall.


Tight-Line Techniques with George Daniel, Saturday, October 2, 9 am – 2 pm, $225

We have just two spots left in this class. Learn from the angler who literally wrote several books on the subject.  George is an excellent instructor, an excellent angler, and he will help you get connected to some techniques that REALLY work.  He’ll cover nymphs and mono streamer rigs.  This is a great opportunity to cut through the internet confusion and learn how to do it on the water.


Thanks for the great cleanup!  See you next year…