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Insect Family Formicidae (Ants)

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Ants are one of the best-known terrestrial (Terrestrial: Insects which live on land and are fed on by trout only when they incidentally fall into the water are known as "terrestrials" to fly anglers, and they're very important in late summer.) food sources for trout. Wingless ants often stumble by accident into the water, making them a very common "occasional" item on the trout's menu. Imitations of these unlucky critters make excellent searching patterns (Searching pattern: Any artificial fly pattern used when trout that aren't feeding selectively on anything in particular. A searching pattern may be an attractor or an imitation of something specific that the fish might favor even though it's not currently hatching.) in mid- to late summer.

The real fun with ants, however, comes from the mating swarms of winged species. They are spotty and hard to predict, but when they happen to fall over the water they can draw more trout activity than all but the best hatches of huge mayflies.

Formicidae Fly Fishing Tips


Ant imitations are effective above and below the surface.

A heavy fall of ants will make trout extremely selective to their distinct form, and smoothly tapered mayfly imitations in the correct size and color are likely to be rejected on account of their shape.

Pictures of 9 Ant Specimens:

Specimen Page:12
Formicidae (Ants) Ant AdultFormicidae (Ants) Insect Adult View 7 PicturesI collected this flying ant from the surface of a popular Catskill trout stream, where its species prompted steady rising from selective trout for several late-morning hours. It was mixed with smaller ants of a different color, and I photographed one of them too.
Collected September 5, 2006 from the Neversink River in New York
Added to Troutnut.com by Troutnut on October 3, 2006
Formicidae (Ants) Ant AdultFormicidae (Ants) Insect Adult View 3 PicturesThis tiny size 24 flying ant was mixed with a larger variety (see this specimen) falling on the surface of a Catskill river. The trout seemed to respond well to ants of both sizes.
Collected September 5, 2006 from the Neversink River in New York
Added to Troutnut.com by Troutnut on October 3, 2006
Formicidae (Ants) Ant AdultFormicidae (Ants) Insect Adult View 5 Pictures
Collected August 22, 2018 from Mystery Creek #227 in Montana
Added to Troutnut.com by Troutnut on June 13, 2019
Specimen Page:12

2 Streamside Pictures of Ants:

In this picture: Insect Family Formicidae (Ants). From the Little Naches River in Washington.
Date TakenJul 8, 2018
Date AddedJul 9, 2018
AuthorTroutnut
CameraNIKON 1 AW1
Flying ants were falling very thick on the water during a beautiful Montana evening in August. They were collected in great numbers in this eddy, which made it difficult to entice a trout with a fly amidst all the naturals, but a few nice browns were fooled.  In this picture: Insect Family Formicidae (Ants). From Mystery Creek # 227 in Montana.
Flying ants were falling very thick on the water during a beautiful Montana evening in August. They were collected in great numbers in this eddy, which made it difficult to entice a trout with a fly amidst all the naturals, but a few nice browns were fooled.

In this picture: Insect Family Formicidae (Ants).
StateMontana
Date TakenAug 22, 2018
Date AddedJun 13, 2019
AuthorTroutnut
CameraNIKON 1 AW1

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