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Ants are a favorite food source of trout during the summer months, and thus are a go-to pattern for us during terrestrial season. Most ant patterns tend to be very sparse, which catches a lot of fish, but also makes the fly harder to see for the angler as well as less buoyant. Aaron designed this fly to try to remedy both of these issues, while still maintaining the relatively sparse profile that trout love so much.
Aaron started with the simple dubbed body segments and hackle of a standard fur ant, then added a strip of foam over the top to make it float better. The addition of the double wing on top, similar to larger foam patterns like the Chubby Chernobyl, really makes the fly visible and aids in flotation as well. At first glance the fly appears almost too bushy, but when viewed from underneath, it still appears very realistic with its segmentation, hackle legs, and just a bit of wing visible to simulate a flying ant.
From heavy water on the Madison and Gallatin to selective gulpers on Hebgen and Quake Lakes, this fly has proven its worth all over the area in a variety of situations. It will float small to medium-sized dropper nymphs easily, and is a perfect prospecting pattern for when not much else is going on hatch-wise. But it will fool selective risers, too, thanks to its realistic profile. It's really become one of our favorites for late summer!
The Stubby Ant is named for the hook it's tied on, the brand new XT050 Stubby T hook from Umpqua. It's a wide gap hook made from stout wire, perfect for smaller foam terrestrials like this one. If you are a fly tyer, you must check out this hook! If you are interested in tying the Stubby Ant, click here to check out our How To video.
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