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What They Eat....




In spite of all of the regional hype and hoopla, I'm not real big on fishing terrestrials.  I do pack a few simple hoppers to the river.  A few small black beetles too.  Ocassionally I'll even knot one on.  Ants? Never fished them.  Of course I've tied a few.  For a recent high country trip I tied a few more.  You see, I've never fished dry flies for high country trout.  Why bother I thought.  Too much work.  Those fish will usually eat anything.

But I'd read that golden trout were fond of ants.  And, on the first afternoon, with fish rising, I put the little ant to work.  Now, I'd seen no ants around the lake, nor any other bugs floating on the surface.  But, enough of something was getting the attention of those goldens.

As it turned out, I could have packed a single fly for the first day of fishing.  Not one pattern, but rather, one measly fly. A dozen or so scrappy willing golden trout enthusiastically ate it.  It seemed odd sitting lakeside, drying the fly after each fish, applying desiccant, maybe a little goop too.  But the little fly held up and continued to do its job, floating like a cork until the next jewel swam by and added it to its dinner.

The ant is back in my makeshift high country fly box.  And, it looks like it can hold up to a few more fish.  Perhaps another golden trout or two are in its future.  One thing for sure, fly float and a few dries will be staples of my high country fly fishing arsenal.




Comments

  1. Replies
    1. Thanks Jim. I suppose that you're getting ready for your annual fall pilgrimage?

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  2. What a treat-- fishing for goldens in (I'll assume) MT but maybe you were elsewhere. I know some Wyoming lakes contain them. But Ants, I'm glad you've gotten around to them. If you don't need them, you don't need them, but out here in the Empire the black Ants and red Ants aren't just a staple, they're pretty much required if you're fly-fishing thru the summer. Fish will often key in exclusively on ants, especially if swarms are about. Anyway, another interesting read!

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    1. Hi Walt, yes Montana. I've fished for golden trout in a half dozen lake systems over the years. Sylvan Lake is special in that MT FWP makes a near annual foray to its shores to capture adults and strip eggs for rearing in one of their hatcheries.

      As for the ants, well, I've just neglected them. Too many choices in the fly box. And, a beetle will usually suffice. No doubt they generate a good deal of attention at times.

      Glad you liked the post, and, thanks for the input.

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  3. Lester
    You never know from one day to the next what the trout will take, that's what keeps me experimenting just as you did on this trip. You are lucky to be casting to rising trout, on both tailraces I fish here it rarely happens. Beautiful color on the golden, what size were they taking?
    Thanks for sharing

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    1. Hi Bill, ever go back to the river in the evening? It's not unusual to see little bug activity during the day. Then one goes back during the last hour or two of the day and, bang, bugs. Maybe a spinner fall of some sort or a few caddis. Might be worth a look after supper sometime.

      As for the size of the ant, I think that most were tied as sixteens.....maybe a few fourteens when I ran out of hooks.

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  4. Lester
    Its been years since I've fished the tailrace late. I will differently give it try hopefully this next week. I think the spinner or the caddis would be a good pattern to try as well as the tiny gnat.

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  5. Les: Nice Golden and like the ant pattern...looks visible.
    bob

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    Replies
    1. Hi Bob, quite visible as you say and it didn't take much fussing to keep it afloat. Some of our pickier river fish might be suspicious of the hackle though.

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