With May’s warming weather, the black ant hatch is one of the highlights for fishermen on the Columbia River. Rainbow trout feed heavily on these terrestrials and provide exciting top-water action.
Black ants hatch once the ground warms and when the earth softens they will emerge from their nests. They are erratic flyers, so often they’ll get blown off course and onto the river or lake where they’ll become trapped in the water film.
Fly anglers use a floating line as the rainbows target these insects in the top couple inches of water, while spin-casters use a bobber and fly of the same pattern.
The following black ant pattern is one of the simplest to tie, and very effective in May through early June on the Columbia and surrounding lakes.
Hook: size 10-14 dry fly hook
Thread: black 3/0
Body: black U/V Ice dubbing, 2-inch strip of black foam 3/4 thickness of hook gap
Wing: brown hackle
- Tie in end of black foam to back of hook compressing the foam under the thread.
- Dub the ice dubbing half way up hook, then fold foam over and tie in.
- Lay foam over top half of hook and cinch down with thread as you wind up just below the eye.
- Dub thread and wind back to middle.
- Fold foam back over the front and tie in at middle, cut off remaining foam.
- Tie in hackle feather, then tie off and add head cement.