You just don't hear much about flying ants in the Great Smoky Mountains
National Park. I have seen flying ants on the water in large numbers only twice in
the park. Both occasions occurred in August. One occurred on Cataloochee
Creek and the other on the Oconaluftee River. In both cases, there were
hundreds, if not thousands of flying ants in the air and landing on the water and
banks of the stream. I was prepared when I found them on the Oconaluftee River
but only by accident. I just happened to have a fly box that I had used earlier at
Yellowstone National Park which had several flying ant imitations in it. Most of
the time I would not had any with me. Angie and I, fishing one at a time, caught
over thirty trout in less than two hours fishing. After that you can bet that If it is
summertime and I am fishing the Smokies I will have flying ant imitations with me.
From now on, it will be my own "Perfect Fly" flying ant imitation.
Click on thumbnail to enlarge the image
Notice this fly, which will soon be available to anyone, isn't what you would call a
realistic imitation of a flying ant, but it does look much more like one than any of
the standard commercially available patterns. Its wings, made from hen feathers,
look almost identical to the real thing and its legs aren't just rubber bands
hanging down. The fly also has three body sections like real ants, not two like
most fly patterns.
If you had to predict when flying ants would show up at a particular location, you
would have an almost impossible task. Most likely they will show up on many of
the streams in the park but who knows when and where that will occur? I do think
the odds are greater in the late summer, meaning the months of August and
September. If you are fishing during those months, and I certainly hope you are,
I would suggest that you have a few flying ant imitations with you.
Copyright 2008 James Marsh