Farmington River dry fly angler extraordinaire Don Butler likes to say, “Ants is good food.” He’ll get no argument from me – or the trout. As we move into deeper into summer, terrestrials — ants, beetles, hoppers, crickets, and even field mice — become a significant food source for opportunistic feeders. This fly is a variation of the classic soft-hackle Starling and Herl. All I’ve done is add a few wraps of thread to form an ant-like body segment. You can also treat this fly with Frog’s Fanny and fish it like a dry. A lethal summertime wet, especially on small wooded streams with wild trout populations. I also do very well with this fly on the Farmington River. Now, I’ve never seen an ant tread water in a three-knot current, but I get plenty of trout fishing the Drowned Ant on the dangle. This pattern is so impressionistic it could easily double for any number of darker bodied caddis or stoneflies. Only trout know what they think it is, and at the very least, it’s that it looks like something alive and good to eat. I almost always have this fly tied on my wet fly dropper rig from June through September.