Terrestrials--- what do you think?

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Eperous
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Terrestrials--- what do you think?

Post by Eperous »

I believe most members of this bulletin board would agree that classic dry flies, those that imitate well-known mayfly hatches, had their birthplace here in the Catskills; but what about terrestrials? I realize there are a host of foam and rubber-leg varieties firmly ensconced in western waters these days, but what about their humble beginnings? :?

To this day my favorite beetle pattern is a Crowe Beetle I first read about in The Book of Trout Lure by John Crowe published in 1947. This forgotten angler had many good things to say, a long time ago. And when it comes to ant patterns, my bible was an old Field & Stream magazine article by Ernest Schwiebert, “Trout can make ants say uncle.”

Other than that, most of my current terrestrial dry-fly patterns were born in PA limestone streams, created by the likes of Charlie Fox, Vince Marinaro, Ed Koch, Ed Shenk, and others. I truly believe this school of limestone flyfishers made significant contributions to our pastime.

Any thoughts on terrestrials and what your favorite might be?
Crowe Beetle, #18 Mustad 94840.jpg
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Ed

Slate_Drake_9
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Re: Terrestrials--- what do you think?

Post by Slate_Drake_9 »

Eperous wrote: Other than that, most of my current terrestrial dry-fly patterns were born in PA limestone streams, created by the likes of Charlie Fox, Vince Marinaro, Ed Koch, Ed Shenk, and others. I truly believe this school of limestone flyfishers made significant contributions to our pastime.

Any thoughts on terrestrials and what your favorite might be?
Although many of the terrestrial patterns I learned to tie were Cumberland Valley patterns created by the greats above, the foam ant is my favorite and just about the only terrestrial pattern I fish. Much, much better than a deerhair ant in durability (I actually can catch more than 1 trout before needing a new fly :D )
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ewpeper
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Re: Terrestrials--- what do you think?

Post by ewpeper »

Without question the very simple fur bodied ant (black, red, rust; with and without wings) is my absolute favorite and one that has saved otherwise blank days innumerable times. I've been fishing it since the sixties when it was first shown to me by Ed Koch. He introduced me to the Letort Cricket and Hopper at the same time. A friend even ties an ant with a black rear segment and a red front segment, and it occasionally outfishes any other.

Dunno how long I've used the Crowe Beetle. I'd guess about the same length of time as the ants, but I was lucky enough to have been gifted a first edition of his book a couple of years ago. It's a very productive fly on the Henry's Fork.

I believe Ed Hewitt talked a bit about ants in Telling on The Trout, even down to suggesting it was their taste (after he'd eaten some) that made them attractive to trout. There is a largish (14/16) honey colored flying ant (Some say it's an aquatic wasp.) that appears annually on the Henry's Fork in late July/early August that absolutely turns the trout insane. Larry Solomon and I had a morning fishing them a few years back that caused me to suggest that the three hours of fishing we'd had constituted a good week on that river most of the time. The best part is that kind of fishing did continue for a week. I'm not much on 'hoppers. They've never been a big producer for me, but I always have a few Letort Hoppers in the box.

Eric
A mountain is a fact -- a trout is a moment of beauty known only to men who seek them.
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BrownBear
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Re: Terrestrials--- what do you think?

Post by BrownBear »

Eperous wrote: I truly believe this school of limestone flyfishers made significant contributions to our pastime.

Any thoughts on terrestrials and what your favorite might be?
They certainly had a positive influence out west. "Terrestrial fly" pickings were pretty skimpy back in the early 1960's, yet late in the summer the fishing really fell off unless you moved away from mays and stones. Muddlers for "hoppers," thread-bodies ants and deer hair beetles were tops, but ants led the pack.... If you could get the blooming things to float for long. Between the poor hackles available then and the heavy thread bodies, it didn't take much to break them through the surface film. Then along came dubbed bodies for ants.... :)

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quashnet
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Re: Terrestrials--- what do you think?

Post by quashnet »

Ants, above all others. Years ago I tied delicate little thread ants,and then fur ants - sometimes with tiny pale blue wings - and McMurray ant bodies, but then got lazy when the idea of foam ants came along (most foam "ants" seemed to turn out stubby enough to be foam beetles). When a flight of winged ants is drifting on the wind, out of the woods, and many of them end up on the surface of a lake or pond, it sometimes seems to bring every single fish to the surface.

The one terrestrial pattern that does not work, in my experience, is the Jassid tied with a jungle cock nail. I tied a bunch of them years ago, tiny and delicate, and fished them assiduously on a low-gradient stream where leafhoppers were found in nearby brush. Never caught a single trout. When cast, the fly tended to land upside down; the hook acted as a stabilizer as the fly drifted down through the air to the surface of the stream. But when the fly landed correctly, it didn't make any difference either. A beautiful concept, but an ineffective fly.
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redietz
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Re: Terrestrials--- what do you think?

Post by redietz »

I fish a lot of terrestrials in general, and ants in particular. There were years when that's all I would fish in warm weather. If an ant didn't work, I'd switch to hopper or cricket (usually the Letort versions of each). I always caught fish.

As I've mentioned before on this forum, I think that Pennsylvania has contributed as much as the Catskills to the development of fly fishing in this country. (The latter, being closer to NYC, got better press.) Even Theodore Gordon caught his first trout in the Letort. (He lived in Carlisle as a boy.)
Bob

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Re: Terrestrials--- what do you think?

Post by Matt Grobert »

I'm also partial to the fur ant - you can tie it in no time, and I think it mimics the delicate aspects of the natural well in small sizes.
Fur Ant
Fur Ant
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Ant1.jpg
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Frequenttyer
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Re: Terrestrials--- what do you think?

Post by Frequenttyer »

I think Marinaro wrote about the development of terrestrial patterns lengthing the fishing season, or maybe it was the other way around. Either way the history of terrestrial patterns here in PA is rich (albeit at times debated). I like tying and fishing deer hair ants, and fur ants in smaller sizes. The Letort cricket and hopper are also go to flies for me, but the last few years I've been using the stimulator variation shown below with pheasant tail legs as a hopper. It is easy to see on the water and fish approved. I've tied Crow beetles, but don't actually recall fishing a beetle pattern. I'll have to fix that this year.
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Barleywine
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Re: Terrestrials--- what do you think?

Post by Barleywine »

One of my earliest flies was a black beetle tyed completely from just thread and black polypro yarn. This simple fly came from a book by Charlie Meck, and it was very effective. I stopped using that pattern for absolutely no reason that I can think of. :?

I still use ants. My favorite are fur bodied black parachute ants with orange wing posts in 16 and 18, and size 14 black deer-hair ants. The deer-hair ants are fragile, but they still fish fine when they get shredded up a bit. It seems that the "plop" that they make when hitting the water rings the dinner bell for some trout. I've also had success with standard tye fur ants in bright orange on spring creeks when nothing else was working.
Chuck
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Bullethead
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Re: Terrestrials--- what do you think?

Post by Bullethead »

Dog Days' go-to fly, black fur ant in 18-22. Fish on top as long as it floats. As it soaks and wants to sink, let it. Sometimes it will take a fish somewhere in the water column that you'd figure barren. If you can figure out how to put the fly right there, good for you. If not, have a lot of flies on board so that you can let them find their own level. Quick tip: once you've taken a fish or had a solid bite, that fly is done. Don't know why, just know.

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