The Red Ant is very similar to the Rogue Ant. Indeed John Shewey mentions in his book Steelhead Flies that the Rogue Ant is also referred to as the Rogue Red Ant. I believe the Red Ant is the older pattern, and the Rogue Red Ant was an adaptation created for the lower Rogue River in the 1920’s and 1930’s. Instead of a single, down-eyed hook the Rogue Red Ant was usually tied on Mustad double point hooks. It also featured a fine, oval gold rib through the body. If jungle cock feather eyes were available, two were mounted on the outside of the bucktail wing. One on each side, much like the old Rogue River Special. Old double point hook flies were fished off the front of the boat to swing and flutter in the current 30 to 40 feet below the driftboat. No casting of the flies. The movement of the boat did the work. The half-pounders and adult steelhead found this tactic irresistible.
Been watching the high water all month. It may not fish this year. At least I wet a line!
After a hard January, finally some fishable conditions on the Rogue River as February arrives. This may be a little window of opportunity and today was a good day to take advantage of it. Summer or fall steelhead, I don’t know, but this little hen was a fun, spunky catch. Still awaiting that first true winter steelhead on the upper Rogue River of Oregon.
The Prince Nymph. Also know as the Brown Fork Tail. The most prolific steelhead catching fly of the past season. Fished on a dead drift. The weighted Prince. I like a brass bead and wrapped lead wire underneath. A drop or two of Zap-A-Gap will cement it in place. Two brown goose biots are wrapped on as a forked tail with red thread. An oval silver tinsel is attached to the far side to be wrapped as a rib. A length of strong, fine wire is attached to the near side. The thread is advanced to the front of the hook. 15 pieces of natural peacock herl are attached there at their fine tips. The thread is wrapped back to the base of the tail over the herl. At this point the red thread is wrapped around the full length of the peacock herl strands. The herl and the thread are twisted together to form a strong rope. Then the “rope” is wrapped to the front of the hook forming a tapered body. End the peacock herl body behind the brass bead head. Be sure to separate the extra herl from the thread. Clip the herl leaving a little free space behind the bead. Wind the oval silver tinsel forward over the body with 5 or 6 equal spaced wraps to the front. Counter wind the strong wire over the tinsel to the front. Bind down the tinsel and wire with several taunt wraps of the red thread. Trim the excess tinsel and wire ends. Attach a prepared brown feather hackle to the little space left between the body and the bead head. The fibers of the hackle can be folded to help slant rearward. The brown hackle is wrapped once or twice to sweep rearward as a collar. Two white goose biots are attached to the top just behind the bead as wings. To securely attach the wings, I like to fold/bend the cut ends rearward and cover them with the final wraps of thread. Build up a little red space with the tread behind the bead, whip finish and cut the thread. Several coats of cement (Sally Hansens or Zap-A-Gap) are applied to the thread. Notice the folded end of the white goose biot poking out at the base of the wing. A very attached wing that will not slip off.
More January reflecting. Thinking back on August when the Rogue River ran high but without the stain and cold of January runoff. Sure the river will continue it’s winter antics but the conditions overall are improving as we near February.
Here’s a lucky day during late August 2016 when a Hobo Spey and Midnight Rainbow Carpetbagger Stonefly Nymph were the successful flies to use.