Fly Tying Corner
CDC Cinnamon Ant
Tuesday - August 26, 2014
Its August and hatches of early summer are starting to dwindle. But that doesn’t mean you have to give up fishing with dry flies. Central Oregon has extensive of lodgepole forest environments near our lakes, and these host a myriad of terrestrials, such as ants, hoppers, termites, and beetles. For this month’s pattern, I chose a CDC Cinnamon Ant. This pattern reminds me of a day on Hosmer Lake when I forgot to bring my terrestrial fly box. And sure enough, there was a very good hatch of small flying cinnamon ants. In desperation, I threw my entire fly box at them. But the fish were on ants and they wanted nothing else. I returned home thinking “I got spanked.” But the wheels were already turning and I was sure the hatch would occur the following day. That night I tied few CDC Cinnamon Ants and returned to Hosmer. Sure enough, the hatch started again as soon as the early afternoon warmth hit the area. My diligence paid off, as the fish took this Cinnamon Ant pattern with abandon. Looking up at Mt. Bachelor I thought to myself, there is nothing better than the beauty of Hosmer Lake when the fly fishing is “On”!
Before I move to the pattern instruction, I also wanted to take a moment and remind folks of the importance of releasing large fish with care. This year I’ve had a couple situations where these big guys are totally exhausted from the fight and difficult to revive. It often takes 10-15 minutes for a larger fish to recover. I like to leave the fish in the water submerged in rubber net. The best release is one where you don’t handle the fish at all. But if need be, gently support the fish upright until it is ready to swim away. And even then, give it a little more time. Take the time to do it right and your prize fish will live to fight another day.
I like this CDC Cinnamon Ant Pattern as it is simple to tie, and very effective. The CDC in the wing makes it an excellent floating pattern. CDC feathers come from the area around a duck’s oil gland. These feathers are saturated with natural oils that keep the feathers from absorbing water. But after catching fish on this fly, CDC also requires a bit more care to keep it working. I carry a small bottle of dry shake to dry the fly and enable it to resume floating. But I also carry a small bottle of CDC oil. Regular floatant can mat down CDC and render it inoperable. But CDC oil applied very sparingly helps restore the CDC to its original properties.
Give this pattern a try next time you are on Hosmer Lake in August. And also don’t forget your terrestrial fly box with other patterns, like beetles and hoppers. You never know which one will hit the water on any given day.
- Hook: Tiemco 100 or Daiichi 1180, size 16
- Thread: Tobacco Brown 6/0
- Abdomen and head: Rusty Antron dubbing
- Wing: Natural Dun CDC Feather
- Hackle: Whiting Dun Saddle
- Tie on the thread at the halfway point of the hook. Gently dub Rusty antron onto the thread and wind back and forth to build a small ball that forms the abdomen of the ant.
- Tie in a tuft of CDC extending over the abdomen and just beyond the curve
- the hook. Splay the fibers out on either side of the abdomen to form the wings on this fly.
- Tie in a dun hackle in front of the wing. Lightly glue the area and wind the hackle forward with 4-5 wraps into the glue. The glue adds a lot of durability to the hackle on the fly. It should be tied dry fly style; shiny side back and the dull side forward. Trim the excess.
- Dub the rusty antron onto the thread and wind it back and forth to form a dubbing ball at the head of the fly. This second dubbing ball should be about half the size of the abdomen.
- Whip finish at the head and lightly glue the head to finish this fly.
- Substitute rust colored 2-3mm foam for the abdomen and head instead of the dubbing material.
- Substitute dun Zelon for the wing, which is little more durable than CDC.