Mayfly hatch under way in spades!
By Nick Longworth
Next time you’re fishing and you start to swat the flies buzzing around you, stop and think: are you trying to kill what could be your best bait?
There are several different insects of Mayflies which can be found on rivers around the area such as Straight River, which begins from Straight Lake in Osage.
Mayflies are in the Insect Order Ephemeroptera – and like all aquatic invertebrates – provide food for fish or other aquatic organisms.
Certain species in the order, such as Dark Hendrickson, Tricos and Sulfurs have all been historically known to thrive in Minnesotan summers, and hatch during the beginning months of summer, typically around May, June and July.
And that can make for some ideal fishing, says one expert.
“There are several species of Mayflies with quite different life histories and habitat requirements. Some species emerge earlier than others and some are more obvious than others. There are a large species of Mayfly that are well known and popular with trout anglers on Straight River, because when they are hatching, large trout are actively feeding and can be a little more vulnerable,” said Doug Kingsley, Area Fisheries Supervisor for the Minnesota DNR fisheries.
“The Mayfly hatches can provide good fishing because fish are actively feeding and vulnerable. Any fishing can be better during a Mayfly hatch for fish that are actively feeding on the flies. I have seen walleye caught near or on the surface during Mayfly hatches and I have seen Hexagenia mayfly hatches on the Mississippi River so dense that they had to use snowplows to clear them off the bridges.”
Kingsley encourages people who are unaware of the Mayfly’s importance to simply practice apathy when dealing with what could be considered by many to be a pest.
In the natural order of things, the benefits far outweigh the inconvenience.
“(Mayfly) can interfere with people wanting to recreate outside. However, they are a nuisance that we should live with or overlook because they are so beneficial,” Kingsley said.
“We definitely don’t want to prevent Mayflies or their hatches. They are a vital part of the aquatic community, providing forage for fish and other aquatic organisms and can also be an indicator of good water quality.”