A major hexagenia (mayfly) hatch started coming off just before noon today Kinda unusual, as the heaviest hatches usually start rising to the surface and taking wing about dusk.
We typically have 2-3 major hex hatches over the course of the summer. When they occur, fishing is generally tough for a couple of days because there is so much easy food floating on the water.
Rodeo clowns (now called bullfighters) cops and firefighters are hard wired to run toward danger. The same strategy works on a major mayfly hatch. Instead of trying to find a ‘no-fly zone’ , go looking for a floating cortege of bug carcasses headed down the River. The fish will already be there!
A 4 wt. St. Croix flyrod with a hex imitation is the purist’s way to fish during a mayfly hatch, but I never could make sense out of matching the hatch when the hatch is in the bajillions.
There are three presentations I’ve found to be effective under these tough conditions:
- a little Beetle-spin spinner
2. A Road Runner buffet rig (2 roadrunners on a spinnerbait wire)
3. A clear Chug Bug or Pop-R w/ a hex-fly on 4″ of mono tied to the lure’s rear hook eye.
My favorite is by far option #3. With over 115 species in the Miss, don’t be surprised if you catch white bass, smallmouth, largies, pike, crappies…and even WALLEYES, blooping this offering through the carcass parade! I think this is effective because the topwater lure mimics feeding fish, drawing in others to investigate .
Don’t expect to set the world on fire, as you’re competing with the real deal. But you’ll typically catch a respectable bunch if you keep your line in the water.
If you like fishing channel cats with dipbait, scoop up a bunch of carcasses and add ’em to your favorite concoction. They work as good as mixing in turtle livers. Either additive is a great way to expand your personal space.