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Category Archives: Mayfly

Dealing With the “HATCH”

IMayfly want to talk about the “Mayfly hatch,” and how to successfully fish for Walleyes during this time. It can be more difficult  to catch numbers of walleyes and to make consistent catches during this time, but not impossible. There are hatches so thick that every fish in the lake gets their fill, and many times people use this as an excuse why they didn’t Mayflycatch anything, but even then walleyes can be caught. The most important aspect at this time is location.

First one must realize what “mayflies” are and where they live. I’m not going to get technical or scientific but rather offer some simple information to better understand how to deal with this situation when you encounter it. When I talk about mayflies, I am referring to all the aquatic bugs living in the water. The mayflies are actually a small part of the equation. There are stone flies, caddis flies, dragon flies and more flies than you can shake a stick at. The one thing they have in common is that they all live as larvae on the soft mud bottom and muck areas out in the basin. Another thing they have in common is that all fish love’em. They are fish candy.

To survive, the larvae must be able to bury themselves in the soft bottom to escape being eaten. They also crawl under sticks, stones, rocks and anything else that offers cover. When you haul up a snag, look it over and you’ll see lots of bugs of all shapes and sizes crawling on it; these are the larvae so be sure to put the stick back so those larvae can   live to the next stage in their life cycle.

walleye teethThere are millions of different types of bugs living in the water and millions of each kind of bug. The next stage of their life cycle is determined by water temperature. As the water temperatures rise, it triggers a morphing stage where the larvae morph into a flying bug. This morphing stage is commonly referred to as a ‘hatch’. When this occurs, the larvae come out of their hiding areas in the soft bottom after dark and rise to the surface. It is this period that the bugs are the most vulnerable. All fish instinctively know this and cash in on it. It’s like opening the doors to the candy store. In the case of the walleyes, they not only eat the larvae, but most of the smaller fish eating the larvae. So it is a double bonus for them.

Downsize and use lures that look similar to a Mayfly for better success at catching walleye.

Downsize and use lures that look similar to a Mayfly for better success at catching walleye.

The many different types of bugs will continue to “hatch” as their preferred water temperature is achieved for most   of the summer. While I’ve seen different types of bugs “hatching” as late as October, most of the bug “hatches” will occur during the summer months. After the bugs reach the surface of the water, they fly off to shore and stay in trees and bushes and anything else that offers protection.   Then the next day they fly back to the water’s surface and land to lay their   eggs. The eggs drift down to the bottom and as the next generation of larvae hatch, they must bury themselves into the soft bottom to prevent being fish food. If the larvae hatch out on a hard bottom, they instinctively crawl   until they reach soft bottom and bury themselves. That is why the transition areas between soft and hard bottoms are overloaded with larvae. That is also why the transition areas are good places to fish. Perch actually root out the larvae and the walleyes cash in by eating the perch as well as the larvae.

Now the importance of location becomes clear. Not all, but   many of the walleyes will be partaking in this fabulous forage feast. But where to fish? A good place to start is out in the soft bottom basin areas.   Drifting spinner and floating rigs across the soft bottom basin areas is a good place to start. If allowed, 5045378679_2afff95b5dtrolling is also an excellent option. When   trolling, not only is it effective to troll floating and spinner rigs, but also crankbaits.

Any sunken wood such as logs and stumps and the many cribs out in the soft bottom areas are also good places to find walleyes. Anchoring upwind of these cover areas and jigging and slip bobber fishing are real effective. The transition areas between the hard and soft bottom will be over loaded with larvae so walleyes will be close by.

Hard bottom can consist of rocks, so deep rock bars can be good areas. Anchoring upwind of the deep rock bars and using the jigging and slip bobber methods are again very effective. If fishing shallower rock bars, use your trolling motor for quiet maneuvering; it is easier and much faster to cast crank baits or spinners over and along side of them. Let the crank bait bump into the rocks now and again. Believe it or not, that can be like ringing the dinner bell for the wi0703_DeadWalleywalleyes.

Weeds are also an option when found near soft bottom drop offs. There are some species of larvae that cling to aquatic weeds, but most   of the larvae are found in deeper soft bottom areas. Jigging and slip bobber fishing are again the methods of choice.

When fishing in the summer, the bait that many have found to be most effective for walleyes is a small leech. Minnows are always a good and most preferred bait of all, but nightcrawlers are a good choice.yet be sure to cut into small pieces are the key here is small baits and lures.

I hope this information will help put you on Mr. Walleye.   Good luck fishing everyone.

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Dealing With the “HATCH”

IMayfly want to talk about the “Mayfly hatch,” and how to successfully fish for Walleyes during this time. It can be more difficult  to catch numbers of walleyes and to make consistent catches during this time, but not impossible. There are hatches so thick that every fish in the lake gets their fill, and many times people use this as an excuse why they didn’t Mayflycatch anything, but even then walleyes can be caught. The most important aspect at this time is location.

First one must realize what “mayflies” are and where they live. I’m not going to get technical or scientific but rather offer some simple information to better understand how to deal with this situation when you encounter it. When I talk about mayflies, I am referring to all the aquatic bugs living in the water. The mayflies are actually a small part of the equation. There are stone flies, caddis flies, dragon flies and more flies than you can shake a stick at. The one thing they have in common is that they all live as larvae on the soft mud bottom and muck areas out in the basin. Another thing they have in common is that all fish love’em. They are fish candy.

To survive, the larvae must be able to bury themselves in the soft bottom to escape being eaten. They also crawl under sticks, stones, rocks and anything else that offers cover. When you haul up a snag, look it over and you’ll see lots of bugs of all shapes and sizes crawling on it; these are the larvae so be sure to put the stick back so those larvae can   live to the next stage in their life cycle.

walleye teethThere are millions of different types of bugs living in the water and millions of each kind of bug. The next stage of their life cycle is determined by water temperature. As the water temperatures rise, it triggers a morphing stage where the larvae morph into a flying bug. This morphing stage is commonly referred to as a ‘hatch’. When this occurs, the larvae come out of their hiding areas in the soft bottom after dark and rise to the surface. It is this period that the bugs are the most vulnerable. All fish instinctively know this and cash in on it. It’s like opening the doors to the candy store. In the case of the walleyes, they not only eat the larvae, but most of the smaller fish eating the larvae. So it is a double bonus for them.

Downsize and use lures that look similar to a Mayfly for better success at catching walleye.

Downsize and use lures that look similar to a Mayfly for better success at catching walleye.

The many different types of bugs will continue to “hatch” as their preferred water temperature is achieved for most   of the summer. While I’ve seen different types of bugs “hatching” as late as October, most of the bug “hatches” will occur during the summer months. After the bugs reach the surface of the water, they fly off to shore and stay in trees and bushes and anything else that offers protection.   Then the next day they fly back to the water’s surface and land to lay their   eggs. The eggs drift down to the bottom and as the next generation of larvae hatch, they must bury themselves into the soft bottom to prevent being fish food. If the larvae hatch out on a hard bottom, they instinctively crawl   until they reach soft bottom and bury themselves. That is why the transition areas between soft and hard bottoms are overloaded with larvae. That is also why the transition areas are good places to fish. Perch actually root out the larvae and the walleyes cash in by eating the perch as well as the larvae.

Now the importance of location becomes clear. Not all, but   many of the walleyes will be partaking in this fabulous forage feast. But where to fish? A good place to start is out in the soft bottom basin areas.   Drifting spinner and floating rigs across the soft bottom basin areas is a good place to start. If allowed, 5045378679_2afff95b5dtrolling is also an excellent option. When   trolling, not only is it effective to troll floating and spinner rigs, but also crankbaits.

Any sunken wood such as logs and stumps and the many cribs out in the soft bottom areas are also good places to find walleyes. Anchoring upwind of these cover areas and jigging and slip bobber fishing are real effective. The transition areas between the hard and soft bottom will be over loaded with larvae so walleyes will be close by.

Hard bottom can consist of rocks, so deep rock bars can be good areas. Anchoring upwind of the deep rock bars and using the jigging and slip bobber methods are again very effective. If fishing shallower rock bars, use your trolling motor for quiet maneuvering; it is easier and much faster to cast crank baits or spinners over and along side of them. Let the crank bait bump into the rocks now and again. Believe it or not, that can be like ringing the dinner bell for the wi0703_DeadWalleywalleyes.

Weeds are also an option when found near soft bottom drop offs. There are some species of larvae that cling to aquatic weeds, but most   of the larvae are found in deeper soft bottom areas. Jigging and slip bobber fishing are again the methods of choice.

When fishing in the summer, the bait that many have found to be most effective for walleyes is a small leech. Minnows are always a good and most preferred bait of all, but nightcrawlers are a good choice.yet be sure to cut into small pieces are the key here is small baits and lures.

I hope this information will help put you on Mr. Walleye.   Good luck fishing everyone.

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Summer Mayflies – Catching Walleye Tips

netting walleyeWalleye can aggressively feed on may fly nymphs as they’re recovering from the stresses of spawning and from the long winter.   Although, walleye binge-feeding tapers come summer, they still target nymphs when available as not all hatches are the same and not all lakes are affected the same at the same time.  Catching walleye during summer mayfly hatches can be more challenging than in spring,  but can still be accomplished.

In the summer, the early stages of a mayfly hatch can produce good fishing as walleye will feed aggressively, competing for the small number of nymphs. However, when large hatches occur lakes can become overrun with food, and walleye tend to become extremely selective feeders.


Anglers need to downsize presentations to fool summer, nymph-feeding walleye. The particle size of nymphs tends to be a bit smaller than what people think the average-sized, adult walleye is going after. People may be fishing with presentations that are too large or don’t mimic emerging mayfly nymphs.  Depending on the species, nymphs can range in size from 0.5 to 1 inches in size. Aside from downsizing lures, anglers also need to fish exactly where walleye are feeding in the water column.

Anglers also need to move to where hatches happen.   During the mayfly hatch, walleye are generally up shallower. You will find walleye in water as shallow as three feet, even on sunny days.  When choosing where to fish flats, concentrate on breaks and holes and remember walleye always like to have deeper water adjacent to their feeding flats.

 Small jigs can be productive if walleye are bottom-feeding on nymphs during hatches. cocktail or Baraboo jigs are particularly deadly, as feathers and hair pulsate in the water. This can be the subtle movement that is needed to trigger finicky walleye. Evans finds deadsticking a cocktail jig can be effective for neutral or negative mood ‘eyes. What this does is give inactive walleye a chance to come over and examine the bait – this may get you a few more strikes on those really slow days.

When walleye are aggressively feeding on nymphs during a hatch in weedy areas, go to bait would be a bucktail jig in black, with either a red or white strip on the side. In the weedy flats be sure to fish aggressively and jigs these baits. This causes the feathers and hair to expand and contract giving the bucktail a life-like appearance.

To fish hatches, starts with small, jointed minnow baits, fished on a stop-and-go retrieve.  It’s important to mimic the action of the larva in the water as it floats up from the bottom, so a slow up and down cadence of your presentation is key.  If these baits do not produce, switch over to jigs and also to swim jigs and be sure to scale down to using two to three-inch piece of worm, leech or small minnow with 1/8 and even 1/16oz heads.   Work these baits along weed edges and over weed tops, searching for where walleye are located in the water column during a hatch.

2008061218092127Another productive bait to target walleye during a hatch is a weighted, single-hook spinner rig, featuring a small #3 Colorado or Indiana blade. Colorado and Indiana blades allow the lure to be retrieved slowly, matching a nymphs’ speed, while producing vibration and flash. Widely used on Lake Erie during hatches, it is often called a mayfly rig.

A more subtle variation of the mayfly rig (resembling a live-bait rig) is a No. 2 or 4 octopus hook tied below a sinker. Tip rigs with a small piece of live bait, anywhere from a half to two inches in size.

Dragging mayfly rigs along the bottom or slowly swimming them to the surface will imitate nymph activity. Other elements of the retrieve should include frequent pauses, stalls, and lifting the bait up again. Rigs can also be counted-down to target suspended walleye feeding on emerging nymphs.

26 (4)

During summer walleye feed on vulnerable mayfly nymphs during hatches. Using small baits and imitating a nymph’s erratic movements will take fish when traditional baits won’t get a sniff. Integrate the above strategies into your repertoire, and you’ll be turning mayfly hatches into opportunities for increased catches.

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Spring & Summer Mayfly Hatch

walleye teeth 2Take a close look at a walleye’s mouth and its teeth tell the story – they have evolved to feed on fish. Yet, walleye don’t survive on fish alone. Ever the opportunists, these marble-eyed predators will snatch up meals whenever they get the chance, and there are few underwater appetizers as easy for them to eat as may fly nymphs.

Mayfly nymphs are more than simple snacks for walleye. They’re a main component in walleye diets at certain times of the year. In the spring, gluttonous post-spawn walleye will cruise soft-bottom areas feeding on nymphs and in the summer walleye will target emerging nymphs during a hatch. To effectively catch walleye feeding onnymph nymphs, anglers need to understand the predator-prey relationship between these two species. This includes where to locate nymph-eating ‘eyes and downsizing lures to imitate these immature may fly morsels.

The life cycle of mayflies is;  egg to nymph, followed by nymph to adult. A may fly spends the majority of its life as a nymph, also called larva. Classified as benthic (bottom dwelling) invertebrates, nymphs crawl along the bottom, hiding in debris and vegetation while some create burrows. Flats and bays with soft mud or silt bottoms are prime nymph habitat. Some nymphs live in deep water, but most stay shallow to soak up sun which is crucial for their growth.

In spring, maturing nymphs become active as they prepare to emerge from the water. Once conditions are right, mature nymphs swim to the surface or crawl on land, shedding their casings and molting into winged adults. As adults their lifespan is relatively short, with their sole purpose to mate before dying. As with any migration in nature, increased activity and concentrated numbers of organisms will attract predators. The mayfly-walleye relationship is no different.

may_fly_life_cycle

“Primarily the time of year when a fish like walleye zeros in on may fly nymphs is the early to late spring period when the organisms are emerging from the mud in fairly concentrated areas, especially the types that burrow into the substrate,” says the experts.

Given their post-spawn predisposition to binge-feeding, catching walleye targeting may fly nymphs can be easy – if you know where to look. The first step is finding soft-bottomed flats comprised of mud, sand and silt that hold may fly nymphs. Some sonars display soft-bottom areas as a thin line as mud or silt absorbs and scatters the sonar’s signals.

Once you’ve found some soft-bottom areas, fish those that are close to spawning areas first, as these spots are natural transition zones and resting points for recovering fish. Also consider the light preferences of walleye. Shaded flats or ones containing weeds and wood will hold walleye better than ones in sunlight and void of cover.

3fbabdf5_hooksSmall 1/16 or 1/8-ounce jigs in both dark and light colours can be deadly when walleye feed on nymphs during early spring. Try to make jigs mimic a nymph’s erratic movements during the retrieve. If casting, slowly crawl or subtly hop it along bottom. If vertical jigging, thump the jig in place to kick up debris. This tactic appeals to a walleye’s curiosity and can trigger hits.

Walleye often suck-in nymphs and hits can be subtle. Stay focused on watching your line for the slightest twitch indicating that a walleye has sucked in your bait. You need to set the hook immediately or the fish will blow the bait back out. You will often find that tipping the jig with a small piece of worm will entice more bites and gives you more time to set the hook, as the fish hangs on to the jig a little longer. A rod with a sensitive tip and low-stretch line will also help you detect hits.

If fishing slows, a slip bobber and a small jig tipped with a piece of worm or leech can tease out a few hits. “After you cast out, let the jig and float settle for a few seconds and then slowly pull or reel in approximately three to four feet of line, then pause again.” Continue this style of retrieve until you have covered the area.

During spring feeding binges walleye are not as selective on baits matching-the-hatch as they in the summer. When spring fishing this season pay attention to water surface activity and look for isolated hatches. If near post-spawn staging areas, these spots might serve as feeding zones for recovering walleye. Fish them with jigs or slip bobbers and live bait.

In the summer, the early stages of a may fly hatch can produce good fishing as walleye will feed aggressively, competing for the small number of nymphs. However, when large hatches occur lakes can become overrun with food, and walleye tend to become extremely selective feeders.

Anglers need to downsize presentations to fool summer, nymph-feeding walleye. “The particle size of nymphs tends to be a bit smaller than what people think the average-sized, adult walleye is going after. People may be fishing with presentations that are too large or don’t mimic emerging may fly nymphs,” experts say. Depending on the species, nymphs can range in size from 0.5 to 1 inches in size. Aside from downsizing lures, anglers also need to fish exactly where walleye are feeding in the water column.

Anglers also need to move to where hatches happen.  “During the may fly hatch, I find that walleye are generally up shallower. I have caught walleye in water as shallow as three feet, even on sunny days.” When choosing where to fish flats, concentrate on breaks and holes. Walleye always like to have deeper water adjacent to their feeding flats!

Small jigs can be productive if walleye are bottom-feeding on nymphs during hatches. Bucktail or marabou jigs are particularly deadly, as feathers and hair pulsate in the water. This can be the subtle movement that is needed to trigger finicky walleye. Deadsticking a bucktail jig can be effective for neutral or negative mood ‘eyes. What this does is give inactive walleye a chance to come over and examine the bait – this may get you a few more strikes on those really slow days.

Nick 27 Walleye 6-3When walleye are aggressively feeding on nymphs during a hatch in weedy areas, ago-to bait is a bucktail jig in black, with either a red or white strip on the side. In the weedy flats he fishes, Evans aggressively jigs these baits. “This causes the feathers and hair to expand and contract giving the bucktail a life like appearance,” he notes.

To fish hatches,   starts with small, jointed minnow baits, fished on a stop-and-go retrieve. It’s important to mimic the action of the larva in the water as it floats up from the bottom, so a slow up and down cadence of your presentation is key. If these baits do not produce,  switch over to jigs. Swim jigs and  scale down to using two to three-inch grubs with 1/8 and even 1/16oz heads. Work these baits along weed edges and over weed tops, searching for where walleye are located in the water column during a hatch.

Another productive bait to target walleye during a hatch is a weighted, single-hook spinner rig, featuring a small #3 Colorado or Indiana blade. Colorado and Indiana blades allow the lure to be retrieved slowly, matching a nymphs’ speed, while producing vibration and flash. Widely used on Lake Erie during hatches, it is often called a may fly rig.

A more subtle variation of the may fly rig (resembling a live-bait rig) is a No. 2 or 4 octopus hook tied below a sinker. Tip rigs with a small piece of worm, anywhere from an half to two inches in size.

Dragging may fly rigs along the bottom or slowly swimming them to the surface will imitate nymph activity. Other elements of the retrieve should include frequent pauses, stalls, and lifting the bait up again. Rigs can also be counted-down to target suspended walleye feeding on emerging nymphs.

During summer walleye feed on vulnerable may fly nymphs during hatches. Using small baits and imitating a nymph’s erratic movements will take fish when traditional baits won’t get a sniff. Integrate the above strategies into your repertoire, and you’ll be turning may fly hatches into opportunities for increased catches.

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Leave a comment

Posted by on April 23, 2016 in Fishing, Mayfly, Walleye Fishing

 

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Dealing With the “HATCH”

IMayfly want to talk about the “Mayfly hatch,” and how to successfully fish for Walleyes during this time. It can be more difficult  to catch numbers of walleyes and to make consistent catches during this time, but not impossible. There are hatches so thick that every fish in the lake gets their fill, and many times people use this as an excuse why they didn’t Mayflycatch anything, but even then walleyes can be caught. The most important aspect at this time is location.

First one must realize what “mayflies” are and where they live. I’m not going to get technical or scientific but rather offer some simple information to better understand how to deal with this situation when you encounter it. When I talk about mayflies, I am referring to all the aquatic bugs living in the water. The mayflies are actually a small part of the equation. There are stone flies, caddis flies, dragon flies and more flies than you can shake a stick at. The one thing they have in common is that they all live as larvae on the soft mud bottom and muck areas out in the basin. Another thing they have in common is that all fish love’em. They are fish candy.

To survive, the larvae must be able to bury themselves in the soft bottom to escape being eaten. They also crawl under sticks, stones, rocks and anything else that offers cover. When you haul up a snag, look it over and you’ll see lots of bugs of all shapes and sizes crawling on it; these are the larvae so be sure to put the stick back so those larvae can   live to the next stage in their life cycle.

walleye teethThere are millions of different types of bugs living in the water and millions of each kind of bug. The next stage of their life cycle is determined by water temperature. As the water temperatures rise, it triggers a morphing stage where the larvae morph into a flying bug. This morphing stage is commonly referred to as a ‘hatch’. When this occurs, the larvae come out of their hiding areas in the soft bottom after dark and rise to the surface. It is this period that the bugs are the most vulnerable. All fish instinctively know this and cash in on it. It’s like opening the doors to the candy store. In the case of the walleyes, they not only eat the larvae, but most of the smaller fish eating the larvae. So it is a double bonus for them.

Downsize and use lures that look similar to a Mayfly for better success at catching walleye.

Downsize and use lures that look similar to a Mayfly for better success at catching walleye.

The many different types of bugs will continue to “hatch” as their preferred water temperature is achieved for most   of the summer. While I’ve seen different types of bugs “hatching” as late as October, most of the bug “hatches” will occur during the summer months. After the bugs reach the surface of the water, they fly off to shore and stay in trees and bushes and anything else that offers protection.   Then the next day they fly back to the water’s surface and land to lay their   eggs. The eggs drift down to the bottom and as the next generation of larvae hatch, they must bury themselves into the soft bottom to prevent being fish food. If the larvae hatch out on a hard bottom, they instinctively crawl   until they reach soft bottom and bury themselves. That is why the transition areas between soft and hard bottoms are overloaded with larvae. That is also why the transition areas are good places to fish. Perch actually root out the larvae and the walleyes cash in by eating the perch as well as the larvae.

Now the importance of location becomes clear. Not all, but   many of the walleyes will be partaking in this fabulous forage feast. But where to fish? A good place to start is out in the soft bottom basin areas.   Drifting spinner and floating rigs across the soft bottom basin areas is a good place to start. If allowed, 5045378679_2afff95b5dtrolling is also an excellent option. When   trolling, not only is it effective to troll floating and spinner rigs, but also crankbaits.

Any sunken wood such as logs and stumps and the many cribs out in the soft bottom areas are also good places to find walleyes. Anchoring upwind of these cover areas and jigging and slip bobber fishing are real effective. The transition areas between the hard and soft bottom will be over loaded with larvae so walleyes will be close by.

Hard bottom can consist of rocks, so deep rock bars can be good areas. Anchoring upwind of the deep rock bars and using the jigging and slip bobber methods are again very effective. If fishing shallower rock bars, use your trolling motor for quiet maneuvering; it is easier and much faster to cast crank baits or spinners over and along side of them. Let the crank bait bump into the rocks now and again. Believe it or not, that can be like ringing the dinner bell for the wi0703_DeadWalleywalleyes.

Weeds are also an option when found near soft bottom drop offs. There are some species of larvae that cling to aquatic weeds, but most   of the larvae are found in deeper soft bottom areas. Jigging and slip bobber fishing are again the methods of choice.

When fishing in the summer, the bait that many have found to be most effective for walleyes is a small leech. Minnows are always a good and most preferred bait of all, but nightcrawlers are a good choice.yet be sure to cut into small pieces are the key here is small baits and lures.

I hope this information will help put you on Mr. Walleye.   Good luck fishing everyone.

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WEB   RATES     FISH    HUNT    CABINS    PHOTOS
TESTIMONIALS    BROCHURE    HUNT BOOKLET

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Spring & Summer Mayfly Hatch

walleye teeth 2Take a close look at a walleye’s mouth and its teeth tell the story – they have evolved to feed on fish. Yet, walleye don’t survive on fish alone. Ever the opportunists, these marble-eyed predators will snatch up meals whenever they get the chance, and there are few underwater appetizers as easy for them to eat as may fly nymphs.

Mayfly nymphs are more than simple snacks for walleye. They’re a main component in walleye diets at certain times of the year. In the spring, gluttonous post-spawn walleye will cruise soft-bottom areas feeding on nymphs and in the summer walleye will target emerging nymphs during a hatch. To effectively catch walleye feeding on nymphs, anglers need to understand the predator-prey relationship between these two species. This includes where to locate nymph-eating ‘eyes and downsizing lures to imitate these immature may fly morsels.

The life cycle of mayflies is;  egg to nymph, followed by nymph to adult. A may fly spends the majority of its life nymphas a nymph, also called larva. Classified as benthic (bottom dwelling) invertebrates, nymphs crawl along the bottom, hiding in debris and vegetation while some create burrows. Flats and bays with soft mud or silt bottoms are prime nymph habitat. Some nymphs live in deep water, but most stay shallow to soak up sun which is crucial for their growth.

In spring, maturing nymphs become active as they prepare to emerge from the water. Once conditions are right, mature nymphs swim to the surface or crawl on land, shedding their casings and molting into winged adults. As adults their lifespan is relatively short, with their sole purpose to mate before dying. As with any migration in nature, increased activity and concentrated numbers of organisms will attract predators. The mayfly-walleye relationship is no different.

may_fly_life_cycle

“Primarily the time of year when a fish like walleye zeros in on may fly nymphs is the early to late spring period when the organisms are emerging from the mud in fairly concentrated areas, especially the types that burrow into the substrate,” says the experts.

Given their post-spawn predisposition to binge-feeding, catching walleye targeting may fly nymphs can be easy – if you know where to look. The first step is finding soft-bottomed flats comprised of mud, sand and silt that hold may fly nymphs. Some sonars display soft-bottom areas as a thin line as mud or silt absorbs and scatters the sonar’s signals.

Once you’ve found some soft-bottom areas, fish those that are close to spawning areas first, as these spots are natural transition zones and resting points for recovering fish. Also consider the light preferences of walleye. Shaded flats or ones containing weeds and wood will hold walleye better than ones in sunlight and void of cover.

3fbabdf5_hooksSmall 1/16 or 1/8-ounce jigs in both dark and light colors can be deadly when walleye feed on nymphs during early spring. Try to make jigs mimic a nymph’s erratic movements during the retrieve. If casting, slowly crawl or subtly hop it along bottom. If vertical jigging, thump the jig in place to kick up debris. This tactic appeals to a walleye’s curiosity and can trigger hits.

Walleye often suck-in nymphs and hits can be subtle. Stay focused on watching your line for the slightest twitch indicating that a walleye has sucked in your bait. You need to set the hook immediately or the fish will blow the bait back out. You will often find that tipping the jig with a small piece of worm will entice more bites and gives you more time to set the hook, as the fish hangs on to the jig a little longer. A rod with a sensitive tip and low-stretch line will also help you detect hits.

If fishing slows, a slip bobber and a small jig tipped with a piece of worm or leech can tease out a few hits. “After you cast out, let the jig and float settle for a few seconds and then slowly pull or reel in approximately three to four feet of line, then pause again.” Continue this style of retrieve until you have covered the area.

During spring feeding binges walleye are not as selective on baits matching-the-hatch as they in the summer. When spring fishing this season pay attention to water surface activity and look for isolated hatches. If near post-spawn staging areas, these spots might serve as feeding zones for recovering walleye. Fish them with jigs or slip bobbers and live bait.

In the summer, the early stages of a may fly hatch can produce good fishing as walleye will feed aggressively, competing for the small number of nymphs. However, when large hatches occur lakes can become overrun with food, and walleye tend to become extremely selective feeders.

Anglers need to downsize presentations to fool summer, nymph-feeding walleye. “The particle size of nymphs tends to be a bit smaller than what people think the average-sized, adult walleye is going after. People may be fishing with presentations that are too large or don’t mimic emerging may fly nymphs,” experts say. Depending on the species, nymphs can range in size from 0.5 to 1 inches in size. Aside from downsizing lures, anglers also need to fish exactly where walleye are feeding in the water column.

Anglers also need to move to where hatches happen.  “During the may fly hatch, I find that walleye are generally up shallower. I have caught walleye in water as shallow as three feet, even on sunny days.” When choosing where to fish flats, concentrate on breaks and holes. Walleye always like to have deeper water adjacent to their feeding flats!
netting walleye

Small jigs can be productive if walleye are bottom-feeding on nymphs during hatches. Buck tail or marabou jigs are particularly deadly, as feathers and hair pulsate in the water. This can be the subtle movement that is needed to trigger finicky walleye. Dead sticking a buck tail jig can be effective for neutral or negative mood ‘eyes. What this does is give inactive walleye a chance to come over and examine the bait – this may get you a few more strikes on those really slow days.

When walleye are aggressively feeding on nymphs during a hatch in weedy areas, ago-to bait is a buck tail jig in black, with either a red or white strip on the side. In the weedy flats he fishes, Evans aggressively jigs these baits. “This causes the feathers and hair to expand and contract giving the buck tail a life like appearance,” he notes.

To fish hatches,   starts with small, jointed minnow baits, fished on a stop-and-go retrieve. It’s important to mimic the action of the larva in the water as it floats up from the bottom, so a slow up and down cadence of your presentation is key. If these baits do not produce,  switch over to jigs. Swim jigs and  scale down to using two to three-inch grubs with 1/8 and even 1/16oz heads. Work these baits along weed edges and over weed tops, searching for where walleye are located in the water column during a hatch.

Another productive bait to target walleye during a hatch is a weighted, single-hook spinner rig, featuring a small #3 Colorado or Indiana blade. Colorado and Indiana blades allow the lure to be retrieved slowly, matching a nymphs’ speed, while producing vibration and flash. Widely used on Lake Erie during hatches, it is often called a may fly rig.

A more subtle variation of the may fly rig (resembling a live-bait rig) is a No. 2 or 4 octopus hook tied below a sinker. Tip rigs with a small piece of worm, anywhere from an half to two inches in size.


Dragging may fly rigs along the bottom or slowly swimming them to the surface will imitate nymph activity. Other elements of the retrieve should include frequent pauses, stalls, and lifting the bait up again. Rigs can also be counted-down to target suspended walleye feeding on emerging nymphs.

During summer walleye feed on vulnerable may fly nymphs during hatches. Using small baits and imitating a nymph’s erratic movements will take fish when traditional baits won’t get a sniff. Integrate the above strategies into your repertoire, and you’ll be turning may fly hatches into opportunities for increased catches.

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Posted by on April 27, 2015 in Fishing, Mayfly, Walleye Fishing

 

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Summer Mayflies – Catching Walleye Tips

Walleye can aggressively feed on may fly nymphs as they’re recovering from the stresses of spawning and from the long winter.   Although, walleye binge-feeding tapers come summer, they still target nymphs when available as not all hatches are the same and not all lakes are affected the same at the same time.  Catching walleye during summer mayfly hatches can be more challenging than in spring,  but can still be accomplished.

In the summer, the early stages of a mayfly hatch can produce good fishing as walleye will feed aggressively, competing for the small number of nymphs. However, when large hatches occur lakes can become overrun with food, and walleye tend to become extremely selective feeders.


Anglers need to downsize presentations to fool summer, nymph-feeding walleye. The particle size of nymphs tends to be a bit smaller than what people think the average-sized, adult walleye is going after. People may be fishing with presentations that are too large or don’t mimic emerging mayfly nymphs.  Depending on the species, nymphs can range in size from 0.5 to 1 inches in size. Aside from downsizing lures, anglers also need to fish exactly where walleye are feeding in the water column.

Anglers also need to move to where hatches happen.   During the mayfly hatch, walleye are generally up shallower. You will find walleye in water as shallow as three feet, even on sunny days.  When choosing where to fish flats, concentrate on breaks and holes and remember walleye always like to have deeper water adjacent to their feeding flats.

 Small jigs can be productive if walleye are bottom-feeding on nymphs during hatches. cocktail or Baraboo jigs are particularly deadly, as feathers and hair pulsate in the water. This can be the subtle movement that is needed to trigger finicky walleye. Evans finds deadsticking a cocktail jig can be effective for neutral or negative mood ‘eyes. What this does is give inactive walleye a chance to come over and examine the bait – this may get you a few more strikes on those really slow days.

When walleye are aggressively feeding on nymphs during a hatch in weedy areas, go to bait would be a bucktail jig in black, with either a red or white strip on the side. In the weedy flats be sure to fish aggressively and jigs these baits. This causes the feathers and hair to expand and contract giving the bucktail a life-like appearance.

To fish hatches, starts with small, jointed minnow baits, fished on a stop-and-go retrieve.  It’s important to mimic the action of the larva in the water as it floats up from the bottom, so a slow up and down cadence of your presentation is key.  If these baits do not produce, switch over to jigs and also to swim jigs and be sure to scale down to using two to three-inch piece of worm, leech or small minnow with 1/8 and even 1/16oz heads.   Work these baits along weed edges and over weed tops, searching for where walleye are located in the water column during a hatch.

2008061218092127Another productive bait to target walleye during a hatch is a weighted, single-hook spinner rig, featuring a small #3 Colorado or Indiana blade. Colorado and Indiana blades allow the lure to be retrieved slowly, matching a nymphs’ speed, while producing vibration and flash. Widely used on Lake Erie during hatches, it is often called a mayfly rig.

A more subtle variation of the mayfly rig (resembling a live-bait rig) is a No. 2 or 4 octopus hook tied below a sinker. Tip rigs with a small piece of live bait, anywhere from a half to two inches in size.

Dragging mayfly rigs along the bottom or slowly swimming them to the surface will imitate nymph activity. Other elements of the retrieve should include frequent pauses, stalls, and lifting the bait up again. Rigs can also be counted-down to target suspended walleye feeding on emerging nymphs.

During summer walleye feed on vulnerable mayfly nymphs during hatches. Using small baits and imitating a nymph’s erratic movements will take fish when traditional baits won’t get a sniff. Integrate the above strategies into your repertoire, and you’ll be turning mayfly hatches into opportunities for increased catches.

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