Monday, April 7, 2008

Walleye Fishing During The Mayfly Hatch

Fishing during the mayfly hatch has always caused walleye fishermen great consternation, leaving them believing that it is near impossible to catch fish due to the fact the walleye’s are gorging themselves on mayflies. A fishing trip on Lake Kabetogama in Voyageurs National Park last summer changed my thinking on mayfly hatch fishing. We were fishing with local guide, Frank House. Frank has lived in the International Falls, Minnesota area all his life and has been guiding for nearly 30 years. He took us out one afternoon last summer in his new Crestliner Sportfish during the peak of the mayfly hatch and we ended my catching 43 Walleye’s (most thrown back because they were to big) in about a 4-hour span. The mayfly larvae were clearly seen on the fish locator, showing up as dark random spots anywhere from a foot off the bottom to just below the surface. Frank explained that the flies stay underwater until the surface is completely smooth, with no wind blowing. Walleye’s were clearly visible on the locator feeding on the mayflies. We used both nightcrawlers and leeches fished on a bare hook with a ¼ oz sinker. We fished real slow and gave them at least a 20 count before setting the hook. Anything less usually meant you missed them. If we went for any amount of time without a bite Frank would move up onto the rocks surrounding the mud flats where the mayflies hatch from and we would find active, feeding fish there. Like Frank said, even if you have a buffet of steak, you’ll occasionally want a piece of chicken for a change and the walleye’s are the same way. When they move up on the rocks, they are feeding on leeches and minnows. Don’t think that just because there is a large mayfly hatch you can’t catch fish, just slow down and give them time to eat it.

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