2018-06-14 / Outdoors

Mayfly hatch slows walleye bite

by Grant McPherson
of the Enterprise staff


LAKE LEELANAU angler Greg Alsip said the walleye and bass bites have slowed down with so many mayflies around. Fish are pictured at the Lake Leelanau Walleye Tournament weigh-in on June 2. LAKE LEELANAU angler Greg Alsip said the walleye and bass bites have slowed down with so many mayflies around. Fish are pictured at the Lake Leelanau Walleye Tournament weigh-in on June 2. The fish are out to dinner, as the mayflies have been swarming around the lakes. Warm weather is bringing out the mayflies, and this brings less fish on the line for everyone.

No matter which lake you are on, if the fish have enough mayflies to eat, the bite won’t be as good for anyone.

With the fish eating and not wanting to bite, it can really slow down the process for anyone going out on the lakes. Angler Greg Alsip mentioned how this time of the year can be a real pain for fisherman going out on the bigger and even smaller lakes.

Alsip competed in the Barrels and Barrels Lake Leelanau Walleye Tournament on June 2, and said the bite was actually better then what it is now.

“It really slows things down when the mayflies come around,” Alsip said. “It’s harder to fish when the mayflies start hatching, but I’ve found my own ways to catch fish.”


SUTTONS BAY volleyball coach Kelly Mokanyk boated this lake trout last Wednesday while fishing Grand Traverse West Bay. Mokanyk, who was fishing with some friends and family, said she reached her limit in less than 30 minutes. SUTTONS BAY volleyball coach Kelly Mokanyk boated this lake trout last Wednesday while fishing Grand Traverse West Bay. Mokanyk, who was fishing with some friends and family, said she reached her limit in less than 30 minutes. Alsip said downsizing your bait can really help you catch walleye and bass during the mayfly season. For the newer fisherman, downsizing could simply mean to use smaller worms and other little things to attract the fish that have already been eating.

“Downsizing your bait can really help,” Alsip said. “When trying to catch walleye and bass, it can really help to downsize at this time of the year.”

When fish such as walleye and bass have all had their fair share of the mayflies around, they won’t want as big of bait. Some fisherman have found other ways to fight through the mayfly season, but others have struggled to find some fish at all.


THE 2018 mayfly hatch is underway. THE 2018 mayfly hatch is underway. Fisherman Ed Love also mentioned how bad the bite can be when the fish have all eaten and don’t come biting. Love will normally fish on little or big Glen Lake, and says the bite could possibly get worse with the warmer weather finally bringing out the mayflies. The bite is normally better on big Glen Lake then little Glen Lake.

“The bite sucks with all the food for the fish,” Love said. “It depends on the lake, but big Glen Lake produces more mayflies and makes fishing more difficult.”

As annoying as the mayflies may be, they are a part of Lake Leelanau, and other lakes as well. Lake Leelanau Lake Association biologist Wayne Swallow mentioned these creatures don’t live very long, but can really affect the fishing for everyone.

“The mayflies spend most of their lives in the water,” Swallow said. “They lay their eggs and hatch all in the water.”

Swallow added how these creatures might be abundant at some points, they are also very harmless animals. They really don’t do much, but mayflies cover houses from head to toe on the sides. People don’t need to worry at all about these little creatures.

“Some people forget that these animals can’t do any harm to us,” Swallow said. “They are pretty messy and when you go inside, make sure to shake off your clothes so you don’t bring any inside your house.”

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