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Jason Pence (The Fisher)

Like most folks I try to avoid a walleye outing during the mayfly hatch. However, I have hit it dead on during several Canadian trips and once during a week in the BWCA every lake I touched had stacks of them. Here's a technique I picked up several years back that has now saved the day for me numerous times in the hatch. Take a spinner rig with a VERY SMALL spinner blade on the rig. Use a 1 hook rig with NO FLOAT. On the hook put about a 1 1/2 to 2 inch piece of crawler. I like to use a bottom bouncer with this set up as it keeps it a foot or so off the bottom. SLOWLY backtroll, drift, or whatever means is allowed on that body of water. The little tiny spinner with the 2 inch crawler looks A WHOLE LOT like a mayfly hatching and swirling up. Just like what they have been seeing and eating--a little color on the spinner blade makes yours a little more visible (and I think desirable) than the competition food. There are a couple of things to keep in mind:

1. Keep the speed of movement real slow, just enough to keep the blade fluttering and spinning.

2. My experience has been that if you can find grass patches at the edge of the flats, or areas where the hatch is at, then you have found the magic magnet. Hope this puts a few in the livewell for you if you have to fish the hatch. It has helped me to get limits a few times when others went home empty.

There is also a second really good option to consider in fishing mayfly hatches. If you have to fish the hatch, and fish for species that are keying on the insects for food, the trick with the small spinners works well. However, a person might want to consider switching species until after it is over. For example, pike and muskie are not much affected by the hatch EXCEPT IN A POSITIVE WAY. What I mean by that is esox species do not feed on the hatch, except incidentally. So the bugs don't affect their food much in that way. However there have been times when I was fishing that the hatch concentrated the prey species (bluegill, perch, walleye, sometimes even bass) that were the table food for the muskie or pike in that system. You then are fishing for an active esox species with a good part of the puzzle already solved for you--they are located immediately with the fish feeding on the insects, or the very close surrounding area (weedbed/ inside turn/ first structural drop/ suspended at the same level over the deeper drop...whatever is there) . You are now able to fish small specific high percentage spots and this has been very successful for me at times. Just an alternative option in the hatch if you want to leave the walleye/bass/perch/ as a target species.

Good Fishing,

The Fisher
Jason Pence

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