March 31, 2020

The Mayfly Marvel

Summer fishing can bring some of the toughest fishing of our season as well as some of the greatest.

A few weeks ago in central Minnesota there was a window of great smallmouth fishing that myself and Bassin’ 360 Founder Mark Hanowski were able to capitalize on.

It was a warm summer night and we had an upcoming tournament on the Mississippi River, which has some phenomenally sized smallmouth as well as largemouth. We began fishing some of our go-to spots with marginal success and began looking for some new water for larger fish.The Mayfly Marvel

It was on one of these new spots that we noticed that many of the trees we were fishing were discolored. Upon closer examination we noticed the thousands of mayflies all packed together covering every square inch of the bark and leaves. At the time we didn’t think much of it, it was one of those things we were just use to seeing growing up fishing the river. It was only after a misplaced cast that we realized there is something truly special about the occurrence of these mayflies.

After rattling a branch with my lure, hundreds of mayflies landed on the water’s surface only to be viciously attacked by ferocious smallmouth. Then and only then did it all make sense. After seeing the feeding frenzy on the surface we immediately casted our lures at the commotion and were ambushed ourselves.


We went on to catch roughly 35 smallmouth during a time period of 45 minutes. The action was unbelievable to say the least. Lures didn’t even seem to matter much. We casted poppers, drop shots, tubes, texas rigged craws, and flukes.Whatever hit the surface where the mayflies dropped was demolished. We found two stretches of trees roughly 1 mile apart with the mayflies residing on their branches and caught fish in both locations including large fish up to 4 pounds. All that was needed was a quick rattling of the branches with a lure and the smallmouth were as close to jumping into the boat as I had ever seen.

This goes to show that small details, like noticing mayflies on tree branches, is all it takes to go from zero to hero in a hurry. Next time you are on the water pay attention to small details. It could make all the difference.

Nick Retka

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