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How to Take Advantage of the Topwater Bite During Cicada Season

Posted by 
May 10, 2013
Published in News & Tips > Fishing > Bass
4213   Comment

Cicada on leafAs cicadas began to descend on Northeastern states such as my native Pennsylvania, veteran anglers like me get excited. 

Why? These billions of Brood II cicadas—thumb-sized insects that emerge from underground—come only once in 17-year cycles, and they bring along with them tremendous topwater fishing conditions. Anyone who enjoys good fishing should take advantage of the coming cicada season, which will last between four and six weeks. 

Bass and other species in clear-water settings feed by sight, and the presence of cicadas pinging the water near bushes and trees will entice them to bite.

But the presence of billions of cicadas will also affect the surrounding ecosystem, drawing fish closer to river banks for easy pickings, especially on waterways such as the Juniata River, which stretches roughly a hundred miles across central Pennsylvania. The Susquehanna River, on the other hand, will be closed from May to mid-June, which will take it out of commission during cicada season’s peak. 

To take advantage of the topwater conditions, don’t feel like you need a boat. It’s a great time of the year to wade in the water, or even fish from the shore. If you do plan to fish from the shore, consider throwing your line underneath trees and bushes, where cicadas and other insects might be falling into the water. Keep in mind most fish will also be upriver.

As for equipment, I’d use a Rebel Bumble Bug lure, or any kind of popper or smaller insect-type lure. In addition, I’d also use a medium-action spinning rod, about 6-foot 6-inches long. 

Follow these simple tips and you enjoy a quality of topwater bite that occurs once in a generation. 

by Rod Bates, Bass Pro Shops fishing pro staff


Tagged under Read 4213 times Last modified on June 16, 2015
Rod Bates

Home: Landisburg, Pennsylvania
(wife) Linda, (daughters) Kristen & Britney
Fishing & Hunting
: Custom built Snyder Jet boat

Angling Stuff

Favorite Technique: Jig Fishing
Fishing Strength:
Willingness to adapt
Favorite Lake:
Lake Erie
Favorite Species Fished
Smallmouth Bass
Likes to Fish:
I fish everywhere but most of my fishing is the Susquehanna River

Career Highlights

Fishing all my life, we have pictures of me fishing in diapers and I am now 52
2 Top-10 tournament finishes
12 Years being a fishing guide
Bass Pro Shops Pro Staff member

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