As 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.
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