The mayfly hatch of 2017 is on! In the days of yesteryear, the old time walleye anglers would claim that the bite would shut down during the hatch, but au contraire mon frères. That’s French, which loosely translated means, not so fast my brothers. In all actuality, it’s the opposite, the walleye of Lake Erie are putting the feedbag on and its one of the best times of the year to head out and catch some limits of eyes.
I like certain blades a little more than others, depending on the time of the year. Does it really make a difference, I would certainly say yes, while others may differ. That would be their problem, because in my world, I have confidence in those blades when mother nature dictates their use. Am I right in this belief, certainly because it works for me. The others, if they are catching fish certainly have the right to make their claims about their fave blades, if it works for them. My #1 blade during the bite is called Confusion and back in the early 2000’s it was produced by a company called Fishlander which has gone out of business since then. When I need a few more, I call/email my friends at Big Eye Custom Lures and have some more made up in sizes #4 and #6. I use the bigger blades for trolling, and the smaller blades for casting Weapons, which in some circles is called a mayfly rig.
Gold and copper blades are some of my other favorites to run this time of the year. From Big Eye, I like Halloween and Copper Oriole, another Fishlander blade that works well is Gold Muffin and Northland Tackle’s Golden Shiner in their Baitfish-Image series of Colorado blades is a seasonal favorite. I consider these to be buggy colors, because in some degree in their gold, copper, brown, black and orange color patterns, they seem to work the best during the hatch.
Anti-freeze patterns are another excellent option for running behind my Church Tackle TX-22 boards during the hatch. Anti-freeze comes in several color patterns, and they vary greatly depending on the blade they are painted on. A silver blade which is the norm gives off a very shiny greenish-yellow. While on a copper blade, the shine is more gold-ish in color.
Normally with the lake starting to heat up, I would say fish the bottom third of the water column, but with the mayflies rising up from the bottom and going to the surface, walleye are actively feeding all along the water column. With this in mind you cold run any size Stingray diving weight from Church to cover the entire column. In fact, while I was getting some ice and crawlers from Jeff’s Bait Shop near the entrance to Sterling State Park, I found out that they have the entire lineup of Stingrays in stock.
In conclusion, which is English for the end of the article, if you are an angler who struggles during the mayfly hatch, think about getting buggy with your blade patterns. For myself, these are all patterns which have proven their worth during the hatch. In the mornings cover the whole water column, as the walleye will be actively feeding, and as the day progresses and the sun rises, start running your blades lower and watch your catch rates increase. Watch your speeds and for what its worth, try that 1.2 to 1.5 mph range to put more walleye in your cooler, or livewell as the case may be.