Cicada Emergence 2011 Update
I travelled a fair bit around the Ozarks in May and June. Cicadas were thickest around Table Rock, Tanneycomo, Beaver, Eureka Springs, below Ranchette on Bull Shoals tailwater, and on Norfork tailwater and Dry Run Creek. As of yet, none have emerged out here at Monte Ne or much west of Fayetteville in Benton and Washington counties.
The hatch was going strong in the Buford/Norfork area of southern Baxter County by May 19th, Taney County, MO by May 26th and the Beaver tailwater and Lake Leatherwood area by Memorial Day weekend. Michael Guidry and I had a fun evening fishing cicada patterns on Lake Leatherwood June 4th. Unfortunately, tailwater conditions were not very favorable for fishing the main part of the cicada activity.
Bull Shoals dam closed spillway gates June 7th after record releases and continued to reduce generation making a terrific window of opportunity for fishing the cicada hatch that weekend. I guided George Rankin June 10-11, and we had two phenomenal days of dry fly fishing (see the cicada fly tying tutorial on the Fly Patterns page for the pattern we used). As we were getting off the river Saturday afternoon, a severe thunderstorm strafed the river from Cotter downstream to Buffalo City and towards Norfork and blew many of the cicada out of the trees into the river. I suspect there was a feeding frenzy later that night and the next morning. That probably reduced the number of bugs substantially, and it will likely dry up the action over the next few days in that area of the tailwater.
As the large periodic 13-year hatch comes to a close, it will be noted in anglers’ notebooks and calendars. Each of these rare occurrences now are better documented than ever and knowledgeable anglers, fishing the White River tailwaters and other parts of the country where cicada are known to be a factor in angling, will be better prepared to take advantage of such opportunities for future outings.
But for now, the woods begin to grow faint of cicada songs, and trout and bass gobble up the last of a short-lived buffet item. Farewell, 13-year cicada.
© 2011, Scott Branyan