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White Mayflies for Smallmouth

Catching Smallmouth Like Trout

July, August and September can mean sporatic hatches of the famed White Mayfly (Ephoron Leukons), depending where you reside in the northern half of the U.S. This hatch can sometimes make smallmouth and other fish surface feed like trout, gently sipping in the duns as they light on the river’s surface.

In Minnesota the hatches are quite variable as is the relative interest from smallmouth bass. Some nights the fish will set up in lanes like trout and rhythmically take the naturals during a heavy evening hatch. Other nights, during a good hatch, the smallmouth will ignore the flies offering no “match-the-hatch” fishing opps.

I prefer to use a Light Cahill or Royal Wulff (all white) in a size #14, ties on a 10 or 12 hook. You need the extra gap for larger specimens. The mayflies will often cluster around a downed dun offering a value meal for a lucky bass. Some people use poppers during the hatch, but I prefer the subtle take of a small fly during these special times.

Remember these hatches almost always occur within the last hour of daylight, so you must be on the stream at that time to see what will develop.

Many nights you will be disappointed by the lack of surface action, but when the planets line up and the fish get on these leukons, you’ll have some of the most memorable smallmouth fishing of the entire season. You can really rack up the numbers as you simply pick which rising fish to whom you want to throw. They are not real pick and amazingly will often take a slightly larger artificial over a natural, especially if given some subtle action.

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