Monday, May 2, 2011

The Cicadas Are Coming!

The last time this happened I missed it!  It was one of those once in a lifetime events when both a brood of the 13 year and the 17 year Periodic Cicadas emerged in 1998.  That was first time since 1777 that both broods have emerged at the same time.  This time it will just be Brood 19 of the 13 year Cicadas but I’m not missing it!

Brood 19 of the 13 year Periodic Cicadas will start to appear any day now depending on weather conditions.  I’ve heard on good authority that they have started to emerge in the southern portion of the range.  In the hearty of Missouri’s trout and smallmouth country, the emergence will likely run from the last third of May into much of June. 

 These guys are BIG and plentiful.    They can be up to an inch and a half long and are nearly an inch in diameter.   They have a blackish-brown body with rusty orange eyes, legs and wing veins.  Fish feed so wildly on them that an exact match is not important.  Any big dark floating fly will work.  Just slap your fly down hard and hold on!

The females lay their eggs by making a cut in the end of branches and twigs, primarily oaks.  The cuts cause the leaves on the ends of the branches to shrivel and die.   The eggs hatch in about 6 weeks and fall to the ground.  After spending the next 13 years underground they will return again.  

The adults get all the publicity but the nymph stage shouldn’t be overlooked.   The guru of Missouri trout fishing, Mike Kruse, took advantage of the 1998 emergence well into July when the adults were gone.  Mike came up with his “Power Worm.”   The Power Worm is a fast and simple fly to tie.  Per Mike, start with a size 8 Mustad 9672 or equivalent hook.  Tie in an orange saddle hackle (Editor’s note: Mike didn’t specify but likely by the tip) at the hook bend.  Tie in short black flash chenille and warp it forward.  Palmer the hackle over the body.  Simple as that.

It will be three months to remember.

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