Swarms of cicadas emerge every 13 or 17 years, depending on the brood. When these broods emerge, entire regions of the U.S. are inundated with enormous broods of cicadas thanks to one of nature’s weirder phenomenons.
Within the last week or so, a new 17 year batch is beginning to emerge in what’s expected to be one of the biggest brood of bugs seen in two decades across 15 different states.
The presence of the cicadas, also known as locusts is expected to pick up over the next few weeks through early June.
According to Knox News, the cicada density is expected to be as thick as 1.5 million bugs per acre once the swarm has fully emerged.
Even if you don’t see many cicadas, it will be hard not to hear them.
Cicadas are the loudest insects on earth. The song of a male cicada buzzes at roughly 100 decibels. That makes it a little louder than a lawnmower or almost as a loud as a live concert.
Cicadas are also one of the must nutrient rich food sources in nature.
Birds, bears, racoons, reptiles and amphibians all feast on the insects. Cicadas are clumsy flyers and a ton of the bugs often wind up in lakes, rivers, and streams, so fish feast on them too.
The eruption of large cicada broods change how fish feed in certain areas, and it can have a huge impact on the fishing forecast, usually for the better.
As cicadas pile up in the water, a wide variety of fish eat them including bass, trout, carp, catfish, bluegill, walleye and even muskie. The feeding frenzy provides anglers a chance at catching a wide variety of fish with a single bait source.
The cicada densities are predicted to be at their peak all across East Tennessee, an are which also offers world-class fishing opportunities.
Fishing opportunities are incredibly diverse throughout that part of the state. There are over 800 miles of wild trout fishing in the Appalachian Mountains, most of which is on public land in Great Smoky Mountains National Park or Cherokee National Forest.
The areas many lakes are also home to some of the best bass fishing anywhere in the country, and huge muskie lurk in the Tennessee River river basin and in many mountain lakes.
Plus, the tail waters of local dams can provide year-round stocked trout fishing and the deep reservoirs are excellent for bass or larger fish.
All of those varied and unique fishing opportunities are expected to be amplified during the cicada boom.
“Small fish let their guard down while they focus on eating cicadas. Large fish, in turn, let their guard down while they go after cicadas and those smaller fish.”
The experienced angler also provided Knox News with a list of tips if you want to go out and fish during the cicada boom:
The best time to take advantage of the cicada boom is while they’re active. Listen for cicadas. That’s coming in the next few days.
Check Cicada Safari, a cicada tracking app to see if anyone has reported cicadas near your favorite spots.
Cicadas emerge in forested areas so set up in places where trees overhang the water.
Keep an eye out for other wildlife. Periodical cicadas create feeding frenzies on land and in the air. If you see birds diving after cicadas by a stream, you’ve found a good spot.
Take heavier equipment than usual so you’re prepared for larger fish. Fly-fishermen can use large cicada-shaped lures or splashy surface lures to get in on the action. Other anglers can use lures that mimic the prey fish investigating the cicadas.
If you don’t have lures you can just grab one of the numerous cicadas and fish with it as live bait.
While you’re out, fish the surface or just under the surface. They will be attracted upward by the cicadas splashing around.
Be sure to check in with the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency to buy your fishing license and ensure you’re in compliance with all fishing rules and regulations.
As always, fish responsibly and leave the whiskey at the dock.