2021 Indiana cicada hatch is about to go off! Here's how to fish it!
Very soon in Indiana cicadas by the billions are going to crawl up out of the ground and take to the skies, mate, and complete their 17 year life cycle. When this happened before, I wasn't fly fishing. As a matter of fact, I'm pretty sure I missed the whole thing because I sure don't remember it. For the most part, I was in college and blame that. This time, I'll be ready, and you should be also.
Just like in the famous hatches that take place out West and the East that draw fly fishermen by the thousands to take part, we Hoosiers finally get to experience a bonanza in similar fashion. It won't take long once the cicadas emerge for fish to realize that the need to be looking up for the never ending buffet falling on the the water above them. Every fish will be keyed in on them from bass, catfish, carp, and even panfish. If you have the right pattern, the opportunity to catch every fish Indiana has to offer will be abundant.
When the cicadas fall, this isn't something to overthink. In general, fly fishing isn't as complicated as the stigma would have you believe. I'l be using a 6wt fly rod, a 5-6wt reel, and likely a homemade leader consisting of 12lb flouro P-line tied down to an 8lb flouro P-line tippet connected via a surgeon's knot. I don't often use pre-made leaders in Indiana. One, they are expensive, and two, as I've found, most fish here just don't care. They ain't trout and they ain't that picky, but to each their own. Also, as I've found, 8lb standard flouro will cover carp, smallmouth, and largemouth, as well as provide hook setting strength and fighting power when you need it.
From there, find where there are trees or brush along the bank. Likely you'll be sight fishing as fish will be close to the top, or nearby ready to eat. Cast the fly near the brush, let it sit, and wait for the slurp. For moving waters, the same applies but I'll be casting above the tree shadow or brush and allowing it to float through first, then picking it up and laying it down right in it as if the bug fell off into the water. I try not to spook fish on my first, often terrible, cast attempt at a high percentage spot. So, allowing the float through gives you the opportunity to present and not snag a tree, smack the water too hard, or otherwise butcher a great spot.
If you have a kayak, SUP, or boat, just throwing your cicada pattern out and allowing long drifts will get eats. Fish will be keyed in and gorging themselves. You just have to be there to present it.
For those that don't fly fish, you can still take advantage of this. There are multiple options out there to use a cicada pattern with a spinning rod on a bobber set up. Instead of casting the fly, you'll be casting a float, then once your set up hits the water, reel in slack so it's in a straight line, and then watch for the take. The same principle applies, but it's just a little different. There are are plenty of those clear plastic bobbers at most fishing stores that would allow for a great set up. I'd probably try to allow at least 24 inches between the float and the bug though.
The cicada hatch is about to go off here in Indiana, as well as all over the Midwest. Make your plans now and don't miss out!