Mayfly hatch a little more calm this year, experts say

Water, social media play role

Every summer, La Crosse is known for the huge amount of mayflies that come from the river.

The biggest hatch usually comes around the Fourth of July.

While we’ve seen some hatches this summer, many have noticed there hasn’t been that one big emergence yet.

Local experts said that mayfly hatch usually gives us good insight into the health of the Mississippi River.

Experts said we already had a big hatch, but there are a couple reasons you may not have noticed.

Whether if you’re a fan of them or not, the summertime tradition of mayfly hatches is essential for the Mississippi River.

“They are a huge link in the food web in this area. To see those mayflies is a good sign,” said Erin Adams, a biologist with the Upper Mississippi River Wildlife and Fish Refuge.

We typically see a big mayfly hatch around the Fourth of July, so much so, that meteorologists can detect them on Doppler radar.

“You start to see enhanced colors, like you’ll go from light greens to dark greens to maybe yellow, and it’s a distinct pattern,” said Stormteam 8 meteologist Cory Malles.

This year, biologists said our mayfly hatches are about on par with hatches we’ve seen in years past, but there are some noticeable differences.

“We may not have seen the mega-hatch that we’ve seen in the past,” Adams said.

“They are a little more spread out. Usually we’ll get — you’ll usually get several nights where you’ll see these hatches of whatever they are, but this year it seems like they’re more spread out,” Malles said.

One explanation for not seeing a big hatch could be social media.

“We have access to photos that we might not of had years before. The hatches are going on up and down the river. People just might not be seeing them, or might not have the number of people around to notice this phenomenon,” Adams said.

Another explanation could be the river itself.

“We’ve had a lot of high water this year, and that impacts water temperature and the quality, which in turn, can impact the conditions these insects need to emerge,” Malles said.

Whatever you love them or hate them, just know that seeing these unusual bugs, is actually a good thing.

“They are incredible. They play such an important role in the ecosystem, and they’re really cool looking,” Adams said.

The big mayfly hatch happend July 11, according to experts.