White Miller Fly Hatch and Smallmouth Bass

During this time of year, there is a hatch of the May Fly, Ephoron leukon, which will dry smallmouth bass as well as other bass crazy.  If you pay attention to the White Miller fly hatch when fishing for smallmouth bass, you can match the hatch and catch more smallies.

White Miller fly hatch and smallmouth bass

The White Miller fly is the adult stage of the mayfly Ephoron leukon that commonly hatches in the Potomac and Monocacy Rivers in Maryland from mid-July to early-August. This mayfly is a tusked, burrowing mayfly that lives in soft, muddy sediments in slow flowing rivers. Eggs are lain in the river where they settle into the sediments for a long incubation period. Once they hatch, the nymphs begin to forage for food in the sediments, using their tusks to root around for food.

The transformation of the nymphs to the adult stage occurs in July and August and is quite fast. In fact, this large mayfly has one of the shortest adult stages. When the time is right, the male nymphs swim to the surface of the water and emerge as a light tan dun about one half hour to an hour before dusk. Almost immediately, the dun goes through the second molt to emerge from the water as a white spinner. This is so fast that the cast skin of the dun is often still attached as the mayfly wings its way to surrounding vegetation. The first hatch of the males is over in about 10 minutes. Then about one half hour later at dusk, the female begins to emerge. The legs of the female are very degenerate and she cannot leave the water. The males immediately fly back to the water to fertilize the females. Mating occurs so fast that the females do not emerge from the dun stage; they discharge fertilized eggs and die in a matter of a few minutes. The hatch usually goes on from 7:30 to 9:30pm. This is one of the largest evening hatches in Maryland during the summer.  Source

Due to this massive hatch, all species of fish key on this bug and will become very active.

The Hatch is on

The “White Miller Flies” are starting to hatch. This fly is the adult stage of the mayfly Ephoron leukon that commonly hatches in the Chemung or Susquehanna Rivers from late July to early September. In the peak of the nightly hatch, these flies give new meaning to the word “blizzard” because their large white bodies give a true snowstorm appearance to their enveloping swarms. This can be one of most intense aquatic insect hatch of the year and in years past would start from around 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. – but can be altered by temperature and water flows. During this emergence of the White Miller most river fish stop sulking about the bottom and feast upon them with reckless abandon. Literally, the river boils with splashy, hungry fish. The Smallmouth Bass crowd into the current seams that is their moving watery buffet and slurp up the flies. The most success is met early in the hatch, since fish feed so voraciously at the start that they become engorged and stop feeding before the hatch is over. Presently, I’ve witnessed this hatch emerging near Meshoppen, PA and it continues to move upriver approximately 2 to 3 miles a day. Flyfishermen have it easy. They can superbly match the flies coming off with a number 10 to 12 White Miller or Light Cahill dry fly.

However, this hatch is NOT just for fly fishermen.  Try an inline spinner with a small sized blade, and then attach a small white fly to the rear.  Source

Tie your own White Miller Fly


Take advantage of this brief window of opportunity to get in on the White Miller fly hatch and catch some smallmouth bass.  It sounds like a great time to be on the water.

If you don’t have the time to tie your own fly, this may be a quick, easy option for you.

White Miller Fly Fishing Fly


White Miller Fly Fishing Fly

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.