I know it is a little early considering winter isn't here yet, but I am in the process of looking at next year vacation. Wife has to put in for her days off after the first of the year. Planning on hitting KY Lake with the wife and son. I would like to hit the mayfly hatch in order to hopefully get my son to hooked on fishing. He's been several times and caught some fish, but the virus just hasn't took hold yet. I figure my best shot would be to get him on some big 'gills and/or just some good fast pace fishing (i.e. catching). I am planning on fishing the Johnathan Ck area or if the weather is calm, crossing the lake to Sugar, Turkey and few other bays. When, typically, does the mayfly hatch happen? I know it depends on weather, but on average when does it occur?
My records show that the Mayfly hatch normally gets going good around the middle of June here. Not sure when you can take your vacation vs school etc but if you want to get into some of the best action on the panfish (bluegill and shellcracker) you should consider around the end of the third week in April and the last week of April. Typically both species would be bedding then and the action is very good on the bigger fish.
For example: On the third weekend in April this past spring I took a day off from guiding for bass and took my old military boss and his 6 year old grandson out for 5 hours for some of this bedding action. We came in with a limit of shellcrackers (60), all in the 1 to 2 lbs range. Now I am a bass guide and only guide for bass and only did this as a favor for my old boss and friend as he knows absolutely nothing about fishing and his grandson had been bugging him to death about wanting to go fishing. If your vacation does not work out for that time period, maybe you can bring your son down here on a weekend during this period. If you are thinking about getting a guide I would be happy to recommend some good panfish guides here...just email me.
If I had to pick a few days to go out and catch anything that swims, it would be the week of Mother's Day. It's always been a tradition for me to take my mother fishing on Mother's Day. Usually that's when the catfish spawn is rolling along pretty good. We stop at the bait shop and pick up about 6 dozen small minnows and then hit my favorite gravel bar all day long. Sometimes we're a few days early on the peak, and sometimes we hit it perfectly! Most times we get out there about 10 a.m. and stay until about 3 p.m., I would stay longer if it was my choice, but it's not my day to decide what to do. Typically we catch the fire out of the channel cats, along with a few shellcrackers and some fat daddy bluegill. Sometimes, we'll go an hour or so without a catfish, but then all of a sudden they will move in and we'll double up on them, and the action will get crazy! The cool part is that most of the fish are good sized averaging about 1.5 - 2 lbs. and sometimes you catch an occassional 6 lb+ catfish! Heck, mom caught a 20 lb drum last Mother's Day! Talk about funny, it was all mom could do to reel that thing in with her Zebco 33! It's a fun day and something I look forward to each year.
The week of the 12th in May probably will be pretty good for catfish, especially later in the week due to the full moon on the 19th.
It is hard to go wrong any day from mid april to mid may. I did not have a bad outing during this time in 07. I can't wait. Good luck to you.
My Best Guess for those KY Lake Mayflies would be the month of MAY.Just remember that unless you live there it's hard to actually fish the hatch. They may hatch the first week in May or the Second week in May. You never know as the weather is never the same two years in a row. It's probably water temperature dependent too. Eggs that are laid on the bottom last May have been growing as Mayfly Nymphs and they mature on a schedule a year later. But they must have good access to food and the water temperature and the conditions have to be right for them to hatch on time.And remember that there are many different species of Mayflies. Each one can hatch at different times. I use to fish on KY lake right after school got out and that was late May and early June. I remember the Tiger Lilies blooming along the side of the road as we drove to the lake. That was early June. I also remember fishing for crappie at night off the dock and seeing the Yellow Mayflies all over the place.I think that finding the bluegill's spawning would be a better thing to shoot for. Bluegill spawn in Late May or Early June. They like the water temp in the upper 70's I think. They spawn after the crappie usually and well after the bass spawn.
Send me an email and I will tell you where online you can find about the last 5 years worth of my weekly fishing reports...they just might help you select a timeframe for your trip.