Are you interested to know how to target one of the craziest hatches that will make national headlines this year?

Today, Dave Zielinski is back on the podcast to give his best tips on fishing the cicada hatch. He will discuss how to predict when and where to find them and how to have success when you’re out on the water.

Time for some cicada madness with a sprinkle of boat building!

Show Notes with David Zielinski on Cicada Madness. Hit play below! 👇🏻



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(Read the Full Transcript at the bottom of this Blog Post)


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Episode Chapters with David Zielinski on Cicada Madness

1:27 – It’s great to have David back on the show after our last episode where we delved into boat building. Today, though, we’re shifting gears to focus on cicadas.

5:24 – Dave Zielinski’s book, Cicada Madness,  explores the timing, fishing techniques, and patterns essential for understanding and enjoying epic cicada emergence. Periodical cicadas emerge in synchronized cycles, akin to mayfly hatches.

Cicada Madness

Cicada Madness: The Rare Cicada Emergence of 2024

10:31 – This year, a rare and significant event involving two distinct broods of periodical cicadas is set to occur. The emergence is expected to impact between 17 to 20 states, spanning from the bottom of Wisconsin to the coastal areas of Alabama and Louisiana.

The Cicada Lifecycle


15:48 – Cicadas have a 13- or 17-year lifecycle, spending most of their time underground as nymphs. The adult cicadas emerge to mate, lay eggs, and then die, continuing the cycle.

The trigger for emergence is when the ground soil reaches around 64 degrees Fahrenheit and is about eight inches deep. This happens rapidly over a few days in early summer, when days are longer and the soil warms up due to increased sunshine.

Cicada Madness
Photo via

Success on the Water with Cicadas

24:48 – Success in cicada fishing hinges on understanding the bug’s lifecycle and emergence timing. Fish only start targeting cicadas when enough of them accidentally fall into the water, signaling to the fish that it’s a food source.

Dave emphasizes the importance of knowing where and when to be on the water. His book delves into detailed experiences and strategies for effectively targeting and fishing during cicada emergence.

Cicada Madness

Cicada Fishing Techniques and Patterns

27:19 – Dave’s book features 59 cicada patterns, including annual, periodical, and regional variations. Cicada fishing is often non-technical, favoring dry fly fishing techniques, although some fish prefer drag-free drifts while others go for actively moving cicadas.

Fishing near mature trees where cicadas congregate is effective, as they often get knocked down by wind or during mating flights. Target areas where cicadas are likely to fall into the water, such as under trees or along riverbanks, where the bugs lose elevation and hit the water.

33:41 – Trouts are avid cicada eaters and can consume them without getting full, making them a prime target during cicada emergences in trout waters. Carp are particularly enthusiastic about cicadas, despite being bottom feeders.

Other fish species, such as smallmouth bass, weird fish, and even catfish, can also be caught on cicada patterns, although their responses may vary based on factors like spawning cycles or food availability.

Cicada Madness


Cicada Madness: Key Tips for Cicada Fishing

36:34 – Cicadas are true bugs, belonging to a group of insects with beaks that extract nutrients from plants, similar to leaf hoppers.

Worldwide, there are over 3000 species of cicadas, each with a distinctive appearance characterized by stout bodies, bulging eyes, six legs, and two pairs of wings.

Here are a few key tips as you gear up for cicada fishing:

  • Research and hunt for cicadas in areas where they’re expected to emerge.
  • Be observant of your surroundings. Listen for the distinct sound of cicadas and watch for bird activity that may indicate their presence.
  • Use large foam cicada patterns without popping or twitching them, as cicadas hitting the water tend to lay silently, mimicking a natural scenario for fish to strike.
  • Understand the lifecycle and behavior of cicadas.
Cicada Madness
Dave’s 17-yr Itch Cicada

Dave highlights two favorite cicada fly patterns that you can check out online for inspiration:

  • 17-Year Itch Cicada
  • Chuck Kraft Excaliburs

Cicada Madness

Preparation Tips for Cicada Season

If you’re gearing up for cicada season, Dave suggests the following:

  1. Buy the Book: Get Dave’s book for brood maps and scouting tips.
  2. Online Resources: Utilize online resources to gather information about cicada sightings in your area.
  3. Reach Out: Contact universities and entomology departments for expert insights and locations.
  4. Talk to Locals: Connect with people who have experienced cicada emergence before for valuable knowledge.
  5. Stay Informed: Keep an eye on news articles and scientific reports to stay updated on cicada predictions and hotspots.

Down Home Boatworks

51:00 – While Dave hasn’t designed new boats recently, he continues to sell plans. Dave also offers free plans to schools and non-profits interested in boat-building projects.


Follow Dave on Instagram @down_home_boatworks

Check out Dave’s book:


Cicada Madness Videos Noted in the Show

Related Podcast Episodes

WFS 260 – Down Home Boatworks with Dave Zielinski – The Cicada Chaser

Read the Full Podcast Transcript Below

cicada madness

Conclusion with Dave Zielinski on Cicada Madness

And there you have it, folks! Dive into the exciting world of cicada madness with Dave Zielinski’s expert tips. For detailed strategies and patterns, don’t forget to check out his book, Cicada Madness.