Fishfly season is upon us

Katie LaDuke, Managing Editor

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Greetings from Michigan’s favorite boat town, St. Clair Shores. I’m here to report that the worst time of the year has officially begun fishfly season.

If you’ve ever encountered one of these nightmares with wings, you’ll understand my detest for them.

Not only do they smell like the thing they’re named after, but they come in drones to attack any light source they can get their slimy little bodies on. Legend has it, if you’re on the lake at the right time, you can see packs of them fly out of the water.

Now, not every Michigander has to deal with these pesky insects. Fishflies stay close to the water, specifically the Great Lakes. Our waterfront neighbors I’m looking at you, Grosse Pointe and New Baltimore can agree that the cycle hits every year at the same time in the mid-June to about the middle of July.

For those lucky enough to have never seen or heard about fishflies, they only live for about 24 hours and don’t have mouths. Apparently, other parts of the country call them mayflies, but they smell like fish, so we’ll call them what they are. They tend to stay around an inch long, but every so often you’ll see a meaty one that’ll knock your socks off.

The most productive thing they do is cover ATMs to the point where you can’t even see the screen. They are somewhat strong since they can stay stuck to your windshield the entire ride home.

In my opinion, they’re useless. But, according to specialists, they’re a sign of a “healthy marine ecosystem.” I guess they’re a tasty snack for birds, too.

Swarms of fishflies can get so bad in the summer, it’ll look like it’s snowing whenever too many lamps or lights are on close together. The best is when your tires crunch all the way home when they cover the streets.

You’d think living near the water your whole life would make you used to cohabiting with these insects every summer. But, you’d be sadly mistaken.

My mom has been terrified of these bugs for as long as she’s lived in St. Clair Shores and has so generously passed on that fear to me. You might ask, “But if they don’t bite, why are you scared of them?”

The simple answer to that question is I have no frickin’ idea, they’re just gross and get everywhere. If you’re like us, stores and restaurants around town might hose down their windows and walls to get rid of the piles if you call before going down.

In my 21 years of living, I’ve encountered three different types of people when fishfly season hits. Those like my mom and me, those who are indifferent to the bugs’ existence and those who celebrate their arrival.

Yeah, you read that right. There’s literally a Fishfly Festival in New Baltimore with a parade and its own newsletter, Fishfly Fever. Obviously, I’ve never been to it, but I’ve heard you can buy chocolate covered fishflies there to eat.

Thankfully, fishfly season is only a month long, and they disappear as mysteriously as they appear. But, to all my friends living on the lakes, I’ll see you in August.