Sunday, July 18, 2010

Something's fishy

We had several relatives in town this weekend for a wedding shower. Saturday evening, we thought, "What better way to show off Dubuque than to take a twilight walk along the Mississippi River Walk."

Bad idea.

The setting was beautiful, of course, and we're proud of the development along the city's riverfront. The weather was even manageable at that hour.

What we hadn't counted on was another hatching of mayflies, or, as people in these parts call them, fishflies. Fishfly season is usually brief, and I thought the annual infestation was over.


I had never seen anything like the black swarms of fishflies hovering over the trees along the riverbank. (See someone else's video from a year ago, and visualize an even denser swarm.)

By the time we started the return walk to our cars, the fishflies had moved farther inland, causing our guests, including my 80-year-old mother-in-law, to nearly break into a run for the cars, constantly waving their arms to ward off the flying insects.

Fishflies (or mayflies) are not unique to Dubuque or even the Mississippi River. They can be so thick that they show up on weather radar (example below is just upriver from Dubuque at some unspecified year). But they are a rare experience for many folks. Unfortunately, I'm thinking they may wind up being the most vivid memory of the weekend for our guests.

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