Annual fish fly hatch on Lake St. Clair picked up on radar

The National Weather Service tweeted a picture of the hatch June 18. The image shows dark blue patches, representing thousands of fish flies, over Lake St. Clair and the western edge of Lake Erie.

'But also, we do see birds emerge from local bodies of water'

Larry Chopchik took this photo of his driveway and garage covered in fish flies in Essex County. (Larry Chopchik/Facebook)

'Tis the season for the annual fish fly hatch on Lake St. Clair and Lake Erie.

Every year, thousands of the winged aquatic insects emerge from local bodies of water, only to hover around lights, cling to windows and walls, mate and then die — all within about 48 hours.

The may fly life cycle is short and sweet, about 48 hours. (Peter Houle)

This year, the hatch is so abundant, it's being captured every evening on radar in Detroit.

The National Weather Service tweeted a picture of the hatch June 18. The image shows dark blue patches, representing thousands of fish flies, over Lake St. Clair and the western edge of Lake Erie.

Meterologist Cory Behnke said radar starts picking up the hatch around dusk during the last few weeks of June.

"It's pretty common to see those fish flies hatch and emerge out of the bodies of water during the evening time. Our radar, approximately 30 miles out, is at a good position to catch the insects as they leave the water," Behnke said.

Behnke said it's not uncommon to find more than precipitation in the air.

"As a meteorologist we're interested and concerned with ... rain and hail but there are some biological returns," Behnke said. "But also, we do see birds emerge from local bodies of water."

The National Weather Service wesbite, at www.nws.gov, has a radar loop that allows people to watch the hatch almost in real time.

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