Fishfly hatch hits Sabula; big one could still hit Dubuque - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Fishfly hatch hits Sabula; big one could still hit Dubuque

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DUBUQUE (KWWL) -

A massive fishfly hatch hit Sabula this past weekend, shutting down the bridge over the Mississippi for a while.

Crews responded to a car stuck on the bridge. It was stuck because so many bugs were on the bridge that cars could barely move.

Teena Franzen, a Sabula city council member, was on a ride-along when they got the call.

"I was thinking, 'I'm just glad I don't have to get out of the car,'" she said.

Franzen captured video of the entire episode.

But in the mere seconds it took the officer to get out of the car, dozens -- if not hundreds -- of mayflies flew into the car.

"It was probably ten times worse than what it showed, and there were sticky little legs everywhere on you -- disgusting," she said.

Dubuque usually falls victim to at least one massive fishfly hatch a year, but so far, things have been fairly quiet.

Mark Wagner, director of education with the National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium, says there have been about four minor hatches in the Dubuque area this year, but nothing that would stop traffic.

But he says one could be on the way.

"I'm still waiting for the first real big one to happen this summer," he said, adding it probably will come soon.

Although the bugs -- which come out of the water, breed and die within 24 hours -- tend to gross people out and leave a foul odor behind, Wagner says it's not all bad news.

"The good thing about them -- most people don't see them as good -- but the good thing about them is that it means that the water quality is pretty good," Wagner said. "If the water quality was bad, we probably wouldn't have any mayflies."

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