Knowledge of aquatic food resources entering terrestrial systems is important for food web studies and conservation planning. Bats, among other terrestrial consumers, often profit from aquatic insect emergence and their activity might be closely related to such events. However, there is a lack of studies which monitor bat activity simultaneously with aquatic insect emergence, especially from lakes. Thus, our aim was to understand the relationship between insect emergence and bat activity, and investigate whether there is a general spatial or seasonal pattern at lakeshores. We assessed whole-night bat activity using acoustic monitoring and caught emerging and aerial flying insects at three different lakes through three seasons. We predicted that insect availability and seasonality explain the variation in bat activity, independent of the lake size and characteristics. Spatial (between lakes) differences of bat activity were stronger than temporal (seasonal) differences. Bat activity did not always correlate to insect emergence, probably because other factors, such as habitat characteristics, or bats’ energy requirements, play an important role as well. Aerial flying insects explained bat activity better than the emerged aquatic insects in the lake with lowest insect emergence. Bats were active throughout the night with some activity peaks, and the pattern of their activity also differed among lakes and seasons. Lakes are important habitats for bats, as they support diverse bat communities and activity throughout the night and the year when bats are active. Our study highlights that there are spatial and temporal differences in bat activity and its hourly nocturnal pattern, that should be considered when investigating aquatic–terrestrial interactions or designing conservation and monitoring plans. We assessed bat activity (using acoustic monitoring) at the shores of three lakes and collected emerged aquatic insects and aerial flying insects. Bat activity showed seasonal fluctuations, but it did not necessarily follow insect emergence. Lakes, regardless of their size or their characteristics, are important habitats for bats, as they support diverse bat communities and activity throughout the night and the year when bats are active.