Shad Fishing

Shad Fishing

Shad Fishing Introduction

Shad are valued as a sport fish. The male shad is an excellent game fish, showing multiple jumps and an occasional end-over-end; it has been called a “freshwater tarpon”. The pregnant female does not fight much, but is often kept for the roe. The current world record is listed by the IGFA as 11 pounds 4 ounces. The shad spends most of its life at sea, but swims up fresh rivers to spawn. The fish survive breeding and can return to the sea; they do not inhabit fresh water except to spawn.


At sea, shad are schooling fish; thousands are often seen at the surface in spring, summer, and autumn. They are hard to find in the winter, as they tend to go deeper before spawning season. When planning your next Shad fishing trip visit our fishing charter directory, Shad fishing guide or Shad fishing charter page to link up with the right professional fishing charter to give you that memorable experience you have been dreaming about.

Shad Fishing Locations And Seasons

Shad Fishing

Shad Fishing Charters

Native to the East Coast, shad were transplanted to the West in the 1800′s and have flourished since. Out West, the Columbia River plays host to the largest runs followed by the Sacramento River and her main tributaries, the American, Feather and Yuba rivers. On the east coast Shad are fished from New York all the way down to Florida. April through June is when shad spawn in coastal rivers and estuaries once water temperatures have reached 58 degrees. Fishing conditions typically improve as water temperatures warm and flow decreases. Visit our shad fishing guide and shad fishing charter page to find a professional to get you on the good shad fishing.

Shad Fishing Guide

Shad Fishing Guide

Shad Fishing Techniques

When they run upstream to spawn, shad aren’t programmed to feed, so there’s no natural food source to match when fishing for them. Spin anglers do very well with 1/2-inch chartreuse, pink, yellow and red/white mini grubs fished on 1/32- to 1/16-ounce lead head jigs. To get the jig down, splitshot is often needed about 20 inches above the lure. You can also run the same rig with small Dick Nite Spoons in the same color schemes. Cast slightly upstream and let the jig sink down to the bottom. You’ll know you have the right amount of lead when the lure lightly “ticks” the bottom. Too much lead and you’ll hand up; too little and you won’t get down where the fish are. A good outfit for shad fishing is a 6-foot ultralight rod rated for 4- to 6-pound test line and a spinning reel with a quality drag system.

Shad Flavor And Cooking

The American or Atlantic shad is a valued food fish. It weighs between 3 and 8 pounds and has a delicate flavour when cooked. It is considered flavorful enough to not require sauces, herbs or spices. It can be boiled, filleted and fried in butter or baked. Traditionally a little vinegar is sprinkled over it on the plate. In the eastern United States roe shad (females) are prized because the eggs are considered a delicacy. Ask your shad fishing guide or shad fishing charter captain for their favorite recipe and they will usually be happy to share one with you.

Shad Fishing Charters

Shad Fishing Charters

Shad Fishing

Most freshwater fishermen are familiar with shad – they are one of the most popular baitfish in lakes. Biologists stock them to improve forage base. While even the most casual anglers can discuss the merits of their favorite fish species such as bass, catfish or crappie, very few anglers have much to say for the lowly shad. Shad Fishing can provide a great day on the water for the angler. Visit our Shad fishing guide and Shad fishing charter service page today to find the right professional for your next Shad fishing adventure.

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