Shad Fishing

Warm water, salt water and more. Talk about it here!
Johnw
Posts: 75
Joined: Thu Apr 19, 2018 8:52 am
Location: Red Bank NJ

Re: Shad Fishing

Post by Johnw » Sun Apr 26, 2020 2:28 pm

Fishybig wrote:
Sun Apr 26, 2020 5:27 am
Have caught them up the east branch as far as fishes eddy and some yrs heard sightings in the lower beaverkill....
I saw one caught last year in the Sunoco pool on the Beaberkill

martalus
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Joined: Tue Apr 24, 2018 2:39 pm

Re: Shad Fishing

Post by martalus » Tue Apr 28, 2020 5:13 pm

Rusty Spinner wrote:
Thu Apr 23, 2020 1:29 pm
Shad run in water below 50 degrees, they just won't eat a fly or dart or spoon unless its more or less 50 degrees and warmer. Remember, American shad are in the herring family and are plankton feeders, so they are not even eating but rather striking at something flashy that mimics nothing in nature. That said, ample places to wade fish the big D if it doesn't climb too high, but water temps as of today remain far too cold to catch consistently.

I'm using a 9 foot 7 weight with a Type 3 sink tip line, a short 4' leader with 2' of 4X tippet attached to that (mine is 7.5 lb test) and weighted flies with dumbbell eyes. Fish run up the thalweg which is the deepest part of the channel and remain a foot to two feet off bottom. So you have to get down and stay down to catch fish.
The shad I was fishing for on Saturday were acting really strange-Even though the water was 10-15 feet deep, they were up in the water column and sometimes were breaking the surface for no reason that I could discern. The location I was fishing was perfect as it was this boulder encircled, swimming pool sized slack water cove, immediately adjacent to some major rapids. I assume the shad were making their way upstream and stopping to rest in this slack water. I caught fish up in the water column but did catch the biggest fish near the bottom like you said. I have read several more research papers on shad-apparently they strike darts/spoons/streams because minnows tend to eat shad eggs. Thus, they surmise that shad are reaction striking out of the instinct of protecting their eggs. I was actually the only guy fishing for shad where I was-all the other guys were subsistence fishing for white perch and were annoyed when they caught a shad as it had to be released. I did talk to one fly fisherman as I was hiking back to my car who was targeting shad-he snapped his 7 weight after 20 minutes of catching shad :o If you can time the run right, shad fishing can be a real good time! If you can get lucky like I did and get a combination white perch/shad run, it can lead to an epic day :D

Fishybig
Posts: 141
Joined: Fri Dec 13, 2019 6:43 am

Re: Shad Fishing

Post by Fishybig » Tue Apr 28, 2020 7:23 pm

martalus wrote:
Tue Apr 28, 2020 5:13 pm
Rusty Spinner wrote:
Thu Apr 23, 2020 1:29 pm
Shad run in water below 50 degrees, they just won't eat a fly or dart or spoon unless its more or less 50 degrees and warmer. Remember, American shad are in the herring family and are plankton feeders, so they are not even eating but rather striking at something flashy that mimics nothing in nature. That said, ample places to wade fish the big D if it doesn't climb too high, but water temps as of today remain far too cold to catch consistently.

I'm using a 9 foot 7 weight with a Type 3 sink tip line, a short 4' leader with 2' of 4X tippet attached to that (mine is 7.5 lb test) and weighted flies with dumbbell eyes. Fish run up the thalweg which is the deepest part of the channel and remain a foot to two feet off bottom. So you have to get down and stay down to catch fish.
The shad I was fishing for on Saturday were acting really strange-Even though the water was 10-15 feet deep, they were up in the water column and sometimes were breaking the surface for no reason that I could discern. The location I was fishing was perfect as it was this boulder encircled, swimming pool sized slack water cove, immediately adjacent to some major rapids. I assume the shad were making their way upstream and stopping to rest in this slack water. I caught fish up in the water column but did catch the biggest fish near the bottom like you said. I have read several more research papers on shad-apparently they strike darts/spoons/streams because minnows tend to eat shad eggs. Thus, they surmise that shad are reaction striking out of the instinct of protecting their eggs. I was actually the only guy fishing for shad where I was-all the other guys were subsistence fishing for white perch and were annoyed when they caught a shad as it had to be released. I did talk to one fly fisherman as I was hiking back to my car who was targeting shad-he snapped his 7 weight after 20 minutes of catching shad :o If you can time the run right, shad fishing can be a real good time! If you can get lucky like I did and get a combination white perch/shad run, it can lead to an epic day :D
Were all the shad you were catching that type?? I think some type of gizzard shad by ur previous pics....were there any American shad mixed in???

martalus
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Joined: Tue Apr 24, 2018 2:39 pm

Re: Shad Fishing

Post by martalus » Tue Apr 28, 2020 8:04 pm

I don't think they were gizzard shad as gizzard shad average 10-11 inches and all the fish I caught were 14-20 inches and in the 2-6 pound range.
They were probably a mix of hickory shad and American shad-there are some subtle differences which I can't discern. The main differences I saw were that some were very fat and probably female. Also some were quite dark meaning that they had been in Fresh water long and some were fresh and silvery, meaning they more recently arrived from the salt. Generally, the Potomac does see a mix of Hickory and American.

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Rusty Spinner
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Re: Shad Fishing

Post by Rusty Spinner » Wed Apr 29, 2020 1:12 pm

martalus wrote:
Tue Apr 28, 2020 5:13 pm

The shad I was fishing for on Saturday were acting really strange-Even though the water was 10-15 feet deep, they were up in the water column and sometimes were breaking the surface for no reason that I could discern. The location I was fishing was perfect as it was this boulder encircled, swimming pool sized slack water cove, immediately adjacent to some major rapids. I assume the shad were making their way upstream and stopping to rest in this slack water.
What you witnessed was physical spawning and the water you described is exactly what American shad need to spawn in. There's a formula for measuring shad spawning habitat that takes into affect depth and (slower) current speed where they do exactly what you saw them do, the nasty.
"A sinking fly is closer to Hell" - Unknown

martalus
Posts: 253
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Re: Shad Fishing

Post by martalus » Wed Apr 29, 2020 1:29 pm

Rusty Spinner wrote:
Wed Apr 29, 2020 1:12 pm
martalus wrote:
Tue Apr 28, 2020 5:13 pm

The shad I was fishing for on Saturday were acting really strange-Even though the water was 10-15 feet deep, they were up in the water column and sometimes were breaking the surface for no reason that I could discern. The location I was fishing was perfect as it was this boulder encircled, swimming pool sized slack water cove, immediately adjacent to some major rapids. I assume the shad were making their way upstream and stopping to rest in this slack water.
What you witnessed was physical spawning and the water you described is exactly what American shad need to spawn in. There's a formula for measuring shad spawning habitat that takes into affect depth and (slower) current speed where they do exactly what you saw them do, the nasty.
Well, that explains why the fishing was so good and why many of the shad were looking ratty and spawned out. Looking at a map now, I see the Little Falls dam is a only few hundred yards upstream from where I was fishing and that blocks most of them from migrating upstream to spawn, thus the few hundred yards I was in is their main spawning area! I think one fishing trip this season is sufficient and I will leave them do their thing. The white perch bite was even more nuts-apparently in DC there is no limit and the fish, while native, is season as a nuissance. Those white perch were probably eating up the Shad eggs.

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Rusty Spinner
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Re: Shad Fishing

Post by Rusty Spinner » Wed Apr 29, 2020 2:14 pm

martalus wrote:
Wed Apr 29, 2020 1:29 pm
Rusty Spinner wrote:
Wed Apr 29, 2020 1:12 pm
martalus wrote:
Tue Apr 28, 2020 5:13 pm

The shad I was fishing for on Saturday were acting really strange-Even though the water was 10-15 feet deep, they were up in the water column and sometimes were breaking the surface for no reason that I could discern. The location I was fishing was perfect as it was this boulder encircled, swimming pool sized slack water cove, immediately adjacent to some major rapids. I assume the shad were making their way upstream and stopping to rest in this slack water.
What you witnessed was physical spawning and the water you described is exactly what American shad need to spawn in. There's a formula for measuring shad spawning habitat that takes into affect depth and (slower) current speed where they do exactly what you saw them do, the nasty.
Well, that explains why the fishing was so good and why many of the shad were looking ratty and spawned out. Looking at a map now, I see the Little Falls dam is a only few hundred yards upstream from where I was fishing and that blocks most of them from migrating upstream to spawn, thus the few hundred yards I was in is their main spawning area! I think one fishing trip this season is sufficient and I will leave them do their thing. The white perch bite was even more nuts-apparently in DC there is no limit and the fish, while native, is season as a nuissance. Those white perch were probably eating up the Shad eggs.
Wow, that's a cool thing to witness and to put together. The white perch were gorging themselves on a high protein egg shake. And shadlings will feed the smallies and others for months to come.
"A sinking fly is closer to Hell" - Unknown

martalus
Posts: 253
Joined: Tue Apr 24, 2018 2:39 pm

Re: Shad Fishing

Post by martalus » Wed Apr 29, 2020 2:35 pm

Rusty Spinner wrote:
Wed Apr 29, 2020 2:14 pm
martalus wrote:
Wed Apr 29, 2020 1:29 pm
Rusty Spinner wrote:
Wed Apr 29, 2020 1:12 pm


What you witnessed was physical spawning and the water you described is exactly what American shad need to spawn in. There's a formula for measuring shad spawning habitat that takes into affect depth and (slower) current speed where they do exactly what you saw them do, the nasty.
Well, that explains why the fishing was so good and why many of the shad were looking ratty and spawned out. Looking at a map now, I see the Little Falls dam is a only few hundred yards upstream from where I was fishing and that blocks most of them from migrating upstream to spawn, thus the few hundred yards I was in is their main spawning area! I think one fishing trip this season is sufficient and I will leave them do their thing. The white perch bite was even more nuts-apparently in DC there is no limit and the fish, while native, is season as a nuissance. Those white perch were probably eating up the Shad eggs.
Wow, that's a cool thing to witness and to put together. The white perch were gorging themselves on a high protein egg shake. And shadlings will feed the smallies and others for months to come.
It was definitely a unique experience and one of top five fishing days of my life-number one in terms of number or fish caught!

Troutman
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Joined: Wed Aug 01, 2018 5:40 pm

Re: Shad Fishing

Post by Troutman » Wed Apr 29, 2020 11:06 pm

martalus wrote:
Sun Apr 26, 2020 7:35 am
Well, I got inspired and did a couple days of research on shad fishing tactics, lures, conditions and locations and it paid off big time. I was tracking water flows, temps, turbidity, and tides and was on the foggy Potomac at 6 am yesterday.

It took me about 15-20 min walk along canal and then through the woods to get to this rocky little cove adjacent to some class 3-4 rapids. When I got there some nice Salvadoran were already setting up for the white perch run on the other side of cove and kindly recommended me the best spot for shad and boy they were not wrong. The action was non stop for four hours with a mix of 2-5 pound shad-some were fresh and silver and pulled like freight trains, other were looking ragged and spawned out like the one in the pic. Shad have very soft mouths so I actually lost more than I landed, but I landed dozens. I also caught some white perch pushing 2 pounds in the morning. I went home by 10 am with my hands and shoulders sore!

I got my daughter and came back out again from 1-4 and we literally caught hundreds of white perch and some more fresh shad mixed in. There were more folks there in the afternoon for the white perch run filling up spackle buckets. It was the best day of fishing I have ever seen. I was fishing a medium spinning rod with 8 pound test and various tandem rigs of shad darts and spoons- my drag got a work out, but 8 pound test was sufficient and I only broke off one fish all day when it got wrapped around a rock. Unbelievable that this kind of fishing exists right in DC!
Congrats. Thats some nice looking waters there. Shad can be had in the Delaware water gap in NJ. Shad are extremely fun to fish. You have to treat them like crappies. They have that paper mouth effect
Was known as Troutman1

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