Shad populations have been seriously depressed for some time due to dam construction, pollution, and over-fishing. Today, efforts to restore the shad are underway and are substantially benefiting the fishery. As shad rebound they are becoming a very popular recreational fish for both light tackle and fly anglers.
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Recreational Shad Fishing

[Fly fish for shad]

Shad spawn during a Spring run. During this run shad are a very popular recreational target fish:

  • Shad can easily be caught on shad darts and spoons during the run.
  • Fly fish with weighted gold or silver flash. Try some fairly gaudy stream or bait fish imitations. Clousers and Crazy Charlies are popular

Fly type, size and color should all be experimented with.

Shad fishing may not be the first recreational target fish you think of, but they are coming back. Shad populations have been seriously depressed for some time due to dam construction, pollution, and over-fishing. Today, efforts to restore the shad are underway and are substantially benefiting this fishery. As shad rebound they are becoming a very popular recreational fish for both the light tackle angler and fly anglers.

Shad are native to most Atlantic slope basins. They are an anadromous species, meaning that they spend the majority of their adult life in the ocean and only enter freshwater in the spring to spawn. Each spring, shad ascend the east coast rivers. During these runs shad are plentiful. Shad darts and spoons, as shown to the left, on a 4-8 pound spinning outfit may be the most common method of angling. A favored fishing technique with darts and spoons is to cast upstream along current breaks and retrieve as they sink and drift downstream. The combined weight of a 1/4 ounce dart with a spoon will commonly get the dart down quick. Fly rods are quickly becoming a popular way to catch shad.

There are several types of shad [A1].


American shad (Alosa sapidissima) are the largest member of the herring family (Clupeidae). They are a deep-bodied fish with silvery-white sides and a row of dark spots along the sides. American Shad are a popular recreational target fishAmerican shad typically spawn during the night in shallow water areas over rocky bottoms when water temperatures are between 60 F and 68 F.

American shad feed primarily on plankton, but they also eat small crustaceans, insects, fish eggs, algae and small fishes. During the spawning run yet will readily strike shad darts and spoons. Increasing numbers of anglers are refining their fly-fishing skills for shad. One fly of fly of choice is often a small Clouser minnow with a flashy tail. American Shad are a very palatable fish and many anglers harvest a creel limit while others practice of catch and release.


Hickory shad are less palatable than American and thus have a relatively low commercial. They are an increasingly popular recreational fishery. The largest populations occur in the Chesapeake Bay and coastal North Carolina. Hickory Shad are usually smaller Hickory Shad are a popular Fly Angler Targetthan American Shad. The hickory shad is distinguished from the American shad by a lower jaw that projects beyond the upper jaw. Hickory shad typically spawn during the night in shallow water with a rocky bottom when water temperatures are between 58 F and 62 F.

Studies show that Hickory Shad feed on small fish, squid, fish eggs, small crabs and crustaceans. Hickory shad are fun to catch during their spring spawning run as they will strike flies, small spoons and artificial lures. Anglers typically fish for hickory shad as they would with American Shad both with light tackle and spoons and with the fly rod perhaps using a small Clouser Minnow or Crazy Charlie.

Hunting link outside of NCFishAndGame.comSome of this article comes from the NC Wildlife site.

 

Nungesser
Shad Dart 1/12 Oz
One of the most productive shad lures. Also good for Herring, Perch, Crappie, Blue Gill, White Bass, and many others. 2 Pack.
$2.49
Nungesser
Shad Dart 1/16 Oz
One of the most productive shad lures. Also good for Herring, Perch, Crappie, Blue Gill, White Bass, and many others. 2 Pack.
$2.49

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