Shad Fishing (Alosa sapidissima)

All Tackle Record
11lbs, 4oz

Shad Fishing (Alosa sapidissima)

Shad are sometimes referred to as "freshwater Tarpon". Although their aerials are present, they don't come close to those of the mighty Silver King. However, Shad have the advantage of tasting great.

How big

These fish are on the smaller side and are rarely caught over 5lbs. The catch size differs in every waterway that hosts them.


The species is native to rivers along the Atlantic coast east of the Appalachian mountains, from St. Lawrence River (including Lakes Huron and Eerie) to St. John's River, FL. It has been introduced to the Pacific Northwest successfully and thrives in freshwater fisheries from the Columbia River to the Sacramento River.

Shad travel upstream to spawn April through June when the water temperatures reach about 60°F.

How to catch

The species is commonly caught on special jigs called Shad darts. Flutter spoons also work well. These are set up on a downrigger, which lowers them to the bottom of the river, where Shad are most often found. Alternatives are slow trolling or drift casting with the lures. Fly fishing is known to work well, too.

Good to eat?

Shad are bony, but their flesh is delicious. Roe is often harvested from pregnant females and consumed as a caviar substitute.