2 - 5 pounds
6" - 25"
The Shad (Alosa sapidissima) or sometimes called the American shad is one of the most favourite gamefish targets for anglers—especially for those fishing for food—because of its delicate flavour. It can be cooked in many ways including boiling, baking, frying, grilling, etc. Its meat is flavorful enough when cooked that one wouldn’t need sauces, herbs, and spices to create a sumptuous meal from the fish. Its roe (or eggs), on the other hand, are so tasty, it’s considered a delicacy in some parts of the country.
Shads have typically thin, silvery bodies with a prominent row of dark spots on their shoulders. They also have deeply forked tails and saw-like scales (or scutes) along their bellies. An angler can naturally find these fish swimming in schools in the Atlantic coast; though they were also introduced into the western coasts, particularly in the San Francisco Bay and Sacramento River system in the 1800s. And from there, this highly migratory fish species managed to spread in pretty much all the coastal lines in the US as well as rivers and other water systems from Mexico to Canada. They may also spend their adult lives in the ocean but they are also known to be anadromous, which means that they can adapt well in freshwaters as they spawn in rivers and streams.
Shads are social fishes and swim in schools. They don’t swim very fast going upriver and can only clock around three to four kilometres per second on average; although they do have the ability to dart fast away from predators. In the open oceans, however, their average swimming speeds can significantly go higher.
As for the average size, they can grow from 20 to 24 inches in length but can also reach 30 inches in length and weigh up to 12 pounds.
Shads can be found in coastal waters within two hundred and fifty meters from the shore during spring, summer, and fall. During winters, they usually go much deeper of up to three hundred and seventy five meters into the ocean as they look for warmer waters. You can find them on warmer months deep into the river systems as they spawn.
In the east coast, the Connecticut River, St. Johns River (Florida), Ogeechee and Savannah Rivers (Georgia), Potomac and Susquehanna Rivers (Maryland and Washington DC), Delaware River, Cape Fear and Tar Rivers (North and South Carolina), and James and York Rivers (Virginia) are popular fishing sites. As for the west coast, the Sacramento River and the Columbia River are known to carry a huge population.
Here are some helpful tips for shad fishing: