Fishing for Shad on the Delaware River
Picture courtesy of Hobo Charters
Scientific classification: Herrings
belong to the order Clupeiformes. The menhaden, pilchard,
and shad belong to the family Clupeidae. The denticle
herring belongs to the family Denticipitidae. The wolf
herring makes up the family Chirocentridae. The American
shad is classified as Alosa sapidissima. (From Encarta)
Shad have made a considerable comeback in recent times
and offer good sport fishing in the Delaware River.
Freshwater fishing for American Shad begins when these
fish move from the ocean, where they spend most of their
lives, into the Delaware river to spawn. The timing of the
runs varies due to river tempature and conditions but
the months of April, May, and June are sure bets on
the Delaware. The run often lasts only 6 to 8 weeks,
and the fish tend to move in waves.
The American shad, may reach 30 inches
(76 centimeters) in length. All shad are plankton feeders.
However, shad moving upriver to spawn are not particularly
interested in food. Nevertheless, they readily hit small lures and
flies.The body is deeply compressed laterally and covered
with scales, which form a sharp ridge along the centerline
of the belly. The average fish, however, goes between
3 and 6 pounds. This is a very bony fish, and most anglers
prefer to prepare them by smoking.