Shad is the perfect option if you’re looking to try something new on your next fishing trip, especially since they don’t require much gear!

If you’re fishing for Shad, then there are a few things that will increase your chances of success. Shad fish is the angler’s top choice when it comes to choosing a catfish bait. can be found in freshwater rivers and streams throughout the world, but they tend to be most abundant near the mouths of big rivers.

Shad is an excellent fish to target because it’s high in protein and low in mercury levels, which makes it safe to eat.

Why You Will Love Shad Fishing

Shad requires less time than other popular game fish like salmon and trout to harvest which means you’ll spend less money and get back sooner from your adventure with them.

Shad Fishing trip photo

Fresh shad should also taste better without any “off” flavors attributed to longer storage times (which will happen when fishing for other types of fish). Shad fishing can be a cost-effective and enjoyable hobby for any avid angler.

Shad are also known for their strong fight when hooked due to their powerful swimming muscles.

Shad Fishing Tips

  1. Shad fishing is very popular in the Southeast and Northeast regions of America.
  2. Shad can be caught on live bait, artificial baits, or lures.
  3. You’ll want to use a heavy spinning rod with a medium action that you can cast well for this type of fish because they are often found near shorelines but also in deeper waters like lakes and streams.
  4. Shad will hit at anything so it’s important to have different types of tackle on hand when looking for them (live bait, artificial baits, or lures).
  5. It’s best if you target shad during their twilight feeding times which usually starts about an hour before sunset until just after dark.
  6. Try using a light-colored line – white works best!
  7. Shad feed during the day but are most active at night. Shad fishing is best during evening hours when they feed aggressively to build up energy for their long nightly migration back into deeper waters.
  8. Shad will often hit a lure as it sinks down through the water column and you can also use large baits like live shad or minnows to catch them on shorelines.
  9. Medium-sized baitcasting reel loaded with 20lb braid line if targeting Shad in rougher waters near deep rocks and points of land
  10. Live shrimp or fresh cut trout fillets for bait – these fish do not have scales so make sure your hook has a barb to prevent it from sliding out.
  11. Single hook rigs with feathers and bucktail jigs tipped with shrimp or live bait are another Shad Fishing Technique.

When Should You Go for Shad Fishing

Shad are often found near the shoreline. Shad will feed at any time, but early morning and dusk seem to be their peak hours. Shad can also be found in deeper water but will usually stay close to the shoreline.

Shad can be caught from April through November, but they’re usually only active during the warmer months of spring and summer when water temperatures are above 60 degrees Fahrenheit.

What Bait Should You Use for Shad Fishing

Shad feed primarily on benthic invertebrates like crustaceans, worms, clams, shrimp, and crabs so shad lures should have a lot of movement with lots of vibration – this attracts hungry fish that live close to the bottom or hang out near rocks.

Shad will also eat Shad Lures so you can use Shad lures as bait if they’re available and the water is clear enough.

Rigs for Shad Fishing

Spinning gear, 1/16 or 1/8 oz ball heads with plastic bodies or pink yarn tied in on the hook shank (I tie flies). 6 or 8 lb test line. Split shot on the line a foot up to match the current and flow. You can add a dropper shad spoon below the dart too. Some days they like the dart, others the spoon. I have better luck with gold spoons than silver.

Fly fishing guys tend to wade into the river from Falmouth Park in Stafford. Outgoing tide near sunset is often best, but sunrise can be good too. Once in the thick of the run, they are always around, though catching is still better in low light conditions. A gray day with drizzle can wear your arm out if you fish all day.

I’ll go with 1/4-1/2 oz inline trolling sinker depending on what part of the river you’re on with 15-20# braided as the main line and 10-14# fluoro as your leader to 1/16 oz gold or red spoons. If you decide to use strictly mono as your main line I’d go with a 6-pound test trilene but the braided line works better in my opinion with the casting distance and the strength. You can also try chartreuse grubs on a 1/16 oz jighead or a 1/16-1/8 oz shad darts. Tightlines!!