American Shad

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American Shad

American Shad
American Shad can be found in various parts of the United States.  It is a larger sized fish and is prized for its white meat.  The roe of the American Shad is also considered good for some types of caviar.  The American Shad is often confused with the Hickory Shad, that is a member of the same family but is found mostly in Southern regions.  The scientific name for the American Shad is "Alosa Sapidissima" although it is usually called Connecticut River Shad, Potomac Shad or White Shad. 

Range of the American Shad
The American Shad is native to the Appalachians but is located all along the Atlantic Coast.  It is found in both warm and cool parts of the country such as in St. Johns River in Florida as well as in the Great Lakes Huron and Erie.  It is also found along the St. Lawrence River. You can also find the American Shad in the Pacific and can run as far south as Baha and as far north as Alaska.  The American Shad is much like Salmon as it is a fish that spawns by ascending coastal rivers.  

Description of the American Shad 
The American Shad is a silver fish that has a single dorsal fin that is located right in the middle of the back of the fish.  There are a number of spots that will run from the gill cover and get smaller as they descend.  They are close in resemblance to the Hickory Shad except for the lower jaw.  Whereas the lower jaw in the Hickory Shad has a jaw that sticks out much more than the top jaw, the lower jaw of the American Shad is even with the upper jaw of the fish. 

The American Shad is a large fish that is considered to be game fish by fishermen.  It is highly prized by all anglers, especially those in the commercial trade because of the flaky white meat of the fish and the roe of the fish that is used in some domestic caviar.  The American Shad can best be distinguished from other fish by its lone dorsal fin, the spots running from the gills on the top of the fish and the lower jaw that is aligned with the upper jaw of the fish. 

Bait for Catching American Shad
You should use live bait, such as small fish, when you are catching the American Shad.  You can troll with lures or spoons.  Fish bait should be smaller sized fish such as small herring or sardines.  Feathered jigs can also be used to fish for the American Shad - Shad Darts are popular amoung fishermen targeting the American Shad.

Fishing Techniques for American Shad
American Shad is a game fish and considered the "Poor Man's Tarpon". You will need to use a strong rod and reel as well as a strong hook if you are going to catch American Shad.  You should also have a net handy so that you can help get the fish out of the water once you have hooked him. The fishing techniques depend on where you are trying to catch the American Shad.  Popular techniques are: trolling, live bait or feather jigs (also known as "Shad Darts").

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