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Do you want to learn how to catch more Shad? Are you looking for shad fishing tips to improve your fishing skills? Shad are considered overgrown members of the herring family. They are a school fish and are found in large groups. In this article, we share shad fishing tips to help you catch more shad.

Shad Fishing Tips
Shad Fishing Tips

How To Catch Shad

1. Cast Net

Cast nets are one of the popular ways to catch shad.  Check the fishing laws in the area to be sure it is legal to use cast nets when fishing for shad. You can cast a net from a boat or from the shore. To get good at casting nets for shad, you will have to put in some amount of practice.

2. Casting

Casting can also be used to catch shad although casting nets is arguably the most productive way. You can use a light fishing rod and lures to catch shad from the shore.

Shad Fishing Tackle

A lightweight fishing rod with a 6 to 8-pound test will work for catching shad.

How To Catch Shad From The Bank

When fishing for shad from the bank, look around rocks, jetties, and other structures that provide shelter from the current. Shad come close to the shore which makes it easy to fish for them to stand on shore or in a boat that is close to the shore.

Use spoons, jigs, spinners, and shad darts underneath a slip bobber when fishing for shad. Shiny lures will bring the best results when fishing for shad. Spring is one of the best times to target them. Casting, jigging, still fishing and night fishing are some of the fishing methods used to catch shad. Shad is a schooling fish. When you locate one, you can catch many of them by following the school all day.

Shad move upriver in lanes and you can find the lanes by varying your casting distance, the distance you cast upstream or downstream, and where you are standing on the shore.

Casting, drifting fishing, bottom fishing, trolling, and using cast nets are some of the ways to fish for shad. Casting nets is regarded as the best way to catch shad.

Shad Fishing Rigs

A simple and effective rig for shad involves attaching a 3-way swivel to your line. Then connect a 3- to 4-foot leader to one loop and the lute. Add a 2 ft dropper line with the weight and drop it to the bottom.

How To Catch Shad In The Winter

During the winter, it is harder to find shad as they go to deeper waters. Many of them die during winter as they struggle with the cold weather. Shad can be found in deep holes in the river and you will see that on the fish finder.

When fishing for shad during the winter, use a fish finder to help you locate them. When you find shad, use a cast net. Use the trolling motor to keep up with the school.

How To Catch Shad In The Summer

When fishing for shad during the summer, one of the best times to catch them is very early in the morning or late in the evening when the sun is going down. Look for shad early in the morning around boat ramps, coves, and the shallow waters. Shad will be found in shallow water to escape predators early in the morning.

When looking for shad early morning or late in the evening, look for activity on the water surface.
They will come alive at the surface where bugs may be present as the sun fades away. Casting nets and drifting are some of the best ways to catch shad during the summer.

How To Catch Shad In A River

When fishing for shad in a river, it is important that you find where they are located. Use a fish finder to pinpoint their location. Most shad will go to deeper water, ranging from 5 to 20 feet, in a river. Vary the depths and observe the travel lanes that other anglers are having success in catching shad.

Casting a net is the best way to catch shad and late evening as the sunlight is fading is the best time to fish for shad. However, trolling, drift fishing, and night fishing can also be used when fishing for shad.

How To Catch Shad With A Cast Net

Casting a net is by far the best way to catch shad. Casting a net requires the right net, practicing how to throw the cast net until you get good with the technique, and casting the net in the right area. Use a fish finder to locate shad and then throw your cast net to catch them.

Spend some time practicing how to properly throw a cast net. You can practice in your yard to become familiar with throwing a cast net. When you are familiar with throwing a net, you can get on the water and continue casting the net and improving your technique.

How To Catch Shad Without A Cast Net

Although the best way to catch shad is with a net, you can also catch them without using a cast net. You can fish for them using your rod lures, and baits. The best time to catch shad is early morning and late evening when they can be found closer to the shore. Additionally, spring and summer are the best times to go fishing for shad.

Spoons, jigs, spinners, and shad darts underneath a slip bobber are used when fishing for shad with your fishing rod. When you get them hooked, reel them in quickly. Casting, trolling, drift fishing, still fishing, and night fishing can be used when fishing for shad.

How To Catch Shad In The Delaware River

When fishing for shad in the Delaware River, most anglers use lures and shad darts. They match the shad darts to the conditions of the Delaware River. Use big and bright darts when the water is high and stained. When it is low and clear, use small and bright darts.

Additionally, make sure the weight on your line is enough to get the lure as close to the bottom. A split shot is good to add to your line when fishing for shad to get the line to the bottom.

Shad move upriver in travel lanes following structure or water currents. Therefore, getting your shad darts in the lanes is crucial to catching shad.

Shad Fishing Tips

1. Coastal rivers are where you want to fish for Shad.

2. The best time to fish for Shad is during the spring and summer when they return to the rivers. Fish in the spring and summer. Shad spend their autumns and winters in the ocean, so the best time to fish them is during the spring and summer when they return to the rivers for much easier access. Most people begin fishing Shad in April and May.

3. Fish where there is a strong current. Position yourself so you face the current. This allows you to catch the fish as they swim upstream. Be on the lookout for areas where there is a bend in the river as the current will be faster there and it will propel the fish toward the shore.

4. Look for shad below rocks, islands, and where water flows from fast to slow. Shad can also be found behind a cover that creates a break in the current.

5. Check out the fishing guides for the body of water you intend to fish to determine where to set up. You can catch shad in areas where the water is no more than 10 feet deep and no less than 4 feet deep.

Fishing Shad For Beginners
Fishing Shad For Beginners

6. You don’t need a heavy rod to catch shad. Opt for a lightweight rod and line. A long, lightweight spinning or fly rod in fiberglass will be a good choice. Use the lightest line that you can find.

7. To make it easy to release other fish that you are not looking to catch, use barbless hooks.

8. Study the patterns of shad. Its location in the water varies with the weather patterns. Search for shad in the early morning or right before daylight during the spring and summer. In the evenings, you can find shad in warmer water towards the back of a cove or creek.

You will also find shad around light sources in the mornings or after dark. You will have to plan around cold weather patterns in the fall. Shad will be pushed out of the creeks and coves to deeper water by colder currents making it more difficult to catch shad.

9. Casting upstream and letting your line float downstream with little current is the best way to fish shad.

10. Shad travel in single file lines and not in large groups. Do everything to find the line.

Ideas For Shad Fishing
Ideas For Shad Fishing

11. When you find the shad line, keep fishing it. Cast in the same place more than one time. If you found one shad, there are many more in that area.

12. Shad swim close to the shore, usually within 30 to 45 feet of land. This makes it ideal for bank anglers although it is easier for boaters who can occupy the migration lanes.

13. Find out what depth and locations shad are running and work with that information to fish shad. If you find yourself fishing just outside the migration lane, there is a good chance that you will miss out.

14. The best fishing time for shad is just before dark according to most anglers.

Shad Fishing Ideas
Shad Fishing Ideas

15. You will have a good chance of targeting shad in shallower water or up off the bottom on overcast days.

16. You will have to incite a strike from shad when they spawn since they don’t feed when spawning. Casting shad darts and crappie jig heads in bright colors like chartreuse and green might get the strike for the shad.

17. Shad will go into deeper waters to avoid the sunlight when it is clear and sunny.

18. When shad spawn, you may encounter salmon fishing in the same areas. It will be good to check for any current restrictions and regulations regarding salmon and shad for the river you want to fish in.

19. You should know that shad don’t actively feed in freshwater.

20. Small, artificial lures such as jigs, spoons, spinners, and similar lures are the best bait for American shad. Shiny or bright-colored lures are the best to use.

Fishing For Shad
Fishing For Shad

21. If the fish are running, chucking lures from a boat or from the shore will almost always produce results.

22. Shad travel in schools. If you find a school, follow it and the reward is that you will catch fish all day.

23. If you found schools and learned where they will pass during their migrations, you can set up in that area. You might not have to wait long for results.

24. Set your rod up with a 6- to 12-pound test and use lures or hooks around a 1 or a 1/0 size.

Shad Fishing Tips And Tricks
Shad Fishing Tips And Tricks

25. Shad tend to linger in the slow-to-mid-flow sections and will hang out deeper in the water when it is dark.

26. Target areas below obstructions on major rivers.

27. Lures that are cast from boats work well.

Shad Fishing Tricks
Shad Fishing Tricks

28. Let the lure or jig drift along and then “dangle” at the end of the line. This is a popular strategy deployed on the northeastern coast.

29. Good places to search for shad are where streams and small rivers flow into the main river. The mouths and shoals of these intersecting inlets create estuaries for them to spawn.

30. Other areas to search for shad are deep, slow pools. During the day when it is hot, they will take refuge in these slow pools. They can also be attracted to long, uniform flats with slow to moderate currents.

31. The final hour of daylight is when shad go all out to eat whatever they can find. They will get even more frantic as the sun fades away and it gets darker. Then all of a sudden as it will all go dead as the night comes in. They get into a spawning mode when the sunlight goes away. They won’t bite even though you see them moving around under the surface after dark.

Tips For Shad Fishing
Tips For Shad Fishing

Best Shad Live Baits

1. Shrimp

Shrimps work well as bait for many fish including Shad.

2. Worms

Worms are a good bait for catching many fish including Shad.

3. Plankton

Plankton are eaten by baitfish and game fish eat baitfish. Therefore, if you want to catch game fish like Shad, then target areas with plankton where baitfish will go to eat plankton. You will find Shad there preying on baitfish.

4. Fish Eggs

Fish eggs are a very good bait to catch Shad. This is one of the best shad fishing tips to remember.

5. Minnows

Minnows is a schooling fish that work very well as bait for Shad.

6. Grubs

Grubs are also good bait for Shad.

Shad Fishing
Shad Fishing

Best Artificial Baits For Shad

1. Shad Darts

Shad darts are very effective in attracting and catching weakfish as they mimic microorganisms and very small baits.

2. Spoons

Spoons work well as bait for Shad.

3. Curl Tail Grubs

Curl tail grubs are effective as bait for Shad fishing.

What is the best way to catch shad?
The best way to catch shad is by using baits and lures.
Are shad good to eat
Shad is a great fish to eat and it is healthy for you.
How big do shad get?
Shad can grow to a length of about 29.9 inches.
Where is shad in a river?
You can find shad around structures, where the current is high and there is moving water, river bends, etc.
What do shad fish taste like?
Shad has a sardine-like flavor that is sweet, salty, and freshly fishy.

The Bottom Line

Shad are a schooling fish. When you find one, there will be a whole bunch nearby. If you want to learn how to catch more shad, then the shad fishing tips shared in this article will help you accomplish your goal whether you are an experienced angler or a beginner.

If you fish for weakfish, then this article on weakfish fishing tips will help you catch more weakfish. If you fly fish, you can also read this article about fly fishing with nymphs to catch more fly fish.