American Shad

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American Shad

The American shad is highly regarded as a game fish and can be found predominantly in the southern states of U.S.


You can easily identify an American Shad because is a silvery fish with a single dorsal fin in the middle of the back. There is a large black spot directly behind the top of the gill cover, followed by 4-27 spots, which are generally smaller than the first. Sometimes there may be a second row of spots below the first, and more rarely, a third row below the second. They closely resemble the hickory shad.

The most important physical distinction is in the lower jaw. In the American shad this jaw fits easily into a deep notch under the upper jaw, whereas, in hickory shad the lower jaw protrudes noticeably beyond the upper jaw.


There are different places where you can catch American shad. This fish species can be found in the east of the Appalachians along the Atlantic coast of North America from Sand Hill River, Labrador to the St. Johns River, Florida. Also, in St. Lawrence River to Lakes Huron and Erie.

The American shad was introduced into the Sacramento River, California and is today up and down the Pacific coast as far south as Bahia de Todos Santos in upper Baja California, Mexico and as far north as Alaska and the Kamchatka Peninsula, on the Asiatic side. Like the salmons, the American shad is an anadromous fish that ascends coastal rivers to spawn.

The following list includes additional places where you can catch American shad:

Backflow                                                      Outsides of Bends                      Schools                           

Dams and Falls                                           Drop-Offs                                      Merging Currents

Undercuts                                                    current Edges                Ripples, Swirls and Sprays


The following are fishing methods you can use to catch American shad:

Jigging                              Drift Fishing                                  Fly Fishing       

Surf Casting                    Still Fishing