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CatBoatSailor

Shad Run

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Do any of you guys fish for Shad in the early spring? When I lived down the Cape nobody really talked of it. Now I'm in northern MA and I've heard it mentioned in passing. On The Water had an article about fishing the Shad run on the Connecticut River a few issues back.

 

Part of my winter reading library included the book AMC Guide to Fresh Water Fishing New England by Brian R. Kologe. In it he describes Shad fishing in the early spring and lists a few spots in Essex and Middlesex County. Does anyone have any experience with this? It sounds intriguing and I'm eager to wet a line.

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Up in northern MA, most spots for shad focus on various Merrimac River locations as they ascend all the way up to Lawrence. This run involves the larger american shad (vs hickory shad which is also available throughout much of New England). I kinda gave up on fishing for them specifically (I used to fish the North River/Indian Head in Pembroke but that run seems to have petered a bit over the years)....however, when I fish for schoolies on the flyrod up at the mouth of the Merrimac River, I always catch a few as they're dropping back down from the spawn. The difference is when they're still up river spawning, they only hit out of anger or aggression. But when they're done spawning and heading back out towards the ocean, they school up and attack schools of bait just as stripers or bluefish would do. Last year, with all the floods and contamination in the Merrimac, was the only season I got 'shad skunked' up there.

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David Lukas that did very well years ago in the upper reaches of the North river and most of his fishing for them was at night in the pools. We also had a few coho salmon that would be mixed in with them. It is very sad that this fishery has gone by the way side, but who knows some day down the road??

 

I understand that some find there way up to the Springfield area The Connecticut river system and a few Stripers as well

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Angler, some actually make it even further north, though not in huge numbers. I see a couple dozen or more every spring when trout fishing the Conn. River below the Bellows Falls dam(and I probably only fish the Conn. a dozen times all year in a good year). Never made it down to fish what they call the "Holyoke Pool" section around Springfield.

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that would be the area I was speaking about, Decent excess but one still needs to keep an eyeball on the old car.

 

I understand that a few salmon make the trip up that far as well

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the indian head river shad run used to be pretty good, although its been over a decad since i last tried it...one night i had 21 hookups with only 3 fish landed...redface.gif

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I had my car broken into one time in that area. I had a jeep wrangler with the soft top and they cut it open. I guess zippers are too time consuming. They stole nothing, because there was nothing to steal! Well they took my friends wallet which was empty of cash. But he complained for months because they took pictures of him and some girl who he since hates.

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View Postthe indian head river shad run used to be pretty good, although its been over a decad since i last tried it...one night i had 21 hookups with only 3 fish landed...redface.gif

 

 

i reckon part of the problem with the fall off in that run must be the poor state of the fish ladder in Luddam Ford Dam, it was completey blocked with driftwood, cracked and leaking when i was there in september.

 

how they get up that to spawn in the lake i don't know.

 

it needs a good clean and and $$$'s on repairs.

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Excellent shad fishing on the Connecticut river in MA. The productive spots are well known and crowded, but manageable if you go off hours. Stripers also follow the shad up the river and one approach is to go in the middle of the night, fish for the stripers and then switch to shad once the sun is up.

 

Be sure you get a MA fishing license. With the crowds, the Environmentals are sure to be out, it's the only place I've ever been checked.

 

Like any place, it's beautiful on the river at dawn. I've seen all sorts of bird species (there's always orioles), beavers and had a mink sit on the bank and just watch me - And, this is all in an urban area where drugs and all manner of whatever are purveyed just a 5 minute walk away.

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Back in the day, I used to do a fair amount of shad fishing. The Connecticut was great as far as lots of action went. By my favorite spot was the Palmer River in Rehobeth Ma.heart.gif The Palmer was a lovely brackish creek that ran right through the farms of Rehobeth, all the way up to, and into the the lake where the shad and herring spawned. Besides shad and herring, it had a fairly healthy population of sea run trout as well. When I was 17 (1970) years old, I took the third largest shad in the country (7.2lbs) with a fish I took from the Palmer. The area was ripe with native pheasant, which you could hear cackling the entire day while you fished.

Unfortunately, like all fish in the herring family, their numbers are down. I'm told the Palmer run might even be dead at this point.frown.gif

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All great advice. Thanks to all. I'm going to give this one a shot this spring, providing we don't have a repeat flooding experience like we did last may.

 

From what I understand the Connecticut River is one of the major highways for migrating Shad. I remember an article in the April 2006 On The Water which covered this, and as others have mentioned it can leave one wanting for elbow room at times.

 

I'm going to target the Merrimack this spring, probably after I file the taxes mad.gif. I guess there are spots in Newbury and Amesbury that are popular. I'd like to try some places further up past Lawrence and up towards Lowell. I renewed my MA freshwater license this year when I renewed my non-com Lobster permit. The same book I referenced above says that the fish ladders at the Lawrence and Lowell dams have been effective and that Shad as well as Salmon have been tagged up into Merrimack NH. Cool!

 

I'll do some recon soon and report back here of course. Thanks all for the tips! clapping.gif

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I don't know who Tim feels about posting links to other sites???

But the Conn River Shad Assoc has an excellent website, which is always up to date, and provides some pertiment historical data.

If you'd rather I didn't post the link, anyone can feel free to PM me, and I'll send it to them.

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If anyone's interested, a good read on the natural history of shad and shad fishing is "The Founding Fish" by John McPhee. You can acquire it by interlibrary loan or Amazon (ignore the few PETA planted reviews). McPhee is an excellent nonfiction writer (Pulitzer Prize in 1999).

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The shad run for the Merrimack starts about the 3rd-4th week of april and continues throughtout the month of may dying of about the 2nd week of June. The main area where most fishermen are located is from the 495 bridge north to the Lawrence Dam and the Rock Village area-north of Amesbury.Last year because of the high water most of the shad fishing was wiped out or the shad were STACKED up at the Dam and Lift(NO FISHING AREA)Lowell area has been hit or miss the last few years because of access problems.If you are interested send me a PM around the 1st of may and we can hit the Merrimack or travel west to hit the CONN.My weapons of choice is 7-8 med spin with 6-10lb mono/floro,1/16-1/8oz darts,1-11/4in flutter spoons,small kastmasters Chart,Chart/silver,Gold/red,Chart/orange or red,pink/purple combo with a inline egg sinker 1/4 -1/2oz.Early AM or at Dusk always seemed to be the best times to fish these areas plus an incoming tide.

 

 

GOOD LUCK - GOOD FISHING

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