Shad season approaching? [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Shad season approaching?

04-28-2004, 02:33 PM
I was wondering if someone might have an idea as to when to expect the shad migration in the Delaware, and if there's any location east of there in NY that the shad move up.

Dble Haul
04-28-2004, 02:49 PM
FWIW, there are American shad moving up the CT River from Old Saybrook all the way to Holyoke and Chicopee MA. That being said, I can only assume that they are already moving in the Delaware.

Good luck if you go.

04-28-2004, 03:16 PM
Thanks for the information; I think I'm headed to the Delaware Saturday morning. Shad or trout, I don't care what hits! I NEED TO FISH :whoa:

04-28-2004, 08:14 PM

Before I left PA in 1979, myself and those I fished the Delaware with usually figured May 1st for shad in the Water Gap area and the 3rd week of May for the Callicoon area with the shad moving into the forks the last week of May. Some years they were a week or so earlier and some years a week later. If I still lived there, I would head for the Water Gap this weekend for shad and probably fish Broadheads Creek for trout.

The up-side is the Water Gap is closer to you than the upper river and Broadheads has a terrific Grannom caddis hatch along with a wonderful Hendrickson hatch at this time of the year. On top of this, you can have some very find smallmouth fishing in the Water Gap area.

Another possiblity would be for you to go to the area around Neversink. The Neversink for trout and the Delaware for shad and smallmouth. This is not a bad choice either if you want to stay in the Catskill/Pocono area.

04-28-2004, 11:27 PM
I took Amtrak to Philly last week and there must have been 100 boats gathered around one of the Delaware railroad bridges just South of Trenton.

I figured either Stripers or Shad - maybe both ;)

04-29-2004, 05:09 AM
The water gap is precisely where I'm headed Saturday morning. I tied a dozen or so small shrimp patterns last night in various colors, and will also be armed for the browns and bronzebacks, should they be present! I've never caught shad before, but know of their reputation from years of growing up in South Jersey.

04-29-2004, 02:33 PM

Instead of shrimp patterms for the shad, you should tie some very simple flies consisting of nothing more than a very short tail (really more of a small tag that sticks out over the hook bend) of either flourescent yarn or egg yarn, a body of silver tinsel, Estaz, braided mylar, or braided tubing, an a head/thorax of the same colored fl. yarn or egg yarn wraped around a set of silver bead chain. This will look a lot like and fish like the shad darts used by spin fishers for shad. We used to tie in chartreuse, hot orange, flame, and cerise. Almost forgot, we tied and fished them on #8 or #10 hooks, preferably stainless steel salt water hooks; but any #8 or #10 hook will do.

We found that fishing the fly above on a floating line with a leader of 10' to 12' (if using your T&T 1208, which I would use, use a 15' leader) with a 6# or 8# tippet worked best. Just fish the gravel shelfs, tailouts, or water just below the head of the pool (water between 18" and 5 feet deep, and simply swing the fly as you would for steelhead or atlantic salmon.

Shad are a great fish with a pretty soft mouth so you can't horse them. They look a lot like a very large herring and like to run and jump when hooked.

The water gap and the Delaware further upstream as we progress through May is one of the places I miss since leaving PA 25 years ago.

04-29-2004, 02:57 PM
Really? You'd use the 1208? I was thinking about the 10' 5-wt.; would that be too light?

04-29-2004, 03:05 PM

The 10' 5 wt would work OK, although it is a bit light for shad. I used to use a 9' 6 wt. since the graphite revolution was in its infancy in the mid to late 70's and the fast 10' rods were not available then. However, because the river is so large in the water gap area, the 1208 would allow you to make longer casts and cover more fish effectively. Don't forget, the 1208 is a light line 2-hander and the shad you are targeting will run between 3#'s and 6#'s. They will prove to be a fine fish on the 1208. Shad are a lot stronger than folks who have not caught them reallize.

04-29-2004, 05:27 PM
Well, okay, I'm willing to give it a shot. I've heard that shad are like mini-tarpon, and if they fight harder than their weight would dictate and get into a fast lane in the river I suppose the heavier rod would make more sense.
BTW, this will be my first chance to fish my Scandinavian 8/9 versi.