Cold water shad

Discussion in 'MISSOURI LAKES / RESERVOIRS TALK' started by powercat, Jan 23, 2007.

  1. powercat

    powercat New Member

    Olathe,Ks/Fish Gravois Mi
    Some questions about finding shad when the water temperature is below 50 degrees F.

    1. How cold is the water temperature when you find shad only in the deep parts of the lake?

    2. When you are netting shad in deep water how large does the bait ball need to be in order to be succesful?

    3. How cold of water temperature have you found shad in the shallow end of coves?

    4. Do you let sea gulls answer all of the above questions.
  2. GMC FishHauler

    GMC FishHauler New Member

    Waco, Texas, Un
    i can safely say "i dont know" to all of these!!

  3. dougc

    dougc Active Member

    01/01/07-Lake Jacomo surface temp 49 degrees. Couldn't catch any deep shad, only crappie. Later in the day, shad were flipping on top of the water.

    01/07/07-Truman Reservoir surface temp 46-47 degrees. Caught bunches of shad out of the channel in 35-40 ft of water. Bait was so thick it clouded the screen on the depthfinder. Windy and cloudy all day, never saw any shad flipping on top.

    Shad are highly nomadic, and the first to react to changes in the water. Even in the colder water, the afternoon sun can warm the surface enough to cause the shad to move higher in the water column. I would suspect that you could find them in shallower coves on warm days.

    And if you see the birds diving, by all means follow their lead.
  4. neocats

    neocats New Member

    The seagulls are a good indication af available bait, but not always for shad. I saw a large group of seagulls in Wal-Mart parking lot yesterday.
  5. catfishrus

    catfishrus New Member

    north carolina
    water temp 49 here and shad are still in 5-20 ft of water in the coves on lakes. havent seen any bait balls in the main channel lately. i have seen seagulls in certain areas working but i havent seen big bait around them areas. mostly small bait.
  6. Mr.T

    Mr.T Active Member

    I'm told that this year has been unusual and that shad normally aren't as deep as they've been (on Truman especially). The last several times I've been out, there has been nary a fish anywhere above around 25 ft or so. But I've also seen the shad down on LOZ in less than 20 ft of water, when the water temperature was the same in both lakes.

    You won't really know where the shad are until you show up and spend some time looking for them. Maybe they're deep, maybe they're not - use your sonar and they'll turn up eventually. If you can find and catch bait in less than 2 or 3 hours I think you're doing pretty good or just got really lucky (as in the case of DougC...)

    Big enough that you can get your net into the middle of them, I suppose.

    Depending on the net you throw, it's likely to be collapsed to just a few feet diameter by the time it gets down 20 or 30 ft deep - they don't fall straight down; the mesh acts like a parachute and the perimeter weights fall faster than the center of the mesh, decreasing the effective diameter as it falls. Smaller mesh exaggerates this effect.

    To maximize your chances, you should use a net with 1/2" or 5/8" mesh and at least 1 to 1.5 lbs of weight per radius foot. And a big net is almost a necessity - I wouldn't try to catch deep shad with less than an 8 ft radius net, though I'm sure it can be done with a 6' radius.

    But even then, there will be times that you know you threw right into the middle of the shad and still come up empty - usually that means you found a school of very small shad that slipped through the mesh of your net.

    Can't answer that one as I haven't really looked for them. But once spring starts to roll around, the back of coves will be the first area to warm up, meaning its the first area to get a good plankton bloom and thus it'll be found in short order by the shad.

    If you see the gulls actively feeding, go check out the area. But unless they're circling and swooping a lot and obviously coming up with something in their mouth, you probably won't find much.
  7. dougc

    dougc Active Member

    It's nice to be good and "lucky". Marty I'm feeling real lucky this year!:big_smile:
  8. theonecatfishbob

    theonecatfishbob New Member

    Wright City, Missouri
    I would rather be lucky than good anyday. I dont fish reservoirs much so I dont have answers for them. But in the Mo. river if the water is cold you just have to move around till you find them. Then remember where you were and what kind of water and area you were in. Sometimes if you can find the same situation in a different area you will do well.
  9. Arkansascatman777

    Arkansascatman777 New Member

    On my local lake the answer to #1 and # 3 would be 45 degree surface temperature. When the water temps hit 45 and below the shad will leave the shallow water and head for deeper channels. So I also stick to fishing deeper water and drop offs. But anytime the water warms to 46 or above I head for 2 to 10 ft. flats.
    on #4 I pay close attention to what the gulls are doing they will locate shad and feeding fish and tell you where both are.
    As for #2 I agree with what was already stated that a minimum of an 8 ft. net is needed and a good depth finder will make alot of difference.