Finding Shad

Discussion in 'Shad Talk' started by smhmc6, Apr 7, 2008.

  1. smhmc6

    smhmc6 Member

    Messages:
    744
    State:
    Kansas
    I am not a great angler, but I'm not bad. I'm good enough to locate catfish in a new spot, generally. There is something that I kind of want to focus on this year to make myself a better angler. I want to get good at finding bait because that is really, to me, where I feel that I can make a step towards catching bigger fish. There are alot of times that I know I could do so much better if I could only find the fresh shad. So with that said, how do you find the shad??? I would like to have input from all parts of the country, but would really like to hear from people in the midwest. I assume that the fish do different things in different regions. I kind of want to know where to look at different water temps, different structure, fast current/slow current... pretty much as detailed as you care to get I'd love to learn. Maybe to help I can describe the river I will be fishing hard this year. It is a river that is on average 15- 20 yards wide, anywhere from 7-25 ft. deep (with some shallow areas maybe 2 ft.), steep 20 ft banks, lots of overhanging trees, a few log jambs on the stretches that I've checked out, and it has a mixture of hard bottom and muddy bottom and maybe a little sand once in a while. There are several train bridges so there are pylons... I know sometimes you want to look there. (water temp there right now is around 53-55 or the surface atleast). Anyway, I want to know anything and everything about finding shad, any time of the year. Thanks alot, I know there are alot of you that will help.:smile2:
     
  2. PHLIPS4BIGKATS

    PHLIPS4BIGKATS New Member

    Messages:
    2,679
    State:
    Alma Kansas
    Hey Steve. I bet I can guess where you are talking about:roll_eyes:! Find the slack water or slower current closer to the bank or by the dam right off the pad. At night where there is light bright enough to bring the bugs your best bet they'll be there, even Island park off both sides of the little bridge:wink:.

    Later,
    Chris
     

  3. arkrivercatman

    arkrivercatman New Member

    Messages:
    4,472
    State:
    KS
    As far as finding them in general you cant beat dams and slack water. When looking for them in a stretch of river observation is key. Look for them jumping just above the surface. Wait until you think that you have spotted them before you throw the net.They are very easy to spook.When river conditions are right you can usually see a big black glob moving around. That is a big school of shad.One throw can fill a five gallon bucket if you are quiet and patient.Also look for birds as they are they are the best fish finder that money cant buy.At a lake I usually have good luck near the ramp or in cove.Sometimes it can be a lot of work to get a good supply of shad but its worth it to have fresh bait.
    Be prepared to go through some nets.The river will eat them up.
     
  4. smhmc6

    smhmc6 Member

    Messages:
    744
    State:
    Kansas
    Haha, Chris I bet you can guess. I've tried that Island park almost each time I've gone down. The water was cold each time I tried... the last time I was down there I didn't try, but the river got to 52 or 53 degrees so I probably should have. I haven't tried around the dam, but maybe I should try there. Three weeks ago on my way back to the ramp to leave I though I saw a shad jump out of the water in those brushy areas close to the ramp on the upriver side, but it was at the end of my fishing day so I just trailered the boat without investigating. The main thing is that I probably have the patience to spend an hour or so finding the bait, but my fishing buddies probably don't so it makes it a little tough. Even if they would be patient with me, I'm not very confident in my ability to find shad so it might be a wasted hour or so. I do know one thing though, if I learn how to find them, where to look and such my bigger fish success rate will jump. In the meantime I think I will try some traps in a pond or two that I know hold a ton of blue gill... but shad has always been my best bait so I want to be able to get them.
     
  5. PHLIPS4BIGKATS

    PHLIPS4BIGKATS New Member

    Messages:
    2,679
    State:
    Alma Kansas
    If you go to the dam walk down to the sand bar right south of the rocks. From about 5 to 6ft out from the rocks from where your standing to the concrete pad it will load up with them. Plus there are perch, baby carp and baby drum.You are more likely to catch the shad when there are less people moving around down there. So either go first thing in the morning just before sun up or just before sun down. If the street light is on they tend to stay right there under it.

    Later,
    Chris

    P.S, Don't let your net go all the to the bottom or your gettin wet to get it.
     
  6. bobs bait

    bobs bait New Member

    Messages:
    1,338
    State:
    north carolina
    i live in north carolina on a lake we look this time of year near the bank in water less then 10 feet as they will be spawning also try around the bridges we put out a 4 foot green lite set back and wait they will come to the light threadfin and others have not caught many gizzards that way we look for them in shallow water also hope this helps bob
     
  7. smhmc6

    smhmc6 Member

    Messages:
    744
    State:
    Kansas
    I will go down and try by the dam next time for sure. Also, a green light was mentioned... well I don't have one, but that did give me an idea. Can you kind of bait them in with a bunch of crackers or something just to get them congregated? I guess that most of the time when you find them they are already schooled up so it would be pointless anyway, but if they were deeper or something maybe that would draw them up... any one tried that (I guess I should ask if its legal too)?
     
  8. JPritch

    JPritch New Member

    Messages:
    1,852
    State:
    Lynchburg, VA
    I fish the James, but I feel these observations could apply anywhere:

    - warmer water than the rest of the area. Whether that be a warm water discharge, or bank that the sun is shining on.

    - visual cues: shad busting the top, or birds dive-bombing the area

    - as mentioned, under lights at night

    - and here on the James we have great success finding them on shallow mud flats adjacent to marsh grass.
     
  9. catfisherman_eky3

    catfisherman_eky3 New Member

    Messages:
    2,296
    State:
    Kentucky
    good cast net is always good for shad
     
  10. Junior42

    Junior42 New Member

    Messages:
    500
    State:
    Catlettsburg, KY
    When thay are running get some shad lures and they are easy to catch.
     
  11. Storm27m

    Storm27m New Member

    Messages:
    92
    State:
    Wichita, Kansas
    Good thread. On a river I used to fish, we used to find a lot of shad in a little feeder creek that came off the main river. You had to get there before daylight or they moved elsewhere.