Ron's Catch: Fishing During the Shad Spawn

No matter where you live in the country, just about every lake, river, or reservoir has some sort of baitfish that tends to make up a large portion of a predatory fish’s diet.

Anytime I am fishing a new body of water or traveling the country, I always put in some research to see if Shad are present. This can play a big part of how I target fish in the springtime especially if the conditions are right. Both Threadfin and Gizzard Shad are very prevalent in Arizona lakes and reservoirs and can also be found out West and in the most southern half of the country. Although you can find Shad further North, they are very sensitive to extreme cold temperatures and tend to experience large die offs.

Shad prefer to spawn when the water reaches the mid to upper 60s, and usually spawn at night and into the early morning hours. Once the sunlight hits the water, shad tend to push off and head deeper which is why targeting them early morning is when you can expect to have your best fishing. Shad like to lay their eggs and spawn on rock, wood, or other structures, so keep that in mind when looking for the right area to target when time is limited. Keep your eyes open and scan around as you are fishing; it can be easy to see the Shad skipping around the surface when spawning, and of course any bass blowing up on the surface can be a dead giveaway there are shad around.

Not all Shad spawns will happen at the same time. Just because the Shad spawn may be going on at one lake does not mean it will be happening at the lake down the road. I have personally experienced a great Shad spawn on a lake in Texas for example, and the reservoir down the road was lagging in the Shad spawn due to reduced water clarity and lower water temperature.

Again, once the water temperature hits that magic 64 to 69-degree zone, just be aware that this could be the ticket when fishing the early morning bite. Remember the morning can often result in some hot fishing, but bass will typically key in on the Shad throughout the day as well. They may not be as aggressive, but if you get around some feeding fish or locate an area where the bass have pushed the Shad, you can find some steady action throughout the day.

Here are my top lures for targeting bass during the Shad spawn.

  • Swim Jig – 3/8- ½ oz White Skirted Jig with a White Strike King Rage Menace or Yamamoto Zako Plastic for your trailer
  • Jerkbait – Yo-Zuri 3DB 110 Series or 110+ Jerkbait in Natural or Gizzard Shad
  • Topwater – Yo-Zuri 3DB Popper in Bone or Prism Ghost Shad
  • Crankbait – Yo-Zuri 3DB 1.5 Squarebill in Gizzard Shad

Check out these lures and more for your fishing season at Shoppers Supply Arizona.

Back to Top