American Shad


Color of back green or greenish blue with metallic lustre; silvery sides, white underneath 9 colors darken when fish enters fresh water to spawn); belly with scutes forming distinct keel; one or more dark spots in a row behind operculum; lower jaw with pointed tip that fits into v-shaped notch in upper jaw.

Where Found:

OFFSHORE except during late winter spawning run into east coast rivers, notably the St. Johns River.


Most catches 2 to 3 pounds; common to 5 pounds


Anadromous species, coming into fresh water to spawn; young remain in fresh water to length of 2 to 4 inches, then move out to sea; plankton feeder, but strikes small, bright spoons or flies; their roe ( as many as 30,000 in a single female ) is prized, the flesh full of fork bones.