Thursday, March 17, 2016

Has The Shad Run Started? When Will It Start"

I'm hearing these questions a lot. The answer is 'no' and 'I'll be happy when its hot enough that I need to bring a Gatorade with me."

Very few hickory shad have been caught this week in the Potomac around Chain Bridge. These fish are coming one per hour if at best. So no, the run has not started. We've had a warm week with lots of sunlight. However the river has hovered around 54 degrees. The lowest range of their spawning metabolism is 54. Cold rain and snow...are expected over the next few days/into the weekend. This is going to further drop the rivers temps. So no, the shad run has not started.

When the temps drop the fish drop back down river. They will stage somewhere away from the fall line, toward the bay. Once they drop back it will take a while for them to warm up and head back. One day the water will be clear and colder with no fish. That afternoon might be warmer and bright enough to get these fish on the move. By the next morning fish will be everywhere. That is what makes this fishery so fascinating. Look at your weather app, go to the 10 day outlook. Look for those days int he 70s. Give the fish three days of hot sun and they will be on the move.

I didn't see a single blue heron. There was a lone cormorant. When the rocks are covered in guano you know the Shad run has started.

When the fishing goes from one fish per hour to 30 bites, 15 fish landed, 15 fish lost, that is when I'll say the run has started.

Some say the shad come in when the cherry trees (which type? there are cherries that blossom at different times of the year.) Others claim the run is on when the dogwoods are in bloom.

I want to see herring splashing at my feet. I want the feeder streams to be full of herring. That is when its worth my time and my client's time to be out there. I want the water above 63 degrees.

ShadCam hasn't turned on yet.

As I"m typing this I get a call from someone who had their boat out today boated around 40 very big hickory shad today. Bigger than in years past.

Anyway, I think we have a few more weeks until things explode and you'll be hearing all about it. Just wait, we are almost there.

 Sort of a rant/answering a FAQ all in one. In the meantime keep tying and fill your boxes for the shad run.

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