American shad are working their way up the coast. In New Jersey, some have already swum up the Delaware River. The fish spend most of their life in the Atlantic Ocean and swim up their natal rivers each spring to spawn. As you may recall, the numbers of shad returning to the Hudson River are so low and fewer younger fish are surviving each year that state regulators have enacted some stringent rules this year in an effort to help the population rebound.
The numbers seem to tell a somewhat similar story in the Delaware River, where researchers are finding more young being produced but fewer adult fish returning. In New Hampshire, the fish are fondly recalled.
“Shad is a fish you seldom hear of and not many New Hampshire anglers target it. But in earlier days, shad used to swarm our coastal streams during the spring spawning run.”
(The shad illustration is courtesy of TJN graphic artist Aaron Porter.)