Welcome back to the channel, LOL! It's time for my annual shad run thread. Buckle up, and let's roll...
I went out last Thursday for a few hours casting practice. I had stopped by to scout E. Barber St., but the CT River was too high, and muddy. So I went up behind Bart's. There were 2 regulars already there with their arms in a cast. Considering how mostly dry it's been, the water level was pretty decent, clear, slow current, and flat. No breeze to speak of, clear day, and warm. I didn't grab a water temp, but no matter, nobody caught anything, not so much as a nibble.
Sunday I was able to get out again. Same-same as Thursday afternoon up behind Bart's, except there were 3 regulars taking casting practice when I got there. Again, not so much as a rumor of fish, of any species.
Today, I played hooky from work, and went out for a few hours this afternoon. Once again behind Bart's. Surface water temp. was a solid 50ºF, and other conditions much the same as Thursday and yesterday. The weather was cooler today, with a little breeze to start. By 3:pm the breeze freshened, and became rather blustery. One regular was on the bank killing time, certainly not fish. Another regular joined us to make a threesome--git yer minds out of the gutter, LOL! Again, no fish today. By this time last year, a few shad were being caught, albeit not by me...
Soon, I expect soon we will see, or at least get a report of shad caught. On another note, my brother in Christmas-town, Penna. is currently scouting the Delaware River, and learning the nuances of that shad run. I hope to join him down there, sometime in mid-April for a weekend on the Delaware.
Your recon is much appreciated. It can be too long before the Shad show up in numbers. Catching them is like the lottery... you have to be in it to win it. I am thinking another week or two unless somebody connects big time. I am sure it was great to get out and enjoy the nice spring day.
George I'm so glad to see you back for the spring and really look forward to your reports all season long. I hope to be able to meet you this year. To give you a little bit of first-hand intelligence I happened to fish one of the local coves on the middle portion of the Connecticut River today and we experienced a few fish breaking on the surface. I was told they were gizzard Shad by one of the local kayak Anglers with a lot more experience than myself in this particular location. I was not aware that gizzard Shad came in in the abundance that they evidently do, as I had assumed that it was a species that did not have a very large presence in this state. Not a lot of gizzard Shad pass through the gates of the local fish gates monitored every year based on my observations over the past few years. However, gizzard Shad are an interesting fish and a welcome sign of things to come. If one anadromous species is making the move, certainly others are on the verge.
We also saw the first Osprey of the year, my favorite bird.
It's here Brothers! The best of the best times of the year...
Good to see you here bright and early in the season, no need to file a CTF missing persons report as in other years when you do not post early. No one else in my recollection has had that honor here. Personally my shad season still in doubt, but 4 weeks after MCL tendon tear, past few days have been able to actually walk a few steps without cane or crutches, physical therapy continues. Hope for sufficient recovery by mid April to be able to take out the boat or maybe fish from a chair at The Wall in Cromwell.
I will resume my shad thread and start on new on one shad tackle and techniques if and when I am able. For those interested in lead free trolling sinkers and darts, I make those. Also willow leaves and tin removable split shot as well. While not interested in being a business will help out those in need. So far have not found anyone on the planet making lead free bismuth/tin trolling sinkers, hope some else gets the urge and wants to corner the market. I will provide technical assistance.
Paul, I'm sorry to hear about the MCL tear. That'll put a damper on your season. Let's hope you are able to salvage some of it by the time the girls are in town. Paul, and the rest of you reprobates, thanks for the kind words.
Yesterday I went out behind Bart's after work, arriving a little after 4:pm and fished about 1.5 hours. The water level was down a little from Monday, and clear, but the current had picked up a little. Surface temp was a hair under 50ºF, at 48º/49º. The breeze was coming down cold from upstream. One regular had arrived just ahead of me and was setting up. We got into casting practice together shortly. Within 10 minutes we were joined by one of the next generation of shadaholics; so young, and already on the path to ruination...
In summation, we all took a fair bit of casting practice, but as of yet, no fish today. If the rain holds off this afternoon, and it looks like it will, I'll give it another shot after work today.
I was a part owner of a ski chalet on the upper Delaware River that we used as a hunting/fishing camp. Mothers Day was the magic time for roe shad to arrive in our area. We would fish from boats that were anchored upstream from a major compression point that would funnel the shad to us as they moved upstream. They went fairly far up the Delaware even from us, some all the way to Hancock. That run today is almost non-existent. Maybe they short-stop somewhere, maybe the volumes just aren't there, I only know they aren't in that area in the volumes they used to be.
Hey Now, Buck! Thanks for the 411. My brother lives in Christmas-town (B-hem), and is exploring the Delaware within an hour of his 10-20. I'll pass that along to him for when he fishes with his kayak. Tight lines!
I'll give you three guesses what I did after work today, and the first two don't count...
Up behind Bart's a little after 4:pm. It was overcast and cool, ~53ºF air temp, but with no breeze to speak of today. The water was down about 1'+/-, flat, clear with a tepid current, and the surface temp. about 47ºF. The current picked up a smidge within an hour, but could have been better. On my second cast, one of the regulars pulled up, the only one to join me today. We put our arms in a cast for the next 1.5 hours before I left to get my supper while he continued fishing. No fish today.
If you don't remember my preferred setup, or you're new to this screed:
Tackle: Rod: one-piece Ugly Stik, 4'6" U/L Pro Reel: Penn 4200 SS, spooled with 15# Power Pro (Hi-Viz Yellow)
Terminal Tackle: 5/8 oz drail over a 3', 8# flouro leader, and willow leaves in whatever color I feel like, or someone else is catching shad with, or I have left...
We've been throwing the rainbow (of willow leaf colors) at them, all for naught. Thus far. I'll post up what works when the darlings put the bite on. Gotta get the ears checked after work tomorrow, so I won't be out again until Friday.
No Fish, to be more specific, the Chalet was in Masthope which is just above the junction of the Delaware River and the Lackawaxen River in Lackawaxen Pa. This is quite a bit north (upstream) from the Bethlehem area. There is a boat launch in Lackawaxen Pa. and our Chalet ski community had its own launch further upstream where I launched my boat and then ran the rapids upstream to a slow stretch above a compression point. Closer to him is my old shad fishing spots in Jersey when I was growing up there in the late 50s and 60s. Again, you are looking for compression points or funnels. The Delaware is too wide for simple blind casting, you need a shore spot where the shoreline is one side of a compression point with a gravel bar on the other. My Jersey spot was in the old Worthington Tract a few miles upstream from the Delaware Water Gap bridge. This used to be an exclusive private hunting preserve but when the Pa., Jersey, and the Feds were buying up land just above the bridge for the Tocks Island dam to dam up the Delaware they bought the Worthington Tract and turned it into Worthington State Forest. This area is one of the best deer and bear spots in Jersey. Fortunately the dam was never built and miles of Pa. and NJ shoreline from the Water Gap Bridge upstream to Port Jervis NJ and Milford Pa. is open to the public and is literally over 66,000 acres just in the National Park section excluding lands owned by Jersey and Pa. So my spot was known as The Steps. The Steps were cement stairs that went from a long gone cabin down to the shore of the river. This is now public land. It is located somewhere between the Water Gap bridge on Rt. 80 and the confluence of the Flatbrook creek on the Jersey side with the Delaware. During shad season the Steps will be found by checking out the parked cars, walking in, and asking where The Steps are located. Or if they are catching at his spot just fish there. But The Steps were home base for Jersey's best shad fishermen. That should be your Brother's upper boundry. Below is an article about shad and their yearly wanderings.
Another article high-lights the best spots on the Delaware from the tidal section all the way to the Hancock area at the junction of the west and east branches of the Delaware system. It includes my Lackawaxen spots.
Another map of the Worthington State Forest may show where The Steps are located. From the Water Gap Bridge go north on Old Mine Road. The map will show the words for Pa. and Jersey and just north of the words are the words Smithfield Beach in Pa. and Raccoon Ridge in NJ. Draw a line between Smithfield and Raccoon and at that point in the river, go north and Old Mine Road is close to the river. I think it was in this stretch where there were cabins that were removed when the Tocks Island project was being planned but The Steps remain. Notice that river offers nice compression spots in this section that extends north to the big island in the river. Copy/Paste the below link in the address line and hit enter. https://www.google.com/maps/place/Worthington+State+Forestfirstname.lastname@example.org,-75.0991126,13z/data=!4m5!3m4!1s0x0:0xde5e558f7bad75bb!8m2!3d40.9974724!4d-75.0836631