It’s shad time once again! I headed out yesterday with my good friend Jason to see if the Shad are in, and yep there are in! Typically the Shad run goes from Mother’s Day to Father’s Day. The Umpqua and Siuslaw both get runs of Shad, but the fish are bigger and fewer on the Siuslaw. That’s not to say that you cannot have a banner day on the Siuslaw.
If you are going to give these fish a try gear and flies are pretty simple. I usually use a 6-weight rod, but a 5 to 7 weight rod will get the job done. These fish range from 2 to 7 pounds and pull hard, but you don’t need the big guns to land them. The Oregon State Record for Shad is 6 pounds, 6 ounces.
Pull out a shooting head, versi-tip, or sink-tip line to get the fly down in the strike zone. Jason was on fire for a while with an intermediate line, so anything can go. Flies are a size 4 to 8 Shad fly in a variety of colors including Fl Chartreuse, Fl. Pink, Purple, Light Pink…you get the idea. I usually tie my shad flies with Bead Chain eyes, but Hareline’s Brass Eyes are a good choice as well.
Short Leaders down to 2x, and a down and across presentation are standard for Shad. The absolute key to catching these fish is to keep it in their travel lane. Shad travel in schools swimming through the deep slots in river. If you sink that fly and get grabbed, keep fishing that spot. What I mean is that you have found the zone, keep that fly in that zone and you will wear your arm out.
If you are looking for something new to try or are tired of waiting for the Summer Steelhead to arrive, give Shad a go.