Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Bigchunk

Alewives

Recommended Posts

Anyone know the scoop on alewives, i live in nepa and fish wallenpaupack. Alewives are main forage, do they do a spring run up creeks and rivers? I beleive they do but not sure when and how long roughly. Any info apprecuated

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

i dont know about there, but i fish Smith Mountain Lake in VA several times a year and its loaded with Alewives. they come in the coves at night and spawn. We have a light on the dock we plug in and shine in the water at night, from spring through summer there are usually alewives that build up under the light. they seem to disappear come fall. we use the cast net and catch them for bait sometimes for striper fishing out on the boat but i use some night fishing on the dock too. i only seem to catch catfish on them though. i know striper and bass eat them too. an older friend of mine caught a 7lb smallie out of the lake about 4 years ago on an alewive. there are also shad in the lake but i never catch any in the net under the light. its always alewives in this cove. i suspect theyre at their heaviest in there in april, because mid-april is the only time i catch striper off the dock....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have never caught them in my lake but I have bought them and used them for bait... They are the main forage in my lake.  They are EXTREMELY brittle in my experience.  They seem to die in under 5-10 casts... Maybe I am doing something wrong but I began favoring artificials due to this.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't think the land locked Alewives and Herring run upstream like the river run ones. They'll spawn in spring starting a little before the bass and be extra active at night. By July they've moved offshore and the smallies follow them. I think this is the reason fishing on Wallepaupack gets so tough later in the season. I've had some good days personally fishing jerkbaits there when the water warms into the mid 40's. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have never caught them in my lake but I have bought them and used them for bait... They are the main forage in my lake.  They are EXTREMELY brittle in my experience.  They seem to die in under 5-10 casts... Maybe I am doing something wrong but I began favoring artificials due to this.

while alewives can be hard to keep alive, of course theyre brittle if you cast them 5-10 times. mostly a bait and wait scenario with them. if youre casting them out and reeling them in that much youre most likely drowning them

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yea I guess you are rite with the bait and wait mentality rather then casting 5-10 times. I also had a problem storing them in a bait bucket. They seem to die even if I keep them aerated and change the water several times. I've even made sure the temperature didn't get too warm. Am I doing something wrong ?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Alewives are not very durable. They can die easily. There are alewives up here in my neck of the woods. In most waters they are extremely plentiful. I have had great success fishing in areas where there are large schools of them. If the body of water you are fishing is connected in any way to the ocean then the alewives will run out to the ocean in the fall and then return in the spring as adults to spawn. They return in staggered year classes. The amount of alewives per acre of water can be mind boggling. When I am imitating an alewife I often have a lot of luck with spinnerbaits and chatterbaits.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yea I guess you are rite with the bait and wait mentality rather then casting 5-10 times. I also had a problem storing them in a bait bucket. They seem to die even if I keep them aerated and change the water several times. I've even made sure the temperature didn't get too warm. Am I doing something wrong ?

i wouldnt say youre really doing anything wrong, alewives just arent like regular minnows. they will die over night on you even if aerated in cool water. you have to have a top notch bait tank system to keep them alive and kicking for any long amount of time. so yeah, i guess they are pretty much the weaklings of bait fish...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What all of you are saying is true. They do go into the coves at night and go nuts. I fish the night tournaments there with Lackawanna Bass, and you can hear them at night in the coves hitting the surface. Sometimes even the stripers follow them in and you'll hear a cannonball sized splash near the boat in the dark, lol. It's odd, though, that a lot of times you can't catch much around the crazy schools of alewives.

 

Spring time mid 40s to low 50s is jerkbait heaven at the Pack, especially down the south end of the lake. Last year we used the old school Smithwick Suspending Rodgue and Strike King KVD jerkbait. I have a video of jerkbait fishing there last April:

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I tend to throw baits that resemble Mainebass1984 (small and pale)...

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In Raystown here in central PA, the fish will key on the alewives in the spring. They run a little smaller than the shad that time of year. When this is happening, you have to use a little smaller bait. Last spring, i was using the smaller sized x rap.  Couldn't catch em on the bigger size. Same color, location, and cadence, the fish just wanted the smaller bait.

 

Just a thought,

 

Jim 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I tend to throw baits that resemble Mainebass1984 (small and pale)...

 

 Ha ha. I am not pale.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

on the great lakes they make a huge impact, they do run up rivers in late spring, they're kill offs throughout the summer and we set up bottom rods for salmon and trout from piers Using them as bait.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I fished lakes with alewives in them for the first last year. I struggled finding good information about them. 

Do you typically find the schools suspended over deeper water or more in shallower vegetation? On lakes with a solid alewive population, do you find that the bass key on them more than say bream and perch?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I fished lakes with alewives in them for the first last year. I struggled finding good information about them. 

Do you typically find the schools suspended over deeper water or more in shallower vegetation? On lakes with a solid alewive population, do you find that the bass key on them more than say bream and perch?

 

 They can be spread out over vast areas. Typically up around our neck of the woods landlocked alewives are in deeper water in winter and during the hottest portion of summer. In the spring and fall they tend to be shallower. Ice fishing on Sebago Lake the alewives are as deep as 150 feet. If a big school of alewives is in particular area bass certainly do key in on them. Lake Champlain is a great example of that. You find a cove with alewives in it the bass bite is usually on.

 

I see that Ossipee is one of your favorite lakes. I have fished there a few times. Pretty good fishing. I do most of my fishing just across the border in western Maine.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 They can be spread out over vast areas. Typically up around our neck of the woods landlocked alewives are in deeper water in winter and during the hottest portion of summer. In the spring and fall they tend to be shallower. Ice fishing on Sebago Lake the alewives are as deep as 150 feet. If a big school of alewives is in particular area bass certainly do key in on them. Lake Champlain is a great example of that. You find a cove with alewives in it the bass bite is usually on.

 

I see that Ossipee is one of your favorite lakes. I have fished there a few times. Pretty good fishing. I do most of my fishing just across the border in western Maine.

 

Thanks, that cleared up a lot. Ossipee smallmouth are tough to beat. I started to venture into Maine mid-summer last year and thats where I was introduced to alewives. The fishing is phenomenal East of the border, Kezar quickly turned into my favorite lake. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The alewives that occur naturally (not the stocked landlocked versions) spend most of their time in saltwater. In a month or so (depending on where you are along the coast) the adults will begin to travel up streams and rivers to fresh water ponds and lakes to spawn. The newly hatched alwives spend their first year in freshwater. In the fall these 3" to 5" yearlings congregate in the ponds where the streams exit to saltwater. They then swim down the streams and enter saltwater. The fishing near the mouthes of these streams can be outstanding in the fall.

 

Blueback herring and alewives are indeed very similar. I once read a post or newspaper article by a biologist who stated that the only way to tell them apart definitively was to perform an autopsy on them. The stomach (if I remember correctly) is white on one species and black in the other.

 

Unfortunately the great herring (alewive) runs that I remember as a kid are all but a distant memory due to overfishing and pollution.

 

If you are going to try to keep alewives alive, I believe you need to use a circular aerated bait tank. As someone mentioned they have to keep swimming in order to survive. In the spring I knew some striper fishermen that had huge tanks in the backs of their pickup trucks. They used them to transport the live adult herring (alewives) to various locations to use as bait. They would keep the alewives alive for days using this technique. They also had pens in private creeks in which they kept a supply of alewives that would last them until after July 4th!

 

I have fond memories of fishing the Cape Cod Canal in the evening 20 or 25 years ago for striped bass. My kids would catch me herring for bait as I fished. They always managed to get soaked during the process. Great fun!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

  • fishing

    fishing forum

    fishing rods

    fishing reels

    fishing

    bass fish

    fish for bass
    fish

×