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riverbasser

Finding shad

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I need some help. I'm on a quest trying to locate shad on a consistent basis. For you seasoned guys is this something you can do on a regular basis? If so I would love to learn since if you find the bait you find the fish. Been doing a lot of reading about baitfish movements and habits and it seems they move around quite a bit even throughout the day. On the electronics board in the screenshot sticky there are some good pics of shad or bait balls that I don't see too often. I just recently gotten a decent depthfinder but instead of just idling around for hours I figure some of y'all could give me some tips to save some time and make the most of my weekend fishing. Thanks in advance

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Attach a hook and bobber to some CRUSTY MONO and put a nightcrawler on...

 

They pop near negation a lot, also look at your electronics

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Birds and sonar.

Birds like Grebes that feed on Threadfin Shad are good indicators where the schools are and what direction the Shad are moving.

Tom

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Birds circling is a great way. Other than that look on deeper structure and if you see schools on a certain type of structure like a point or dropoff, look for others like it and also any other structure in that depth range

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Gulls are flight birds that dive from air to water surface, Grebes are surface birds that swim on the water surface and dive deep to catch small fish, bring the fish back up to the surface to swallow them. A Pied Bill Grebe is a small bird  half the size of a mud hen, Western Grebes are bigger about the size of cormorant, except white. If you see grebes diving they are on a shad school.

Tom

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Just like you are searching for the bass by finding their food source, understand the food source of the shad you are hunting for and you will find them.

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3 minutes ago, Molay1292 said:
3 minutes ago, Molay1292 said:

Just like you are searching for the bass by finding their food source, understand the food source of the shad you are hunting for and you will find them.

Care to explain this a little more? Don't threadfin shad mostly eat zooplankton?

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One example would  be when the lake temperatures start to cool down in the fall.   Many shad start to migrate to the mouth of creeks and then a little latter into the backs of creeks.  The water at this time is a little warmer in the creeks and support the plankton better so the shad migrate to where the food is available and the water is a little warmer, they don't do well in very cold water.   

In the summer shad live a pelagic life many times in the upper water column but they still have to feed on plankton, plankton cant fight current  and are often blown to one side of a cove or lake if the wind stays predominate.     Check the windblown sides for shad.

I am sure there are a lot of other examples these are a couple I can think of off the top of my head.

hope it helps.

 

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That is the kind of answer I was looking for. I wonder if there is a magic water temp of when they start to migrate to the feeder creeks. The fall seems like the easiest time to find them but I know there has to be a way to find them in the summer. If striper guides couldnt catch live shad in the summer they would probably go out of business.

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Threadfin Shad eat phytoplankton not zooplankton, the difference is phytoplankton is a plant that grows on nutrients in the water, drifts in the water column and activates with sunlight raising the plankton towards to surface. Zooplankton is animal based staying near aquatic plants, both can move with wind or current. Gizzard Shad feed on zooplankton and other tiny animal life. Threadfin shad move where the consentration of phytoplankton is located and have cover to hide in during the night. 

Tom

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