Anglers are reporting good fishing during Maryland's 2011 Spring shad and herring run. In rivers and creeks of the Chesapeake Bay watershed, blueback herring, hickory shad and American shad have been found in varying numbers.
Hickory shad numbers are up in several creeks, with anglers enjoying catch and release fishing. Shad and river herring (bluebacks and alewives) are often found together, with anglers catching multiple species with the same lures.
The exact techniques and lure choices depend on local preferences, but most anglers use some variation of classic shad darts or similar lures. These small, simple lures are fished by themselves or rigged in tandem.
Depending on the location, anglers may jig or cast for shad and herring. Fly fishing is practical in some areas and can be very productive. In other areas such as small creeks in wooded areas, tight quarters call for ultralight spinning tackle and simple shad darts.
Occasionally, anglers can fish from bridges, bulkheads or other structures that provide access for jigging. Maryland shad and herring can also be caught from kayaks or small boats. These smaller craft are often the only option as shad and river herring prefer small, moving creeks which usually contain a maze of obstructions.
Adding to the excitement are many of the other species found in Maryland tidal rivers and creeks. These include black crappie, bluegills, pumpkinseed, largemouth bass, white perch, striped bass, yellow perch, pickerel, and other species.Any of these may fish strike lures intended for shad and herring.
The spring shad and river herring run is expected to last into mid-May as waves of fish continue their spawning rituals.