Saturday, March 9, 2013

Maryland Shad Fishing

Hickory Shad

In Maryland, fishing for shad is a springtime tradition. In most locations, shad fishing usually begins in March and continues into early May. Maryland anglers catch hickory shad or American shad during spring spawning runs. In some watersheds, fishermen also catch river herring together with shad.

Popular shad fishing rivers in Maryland include the Susquehanna, Gunpowder, Patapsco, Patuxent, Choptank, Nanticoke, Pocomoke, and others. In addition to mainstem river systems, a number of tributary streams and creeks are known for their shad runs, including Marshyhope and Tuckahoe Creeks on the Eastern Shore.

Productive shad fishing spots often occur along narrow, fast moving stretches of rivers and creeks. In some areas, fishing access is available within national, state, or county parks. In other locations, shad are caught from fishing piers, bridges, dams, dykes, or other man-made structures. Anglers also wade to catch shad or traverse rivers and creeks by small boat.

No bait is required in order to catch shad and river herring. Instead, anglers use small, flashy jigs, spoons, or flies. Depending on the location and other factors, anglers may choose to cast extensively or simply lower their lure into the water and work lures with jigging motion. Bridge and pier anglers often employ specials rigs which feature multiple lures.

In 2012, Maryland, along with most Atlantic states, enacted a moratorium on the harvest of all shad and river herring. Although keeping fish for the table or bait is no longer an option, many anglers still enjoy catch and release fishing for these exciting fish. 

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