I fished the Montague, NJ, area of the river for 5 consecutive days from Thursday, 5/26 – Monday 5/30 (some client trips, some personal time. Some full days, some half). Thursday – just 7 shad, the water conditions were still in ‘transition’ from earlier rains. On Friday – 14, Saturday – 32, Sunday – 16, Monday – 14. Water temps started out at mid-60’s on Thursday, were up to 72 by Monday due to this heat wave! Most shad seemed to be fresh fish with plenty of fight.
Beginning on Sunday into Monday, when the water temps were hitting 70, the vast majority of the hits took place in tree shaded faster water from 5 PM-ish to dusk. I didn’t see any spawning activities on the surface near dusk.
Over the five days, I didn’t get a lot of hits off the surface on micro darts as I normally do in the “latter part” of the season. The surface action really didn’t start to happen for me with consistency until Monday evening. Before that, most fish were taken either near the middle of the water column or just off the bottom, and that’s not indicative of a latter season pattern to me. All fish seemed to still be ‘heading north’ too.
So. . . if you still want to get out there for American shad fishing this year, then you better hurry up! Unfortunately, the ‘Great American Shad Run’ must ultimately come to an end each and every year. Then the long wait for ‘next year’ sets in for anyone who considers themselves to be a ‘shad nut’ (like me).