Columbia River Shad?

Discussion in 'Fly Fishing Forum' started by aplTyler, May 13, 2013.

  1. Interesting, I'm not aware of much chinook spawning in the John Day Pool/Reservoir so I wouldn't consider it rearing habitat. Wouldn't most juvenile chinook in this area be passing through as smolts? Are juvenile shad consuming enough Daphnia to reduce chinook smolt survival? If so shad, as an invasive species, should be eradicated...though I'd like to catch a few before eradication commences.
  2. Are shad good eating?
  3. On the East Coast, they are very popular as a menu item... over here... not so much. Some folks smoke them but as we all know, you can smoke an old wading boot and it will taste okay. I catch and release them for fun. The crab folks keep them for crab bait.
    FinLuver likes this.
  4. People keep them for sturgeon bait as well. We pickled them and they were decent. I probably wouldnt keep them again, they were alot of work to descale and such. But they sure are fun on a fly. Its a early morning game.
  5. They taste incredible, but getting past the bones is a bitch.
  6. We smoke them, pressure cook, and can them so you don't have to worry about the bones. Then we make a smoked fish cracker dip out of them.

    You wouldn't even know it was shad.
    FinLuver likes this.
  7. I do the same thing with PEEEEEEEOOOOOPLLLLEEEEEE!
  8. This is turning into a very classy thread.
  9. Haven't eaten any of my namesake, but I can tell you that you'll not find a better bait fish. Once or twice a season, I whore a ride with a friend to fish Grays Harbor during the salmon opener. Sometimes, we incidentally catch shad that are barely larger than the herring we troll. Each time, a cut plug rigging of one of those has been converted into a (carefully released) chinook in short order. Same deal at Buoy 10 (although those URBs are released into the fish box).

    "Poor man's tarpon" is an apt name for shad. Their sides are adorned with the biggest, shiniest scales you'll find, and I think that's what makes them so effective. An added bonus (if you're like me and hate re-baiting herring all the time) is the hard bone that runs along their bellies. It keeps them intact through the many bumps along the bottom that occur when you're fishing right.
    Blake Harmon and aplTyler like this.

  10. You're a funny guy. Do you have any idea of the magnitude of the shad spawning run on the Columbia? Think MILLIONS, and that's just what gets counted at Bonneville. Preliminary tagging data suggests that only about one half of the spawning run actually ascends Bonneville Dam to continue upriver. The other half find suitable spawning habitat below. Eradication would be a huge waste of rarely ever works.
  11. The irony, when it comes to invasive species in the Columbia, is that there is a bounty in Oregon for Northern Pike Minnow (aka Squaw Fish) and they are native to the river. They are one of the few species in the Columbia these days that were in the river before the white man started building the dams.

    I'm sure the other non-native species of fish are doing much more harm to the native fish than are the shad.
    FinLuver likes this.
  12. Do shad fry serve as food for anything we care about in the rivers?

  13. That's a GREAT question. We don't know.
  14. Try this on for size. Remove head, tail, entrails and fins. Wrap shad in heavy duty aluminum foil with several pats of butter, sliced lemon and sliced onions. Salt and pepper to taste. Bake at 325 degrees until just barely done. You want the meat to be real moist. Unwrap the fish and use a fork to scrape the skin off the side of the fish. Then scrape away the dark meat along the lateral line and discard. Now the fun begins. Using the fork like a rake, scrape the meat from the rib bones and pile it into a bowl or dish. Keep raking the meat from all areas of the fish until you are finished. In about a half hour you should have a nice bowl of the best tasting fish and a BIG pile of bones. It gets easier the more you do it. It reminded me of cracking crab, a lot of work but well worth the effort. Tom
    Flyborg likes this.
  15. I did some reading and best I can find is that shad fry are very abundant throughout the lower river, they provide food for predators like bass, walleye, and pike minnow, while depressing the populations of daphnia that feed out migrating salmon smolts.

    Doesn't sound good.

    But proof of the significance of this seems scarce, is my impression.

  16. Bass seam to like a white crystal bugger---I've read that is in part because crystal buggers look like shad minnows. Sturgeon love to eat full sized shad.
  17. We gave a bunch to an oriental lady who was fishing next to us on the Snake River one year---she told us to come back the next day and she would give us some fish cakes. I have no idea how she made them but they were the best fish cakes I've ever had. I could have eaten them for days, and I am not much of a fish eating fan.
  18. The shad have been in the river way longer than the dams have been on the river.

    It occurs to me that their impact on salmon in a damned up river, where the smolts spend months getting to sea, may be way greater than the shads impact on salmon when the river was free flowing and smolts made their journey in a matter of a week or two.

    possibly shad and other invasive species, plus dams, could be way worse than dams alone.

  19. I've had some fun trolling for shad with a gear friend. He was doing it to use them as bait for oversized sturgeon. While that was fun I want to get one on the fly myself.

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