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Hi all, and welcome back! While Shad fishing near the bridge in Middleton last Monday (not yesterday) there were lots of dead Shad laying on the bottom. Since I know very little about the spawning cycle of the American Shad, was wondering if this is normal.
 

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No, it's not normal for the Annapolis River. I was down a couple nights ago and I have never seen the water that low for this time of year. The shad were swimming in circles and not settled down swimming upstream and then back downstream. I could smell the dead shad. That said the number of dead shad is a small percentage of the total. IMO
Normally they will spawn and return to the Ocean and I suspect that will happen this year as well.
Be nice to see more water in the Nictaux and that is controlled by NSPC and would help for sure.
 

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Shad spawn in rivers from Florida to Newfoundland. Populations south of Cape Hatteras are semelparous, which means they all die after spawning. Populations North of Cape Hatteras tend to be iteroparous, which means they will survive and repeat their spawning up to several years. North of Cape Hatteras the percentage of a population that is iteroparous is variable, with the percentage increasing as you move North. I recall that Nova Scotian populations have a very high percentage of repeat spawning. I have a friend who is a shad research scientist, I can get more details from him if there is interest.

In terms of an apparently high number of post-spawn deaths; the explanation could be environmental stress, a higher than normal frequency of "stray fish" from southern populations this year, or both.
 

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The water in Elmsdale is very low as well. After the last two days of rain it may have risen. It was the lowest I have ever seen while fishing this time of year.
 

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We've noticed on more than one occasion this year numerous shad left along the banks unclaimed... irresponsible.
 

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Yes, JHG, you make a very good point. It is important to release shad safely.

They put up a spectacular fight with long runs and leaps, but they are often very affected by this by the time they are brought to net. I find it takes as long as the fight, or longer, to properly revive the fish before releasing them. I can't say what the minimum time is, but I do find it takes some time before I feel very strong movement.

Regrettably, I have seen people release them without trying to revive them, and they sometimes end up on the bottom (you can easily see them lying on the bottom). I don't know if they ever recover, but I suspect some might not.

Anyway, my 2 cents.

J.B.
 

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my experience has been the same people don't realize the energy these fish expend during the fight and the build up of lactic acid can indeed be fatal
 

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Sometimes, unfortunately, these folks just don't know any better....no one ever took the time to show them the right way and explain the reason for doing so. Some folks REALLY are part of the Great Unwashed.....they don't want to learn. Once you discover this about them, it is usually best to stay away from such cretins - they will only make you crazy and ruin your day. Regards...
 

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here here, so true Shimanoman esp the driving you crazy part lol a point for you
Yes it is a shame. And it is hard to tell how people will react. Even when you are respectful, and try to explain that things could be done differently, some people react well and others do not. Sometimes all you can do is set a good example.
 

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Hi All I was just thinking after reading these post,do shad return to the same rivers like atlantic salmon and was there more rivers in nova scotia in the pass that had shad runs?
John
 

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Hi John, As far as I know, they do return to their natal rivers. I think that the success of some runs on some rivers may very well be cyclical and greater numbers return on certain years. I'm sure that in the past, we had more rivers with runs in them but as rivers were dammed (hydro,logging and industry) and flows were interrupted, the runs decreased,and in some cases, ceased altogether. In the US there have been successes in restoring some rivers like that. I suspect that if John Buchanan's Chowder Machine(Annapolis Royal) was shut down, that the shad run may very well be stronger and the Striped Bass, may very well return at some point,to spawn. Ah well, one can only hope....Regards....
 
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