View Full Version : Shad flies and lines

06-12-2005, 08:20 PM
Two questions: Flies and lines for the American R. I am thinking of a sink tip type line or maybe a type six head and a #4 hook, BB eye with chatreuse body and wing clouser style. I am thinking the fly must be near the bottom at least 5 feet deep, and right in their faces for a strike. I have only fished shad with spinning gear and dart and that was almost twenty years back. As I recall pink was a good color. All this high water may change the rules for success. I will be wading. Any help is much appreciated. HC

06-12-2005, 11:43 PM
Hey HC,..... You're gonna get a lot of advice from all sides on this one 8) . Actually, almost any line will work for Shad at one point or another.... I would try the deep sinking head, first (during high water), if no luck, switch to another type/sink rate Line.... 8) .

Flies should look just like a Shad Dart. Simple is good 8) . Basic colors are Chartruese, Orange, Hot Pink, Pink, etc..... Hook sizes range from #8 to #4 and a good Shad hook is Eagle Claw, model 1197 or 1197N. If you know where to get some, the best hook (....in my humble opinion) was Mustad, model 3908 or 3908C..... (I believe that model has been discontinued :( ).

06-13-2005, 08:27 PM
Hey Darian, Where is all the opposing views? Just kidding, folks are too busy fishing to lookup. And you probably nailed it first try. Thought I might hear from David Lee though. Anyone ever use a teeny type shooting line for shadin'? I expect a need to cast far out to reach shad alley and a little room for the back cast too. Thanks HC

David Lee
06-13-2005, 09:11 PM
HC , you rang ?? :mrgreen:

Darian is right on the mark , as usual 8)

A Teeny 200 or 300 is a real good choice for Shad (and Stripes , and Steelies ...) . Other great integrated sink tips include Cortland QD lines , and the fantastic Rio DC 24 foot sink-tips in 200 and 300 grains (my first choice) . Shooting heads are also a good choice , i use them with much sucess (types 4 , 5 , and LC-13 leadcore) .

I only use 1 fly in 2 colors .... A Eagle Claw 1197N in sizes 4-8 , beadchain eyes or lead eyes , A tuff of Glo-bug yarn for a tail , and a Diamond Braid body . Pale pink and Chartruse are the colors I carry .... that's it !!

Please be careful out there - I don't bother fishing when the flows are over 4000 CFS - no fish is worth your life .

So far this year , my score is three Stripers under 4 lbs. , and a handfull of Steelhead - the flows have just been too high for me to fish the American (I haven't fished it in MONTHS) . Maybe flows will get better in July , but I won't hold my breath !!

Great to see you on Bills board , HC - You and I spoke a few times on Dan Blantons site , if I recall .... Good luck out there !!


06-14-2005, 01:12 PM
Hey David, I do remember you from the Blanton board. Thanks for the welcome and excellent post, quite a lot of good information really. Looks like I'll be needing one of those Rio 24' sink tips to round out my arsenal. First thing to figure is which rod - then get the line to suit that. I have a stiff tip 5wt, a loosy goosy 7wt and med fast 8wt and 9 wt rods. On the grass the 5 wt can throw 24' LC 13 a little past 100'. Not likely possible to do this with line in the water but will I need a bigger rod for those 5# hens I hope to catch. The seven has a little more power in the butt, but a soft tip. It should be fun trying to settle on a rod and line! At this point the 300 grain line seems a likely fit, as I could use with any of my rods in some fashion anyway.

With the 5 wt I can cast all day like a machine, so it is preferred. Second is 7 wt for same reasons. I have a basket but have only used it in the surf. Plus the thought of taking a dunking with it is scary. I will be cautious when wading. Pick my spots on the inside of the bends and on the shallow gravel flats there, while trying to keep my belly button above the water. So now its off to the tying bench. I will post after the my trip. Thanks for being out there. Yee Haw, HC

David Lee
06-14-2005, 04:08 PM
Harley - I'd go w/ the 8 wt. and a DC-300 or QD 325 - Everytime I think a 5 or 6 will do the task , I hook something that I wish I had a little more control over :roll:

The American almost always has a suprise or two waiting to happen - don't get caught undergunned :!:

Oh , yeah ...... Wear your wading belt and think about wearing a PFD :idea:

GO GET 'EM !!!!


06-14-2005, 06:20 PM
I'm with David. An 8 wt. is not too heavy when throwing a heavy line for long periods. Besides Shad will fight till death,get them in and gone quickly. Just my 2 cents.

06-14-2005, 08:21 PM
Thanks again for the sage advice I will take it! Right to the AR. Forcast looks like a little blow is coming in with a little rain maybe. Try to sqeeze in there somewhere. All good reason to pack the 8wt loaded with the 300 Gr. line. Dave, you are so right, "Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what your're going to get" Credit Forrest Gump. Same could be said of fishing, I suppose, so the eight wt. is the ticket alright. Sturmer, I didn't think about the exhausting the fish, just me. But your point is not wasted. I C&R most everything I catch with the idea to return the fish to the water good shape. I once met a guy on the American with a sack full shad with some good hens mixed in. Said he steams them and feeds them to his dogs. Terrible waste. thanks for the safety tip Dave. I wear a fanny pack cinced at the hips and another belt higher up. I once had to do a swim on the feather after tripping on a submerged rock that was a little bigger than the rest, so I know what its like. Everything worked out ok except trying to crawl back up the crumbling gravel bar. Thing that worked was to swim out like a seal does. Guess I should look into the floats a little. I pay more attention to the bottom now and avoid wading in the bigger rocks. HC

06-14-2005, 09:33 PM
Ya know, there's a section in the F&G Code that makes it unlawfull to "....waste fish...." Kinda sounds like feeding game fish to a dog is wasting fish (if he's not feeding scraps and doesn't eat them himself)....

Speaking of eating Shad, I ran into a farmer up in Marysville who told me he fried Shad and had 'em with eggs for breakfast. He avoided the bones by picking the cooked meat off the bones with a fork..... He sais it was really good. 8) 8)

David Lee
06-14-2005, 10:07 PM
Actually ..... I've heard the little buggers are quite tasty . And I have seen them fight to the death (no , not by my hand ....) .

My neighbors are from Laos - very nice people , and they can cook ANYTHING and make it tasty . I have always killed the Squawfish that I've caught , if only to bury their bodies under my Tomatos ( still , a good cause) ... One day , the Lady next door sees me draggin' in a bonehead - She thinks the Tomatos wouldn't like the fish as much as the guests would .... wish granted . They turn out pretty good !! But , a few months later , I bring her Shad .... I haven't heard the end of it yet ..... "Those fish are SOOOOOOO SWEET ..." - I am hoping to take a dozen over there before the run is over ..... Just to get the invite to their next party (did I mention .... they always FORCE Beers on me ? MANY Beers ???) .

I hope you catch those little fellas untill your arms feel like they are going to fall off (about 14 in a row ...) -Don't take 'em out of the water , just slide your hand down the leader and shake 'em loose -

Be safe !! David

Adam Grace
06-15-2005, 11:28 AM
I have a buddy who trades shad for sushi at a Sacramento Sushi Restaurant.

I quess that a good cook can make almost anything taste good!

06-15-2005, 12:15 PM
My Grandparents used to have a trailer on the Coos River in Oregon. They used to take the Shad to a cannery and have them canned. This was about 40 - 45 years ago. All I can remember is watching football games with my Dad and eating canned Shad on Saltines! Quite tasty as I remember. If only my Dad would have shared his beer :cry:

Ahhh the memories!

06-15-2005, 02:13 PM
I can't recall who told me this but this person prepared Shad Roe with scrambled eggs/toast/hash browns for breakfast.... Sounds very good 8) 8) 8) . Can anyone else confirm this :?: :?:

Bill Kiene semi-retired
06-15-2005, 10:37 PM
My fishing buddy at the time, Cecil Wilder, and I would take a Coleman stove to the mouth of the Feather River when I worked at West Captol Rod & Gun in the early '70s. When the rivers were low enough that we could wade on the sandbar we would catch some big fresh run Shad there in May. We would take a big female Shad or two to smoke. We would take out the roe and cook it right there on the beach.

Many smoke Shad and some people pickle them too. Some will grind them up in a meat grinder that cuts the bones down very short. They make fish patties with them.

The California Fly Fishers Unlimited fly fishing club use to have an annual Shad outting at Goethe Park in June back in the '70s. We use to catch Shad at the mouth of the Feather in May and have them smoked so we could have them at the outting. I have old picture of that outting I will have to post some day.

06-23-2005, 09:53 AM
I finally got out last week and spent a few hours chasing shad on the AR. The chase was slow as I was wading. First thing, I stopped at Bill's place to get a line and a few bits tying materials. Assembling the rig at the river I noticed there was no end loop on the Rio DC line so spent a few minutes making one up and putting it on. I had a serious case of fish anticipation. The water was high but I did find a few places I could wade and make a decent cast. I counted eight boats at anchor above Sunrise bridge so thought I would get into them here as there was a good gravel bar to exploit. I saw only one fish landed here and a semi-naked man chasing a goose. Two grub and bobber guys came up out of the undergrowth with a mess of shad. It was almost a skunk, saved only by a tail hooked 21 inch sucker fish. Lower water would open up a lot more casting room for the wading fisherman. Right now a boat is a good plan. HC

06-24-2005, 09:43 AM
Hello HC,

I was just out last night at Geothe and landed about 13 shad. You will want to go with a 7 or 8 weight. I like a softer traditional flex in order to protect the soft mouths of these fish. I started out with a 300 grain thinking that I would need it to get down in the fast water, but found that I was getting most of my bumps at the tail end of the swing when the fly crossed the eddy (when I wasn't on the bottom). I ended up switching to a 225 grain and worked the eddy fence letting the fly dangle close to the slack water. I may be wrong about this but from what I found last night most of the shad seem to be holding closer to the bank. Despite the high flows, the 300 was difficult to keep off the bottom while remaining in the strike zone. The 225 was just the right sink rate and was easier to keep in the strike zone. Once I switched lines my percentage went way up. As for your fly selection, my personal opinion is the only shad fly you need on the AR is the "Wet Pinky". You can pick them up at Kiene's or you can get the recipe off this forum under fly tying. I was using a #6 in white with a reddish flesh colored under body that bleeds through when wet, tied with heavy dumbell eyes. Also be sure to use barbless hooks. Take it for what it's worth, with that set up I am usually getting into roughly 5 times more fish than the guys next to me. Let me know if you need any more advice, or just call the shop.....the guys there are always dialed. Also keep in mind that we may be on the tail end of the run so I wouldn't expect things to be totally on fire.

06-24-2005, 01:16 PM
Hey Smoke Eater, You are right, I was thinking the game would change anyway once the river came down a bit. So now I can get on with it. As it happens I have a nice 237 gr. SH that may be the ticket and a real soft 7 wt to boot. I have some Pinkys I tied from last time but lost most of them to snags that would be normally growing on the rivers edge now 30 to 40 ft out. Can't wait to get out again with a little more open space behind for the back cast. Being a nubie on this river is quite a challenge. There is so many places to try! Thanks Cheers. HC