Lower Columbia Basin Shad, Huge Numbers

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Lower Columbia Basin Shad, Huge Numbers

By: Jacob Noteboom

Shad counts over Bonneville have recently peaked 1 Million fish as of June 1st, with counts being fewer than 50,000 last week, IT. IS. ON.

Here are some things I would deem essential for catching these silver bullets.

Shad can be very fun on 5-8wts, heavier wt rods being better for turning over heavy bugs and sink tips.

Shad flies consist of anything from a Clouser Minnow to Wooly Buggers, keep it small though so it’s easy for them to eat.

Have a good amount of backing, as these fish know how to use the current in the Columbia, and they know how to use it well.

Use a heavier tippet as these fish are not line shy. 0x-2x is most often used, or, just throw about 4 foot of maxima 10-12 lb off the end of your sink tip.

Tips on where to catch them: As far as bank access goes, Clackamette Park on the Willamette has a decent amount of room for fly casting. Bonneville Dam, Cascade locks, and The Dalles Dam all have great access as well.

If you hook a fish, try to cast to the same spot as shad hold very tight to their travel lanes.

Fish current breaks if possible as they will most likely stack up on any seam they can tuck themselves up into.

It only gets better from here so get out and get your knuckles busted by these shorter than average anadromous silver things! Give us a buzz or an email at the shop if you have any questions! Tight lines, -Jacob.

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