Shad runs begin on eastern North Carolina rivers and streams

White shad offer plenty of fishing opportunities.

Craig Holt

February 17, 2012 at 4:46 pm  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

American shad can grow up to 5 pounds and anglers catch them at central-coast rivers and streams each spring.
Craig Holt
American shad can grow up to 5 pounds and anglers catch them at central-coast rivers and streams each spring.
The first fish migration of spring is underway on North Carolina coastal counties and, although these creatures aren’t much to write home about nor do they provide eye-popping photographs to send the local newspaper, they provide excellent and numerous light-tackle thrills.

Easterners also have no trouble popping them into a hot skillet.

The American shad (called "white" shad in eastern North Carolina) are headed west to their spawning grounds at the headwaters of the Tar River and Conoco, Mill, Fishing and Swift creeks, not to mention several other streams and creeks east of the fall line in east-central counties.

“They’re catching big American shad right now in the Tar,” Matthew Waddell of Goldsboro’s EZ Bait & Tackle said.

North Carolina has two kinds of shad, American and hickory, that spend most of the year in the ocean, then return to their birth places at shallow inland creeks — just like Alaskan salmon or striped bass, although they’re definitely not as palatable to the taste buds.

White shad grow to decent sizes and on light tackle (ultra-light spinning reels with 4- to 6-pound-test line) can provide jumping displays worthy of a tarpon. In fact, shad resemble tarpon, the giant silver kings that fill Pamlico Sound during July and August, only on a much lesser scale.

“I saw an American that weighed 4 pounds, 2 ounces the other day,” Waddell said.

That is a giant shad.

Hickories probably average 1 pound with 2-pounders considered monsters. But anglers in the right places can catch 50 to 100 shad in a single day. Most will be hickories.

The white shad run in the Tar River started two weeks ago (late January), Waddell said.

Best lures are spoon-and-shad-dart combinations. he said. “You put a Pet spoon at the end of your line and tie on a dart on a dropper up above it. People also use little crappie jigs with curly-tails,”

Top places are the mouth of the Little River where it joins the Tar and around any train trestles or bridges that cross local  waterways.

“The best way to fish is from a boat because you can move around and find hot spots, but plenty of people fish from the bank,” Waddell said.

Post reports and photos from your fishing trips on the Fishing Forums, which is free to all registered users of this site.

Not a member of the Sportsman team? It’s free! Register today to get started!


View other articles written Craig Holt


Reports / Forum
Sport fishing Happy Day Today  This report contains photos  
April 17 at 10:39 am | 947 Views | 0 Comments
Heaviest bird yet  This report contains photos  
April 19 at 9:31 am | 677 Views | 0 Comments
Take a tree stand, please  This report contains photos  
April 20 at 1:21 pm | 665 Views | 0 Comments
Autumn Evans first Turkey its a family Tradition  This report contains photos  
April 17 at 8:03 pm | 659 Views | 2 Comments
TAGGED OUT!!  This report contains photos  
April 17 at 6:43 am | 591 Views | 2 Comments
Catawba Catfish Club Lake Wateree,SC 5-3-14 Tournament 
April 19 at 5:15 pm | 547 Views | 0 Comments
Youth Day  This report contains photos  
April 17 at 11:10 am | 487 Views | 1 Comments
weyerhaeuser hunting land 
April 19 at 2:12 pm | 471 Views | 0 Comments
Double with Golden  This report contains photos  
Yesterday at 7:45 pm | 445 Views | 0 Comments
Caleb's First Turkey  This report contains photos  
April 16 at 6:47 pm | 387 Views | 1 Comments
Boats Unlimited NC Team Trail Q4 results..Falls Lake..Apr. 12th  This report contains photos  
April 18 at 6:15 am | 345 Views | 0 Comments
First turkey and with a bow!  This report contains photos  
Yesterday at 3:29 pm | 343 Views | 0 Comments
GT and Viper 
Yesterday at 7:46 pm | 313 Views | 1 Comments
Paisley's first turkey 
April 18 at 10:59 am | 307 Views | 0 Comments
Golden Wings  This report contains photos  
Yesterday at 7:42 pm | 285 Views | 0 Comments
Cold, Rainy and Windy Tough on Fishing 
April 20 at 2:23 pm | 273 Views | 0 Comments
Fishing Happy Day Today  This report contains photos  
April 21 at 9:18 am | 227 Views | 0 Comments
taking the boat and 2 year old out(high rock lake) 
April 19 at 1:55 pm | 223 Views | 0 Comments
Post | Reports | Forum
Autumn Evans first Turkey its a family Tradition  This report contains photos  
April 17 at 8:03 pm | 659 Views | 2 Comments
TAGGED OUT!!  This report contains photos  
April 17 at 6:43 am | 591 Views | 2 Comments
Youth Day  This report contains photos  
April 17 at 11:10 am | 487 Views | 1 Comments
Caleb's First Turkey  This report contains photos  
April 16 at 6:47 pm | 387 Views | 1 Comments
GT and Viper 
Yesterday at 7:46 pm | 313 Views | 1 Comments
Golden Wings  This report contains photos  
Yesterday at 7:42 pm | 285 Views | 0 Comments
First turkey and with a bow!  This report contains photos  
Yesterday at 3:29 pm | 343 Views | 0 Comments
Fishing Happy Day Today  This report contains photos  
April 21 at 9:18 am | 227 Views | 0 Comments
Cold, Rainy and Windy Tough on Fishing 
April 20 at 2:23 pm | 273 Views | 0 Comments
Take a tree stand, please  This report contains photos  
April 20 at 1:21 pm | 665 Views | 0 Comments
Catawba Catfish Club Lake Wateree,SC 5-3-14 Tournament 
April 19 at 5:15 pm | 547 Views | 0 Comments
weyerhaeuser hunting land 
April 19 at 2:12 pm | 471 Views | 0 Comments
taking the boat and 2 year old out(high rock lake) 
April 19 at 1:55 pm | 223 Views | 0 Comments
Heaviest bird yet  This report contains photos  
April 19 at 9:31 am | 677 Views | 0 Comments
Paisley's first turkey 
April 18 at 10:59 am | 307 Views | 0 Comments
Boats Unlimited NC Team Trail Q4 results..Falls Lake..Apr. 12th  This report contains photos  
April 18 at 6:15 am | 345 Views | 0 Comments
Sport fishing Happy Day Today  This report contains photos  
April 17 at 10:39 am | 947 Views | 0 Comments
Double with Golden  This report contains photos  
Yesterday at 7:45 pm | 445 Views | 0 Comments
Post | Reports | Forum
GT and Viper 
Yesterday at 7:46 pm | 313 Views | 1 Comments
Double with Golden  This report contains photos  
Yesterday at 7:45 pm | 445 Views | 0 Comments
Golden Wings  This report contains photos  
Yesterday at 7:42 pm | 285 Views | 0 Comments
First turkey and with a bow!  This report contains photos  
Yesterday at 3:29 pm | 343 Views | 0 Comments
Fishing Happy Day Today  This report contains photos  
April 21 at 9:18 am | 227 Views | 0 Comments
Cold, Rainy and Windy Tough on Fishing 
April 20 at 2:23 pm | 273 Views | 0 Comments
Take a tree stand, please  This report contains photos  
April 20 at 1:21 pm | 665 Views | 0 Comments
Catawba Catfish Club Lake Wateree,SC 5-3-14 Tournament 
April 19 at 5:15 pm | 547 Views | 0 Comments
weyerhaeuser hunting land 
April 19 at 2:12 pm | 471 Views | 0 Comments
taking the boat and 2 year old out(high rock lake) 
April 19 at 1:55 pm | 223 Views | 0 Comments
Heaviest bird yet  This report contains photos  
April 19 at 9:31 am | 677 Views | 0 Comments
Paisley's first turkey 
April 18 at 10:59 am | 307 Views | 0 Comments
Boats Unlimited NC Team Trail Q4 results..Falls Lake..Apr. 12th  This report contains photos  
April 18 at 6:15 am | 345 Views | 0 Comments
Autumn Evans first Turkey its a family Tradition  This report contains photos  
April 17 at 8:03 pm | 659 Views | 2 Comments
Youth Day  This report contains photos  
April 17 at 11:10 am | 487 Views | 1 Comments
Sport fishing Happy Day Today  This report contains photos  
April 17 at 10:39 am | 947 Views | 0 Comments
TAGGED OUT!!  This report contains photos  
April 17 at 6:43 am | 591 Views | 2 Comments
Caleb's First Turkey  This report contains photos  
April 16 at 6:47 pm | 387 Views | 1 Comments
Post | Reports | Forum

Free Classifieds

Late 60\'s Early 70\'s Zabala 20 Gauge Double Barrell
Late 60\'s Early 70\'s Zabala 20 Gauge Double Barrell
Late 60's Early 70's Eagle Arms by Zabala 20 Gauge Double Barrel Shotgun. 26' Barrel, 3' shells. This gun was handed down to me and I am not a gun enthusiast, so do not have a need for it. Can provide more pics, info if necessary. Email...
April 16 at 5:30 pm | 108 Views
MDBR Hunting Club has 4 openings!
MDBR Hunting Club has 4 openings!
MDBR Hunting Club is a small 10 member club with a 350 acre lease near Gulf, NC (Chatham County). No Dog Hunting in Chatham county! Very peaceful area! Membership dues pay for lease & insurance. Anyone interested should visit our website at...
Yesterday at 1:41 pm | 21 Views
Baby Desert Eagle 40 S&W for $250
Baby Desert Eagle 40 S&W for $250
Excellent Desert Eagle 40 caliber Hand Gun For Sale,6 ' barrel,semi rnrnautomatic,& made by Magnum Research,right here in the USA,& comes with 1-7 rnrnround magazine, super heavy duty fitted carry case with soft rummer rnrninside,take down...
April 20 at 3:13 am | 30 Views
Wanted anything Dan Wesson.
Wanted anything Dan Wesson.
Looking for revolvers anything Dan Wesson, thanks please call Will at 919-937-7687...
April 16 at 5:04 pm | 30 Views
Still Hunting Deer Club
Still Hunting Deer Club
Membership available in still hunting deer club for the 2014-15 season. Club has almost 4,000 acres of leased land and owns 55 acres with a two story club house. Club is located in Warren county about 5 miles from Littleton. Club dues are $725.00....
April 21 at 7:43 am | 100 Views
G3 Gator Tough 1860 CC Tunnel
G3 Gator Tough 1860 CC Tunnel
70hp Yamaha 4 stroke with 6' jack plate, only 25 hours. 2012 custom fit float on/off trailer w/removable tongue, Mossy oak W/ Bimini top. Fish finder, GPS, 55lb Min Kota trolling motor, live well, cooler bench seat with leaning post, two lockable...
April 19 at 11:35 am | 141 Views
NEW REMINGTON 870 TACTICAL/ULTIMATE COMBAT SHOTGUN
NEW REMINGTON 870 TACTICAL/ULTIMATE COMBAT SHOTGUN
This new 870 was built for one purpose to save your life or your family's. It has form function and reliability. Has a Mesa Tactical recoil reducing 6 position stock. There is no felt recoil even with 3 inch buck plus the stock is comfortable in...
1 hour ago | 8 Views
Baby Desert Eagle 40 S&W for $250
Baby Desert Eagle 40 S&W for $250
Excellent Desert Eagle 40 caliber Hand Gun For Sale,6 ' barrel,semi rnrnautomatic,& made by Magnum Research,right here in the USA,& comes with 1-7 rnrnround magazine, super heavy duty fitted carry case with soft rummer rnrninside,take down...
April 20 at 3:18 am | 46 Views