There are three phases of spring fishing that every angler lives for, the pre spawn, spawn and the shad spawn. While each of these three phases can make for a great day on the lake, the shad spawn can be one of the best times to go fishing.
The shad spawn is an interesting thing, it’s kind of like natures way of taking care of the bass. The bass have worked hard spawning, they are tired and hungry and now here comes all these shad to the bank to spawn, It gives the bass a chance to feed and bulk up on needed nutrients and get healthy again. For the angler it’s a great time to really catch numbers of fish quickly.
Be sure to get out on the lake early in the morning because the shad spawn doesn’t happen all day. It usually slows down quite a bit after the sun has been shining for a hour or two. On overcast days the shad may spawn until late morning. Just remember it’s going to happen quickly, so catch them while you can. As the shallow water activity slows down the shad move deeper, and bass will follow them.
There are two places I will look first for the shad spawn. The first place I look is around rip-rap rock banks and secondly around floating docks. They can and will spawn anywhere, I have seen them spawn everywhere from windblown points and pockets to the ends of lay down trees and even on clay banks. However, I recommend you start on rip-rap rock banks and floating docks and expand your search from there.
Baits for fishing the shad spawn, a Livingston lures DM Jr, a square bill crankbait, is going to be a good first choice. It is a great fish catching bait, but most importantly it allows you to cover a lot of water. The Livingston Stick Master jerk bait and the Pro-Wake are also going to be key for me. I always have a spinnerbait and a jig close by, as well.
Don’t be happy with just one fish in an area. What I mean by that is expect to catch more than one bass from a group of spawning shad. Try different lures and use multiple casts and approach the area from different angles.
If you try these few tips the shad spawn might just become one of your favorite times of year to fish, just like it is mine