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Threadfin Shad Information

Threadfin Shad Fact Sheet


Threadfin Shad (Dorosoma petenense)(picture) are an important baitfish in many lakes. They are small and provide high protein food for bass, crappie, stripers, hybrids and other fish.

  • Threadfin Shad Description - The elongated fin on the dorsal fins gives it its name. The mouth is terminal and the lower part of the upper jaw is not notched. The anal fin has 20 to 28 rays; the dorsal, 10 to 13. Color is bluish gray on the back with a persistent black or purple spot just behind the head. The lower side is silver to creamy white. The fins have a yellow tint and give it the local name of “yellowtails”).

  • Threadfin Shad Size - Adults may reach five to seven inches but most are one to two inches long. Many shad die off each winter due to cold water - they can not live in water colder than 35 degrees and start dying off at 45 degrees - so not many reach a big size.

  • Threadfin Shad Distribution - Native to the US west of the Appalachian Mountains, north to Kentucky, west to East Texas, south to the Rio Grande drainage, and east to Floridian rivers, the threadfin shad has been transplanted to waters all ofer the US. They do best in large rivers and lakes

  • What Threadfin Shad Eat - Plankton is the food source for threadfin shad. They run in schools of similar size fish and you often see them feeding on plankton right on the surface late in the day when photosensitive plankton rises to the top as the sun sets.

  • Threadfin Shad Spawn - They spawn on hard surfaces near deep water but right on the surface.

  • Threadfin Shad Attraction to Light - Threadfin are attracted to light and at night they can be found around lighted docks. Many fishermen put out lights to attract them and the game fish that follow.

  • Threadfin Shad Life Cycle - Females lay eggs on hard surfaces in shallow water and males fertilize them from first light to sunrise when the water temperature reaches the high sixties. Eggs hatch and the tiny shad school up and eat plankton, gradually moving to deeper water. They stay in open deep water until time to spawn the next spring.

  • Threadfin Shad Problems Since they are so sensitive to cold and don't grow to large sizes they are not much of a problem although the young shad do compete with young fish of other species for food.

  • [http://forums.about.com/n/pfx/forum.aspx?tsn=1&nav=messages&webtag=ab-fishing&tid=2866]Forum Discussion - Discuss Threadfin Shad and how they affect your fishing.

Threadfin Shad are a good baitfish for most game species and have been stocked in many lakes to provide more food for game fish.

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