• 72°

Hudson column: Shad run in full swing

Andy Eller and Will Harrell love to fly fish. One of the highlights of their fishing season is chasing hickory shad during their annual migratory spawning run from the Atlantic Ocean up the Roanoke River.
The cool thing about hickory shad is they fight really hard. When you catch them with a fly rod you are in for a great fight.
They are in the herring family, which includes tarpon. So that should give you some idea of their general disposition after they are hooked. In short, they go crazy.
“Andy ties all the flies we ever use,” said Harrell, who usually fishes with Eller around Williamston, close to where the Roanoke empties into Albemarle Sound.
They didn’t find the shad there this year, which could only mean that the fish were already all the way up the river in Weldon. That is where the actual spawn takes place.
“We caught about 50 shad on this pink fly that we just simply call a shad fly. We like this fly better than a shad dart because it is lighter and much easier to cast.”
Most fly fisherman use 400-grain, sinking-tip line and bounce flies off the bottom in quick twitching motions to get strikes. The sinking-tip line allows the angler to work the entire water column without having to throw a heavy fly, such as a shad dart, which, as Harrell says, can be hard to cast.
Veteran anglers prefer 5- or 6-weight fly rods because they can handle most anything that swims in the river.
Early April is the key time for the shad spawn on the Roanoke. But don’t worry if you are late, because striped bass will make the same spawning run well into May.
In fact, Eller and Harrell caught one striper in Salmon Creek off the Chowan River near Edenton before making the move to Weldon to find the shad. The stripers arrive in Weldon just after the shad leave.
According to Capt. George Beckwith, who guides for stripers on the Roanoke River each spring, these fish can move from Albemarle Sound all the way up the rivers in a very short time, probably within a couple of days once they make the decision to go.
Meanwhile, the shad have likely already begun their departure back down the river toward the ocean.
Once the shad leave and the stripers arrive it is wise to switch from shad darts or flies similar to Eller’s shad fly, and use bead-head clouser minnows that you can fish deep in the same way you fish for shad. Bright colors often work better when river fishing since water clarity, especially at the bottom, can be quite bad.
Weldon is easy to find. Simply head north on I-95 until you get close to Virginia.
The boat ramp is within a few minutes of the interstate as well. If you go, keep in mind that both hickory shad and American shad, as well as striped bass, are highly regulated.
For that reason it is very important to check the fishing regulations on the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission website at www.ncwildlife.org.
The site features a regular weekly report on the shad and striper fishing as well as a map of the river around Weldon with information on the submerged hazards, which are many.

Comments

Comments closed.

Crime

One charged, another hospitalized in fight between cousins

Local

Bell Tower Green renamed to honor Stanbacks; Nancy Stanback receives key to city

Business

Commissioners green light additional houses at Cherry Treesort in China Grove

Education

A.L. Brown will hold in-person, outdoor graduation

Local

Granite Quarry awards FEMA contract for Granite Lake Park

Local

City to vote on apartment developments, final phases of Grants Creek Greenway project

High School

High school football: North receiver McArthur a rising star

Columnists

Carl Blankenship: Pollen and prejudice make their return

News

Harris pitches $2.3T spending plan on trip to North Carolina

Nation/World

Murder case against ex-cop in Floyd’s death goes to the jury

Crime

Sheriff’s office: Man takes deputies on chase with stolen moped

Coronavirus

Afternoon, evening COVID-19 vaccination clinic planned Thursday

Crime

Concord man charged with woman’s murder in drive-by shooting

Ask Us

Ask Us: Have city, county elected officials received COVID-19 vaccine?

Local

City gives away nearly 100 trees during ‘We Dig Salisbury’ event

Local

Political Notebook: Bitzer expects most ‘Trump-like’ candidate to be favorite in state’s Senate race

Crime

Blotter: Concord man arrested in Rowan for indecent liberties with children

Coronavirus

Half of US adults have received at least one COVID-19 shot

Nation/World

Police: FedEx shooter legally bought guns used in shooting

News

Hester Ford, oldest living American, dies at 115 … or 116?

Local

Size of pipeline spill again underestimated in North Carolina

BREAKING NEWS

Kannapolis Police searching for suspect who fled scene of homicide

Education

RSS superintendent talks district’s future, strategic plan survey

News

Complaints and fines pile up against unpermitted landfill in southwest Rowan County