American Shad: Alosa sapidissima


  • Color of back green or greenish blue with silvery sides, white underneath (colors darken when fish enters fresh water to spawn)
  • Belly with scutes forming distinct keel with one or more dark spots in a row behind operculum
  • The lower jaw has a pointed tip that fits into v-shaped notch in upper jaw


American shad are typically found offshore except during late winter spawning run into east coast rivers, notably the St. Johns River.


Anadromous species, coming into fresh water to spawn; young remain in fresh water to length of 2 to 4 inches, then move out to sea.

Additional Information

State Record: This species is not currently eligible for a state record.

Fishing Tips and Facts: Plankton feeders, but will strike small, bright spoons or flies.  Their roe (as many as 30,000 in a single female) is prized and their flesh is full of fork bones.

Image Credit: © Diane Rome Peebles

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