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Author Topic: Shad  (Read 8549 times)

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32eml24

Shad
« on: August 26, 2010, 01:45:03 PM »

Do we have shad in most of our lakes?  We hear the pros talk about shad but I cannot recall ever having seen a baitfish and thinking to myself, "Oh, there's a school of shad."  If not, what types of baitfish do we have specifically in our Michigan waters?
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UAWBigDog

Re: Shad
« Reply #1 on: August 26, 2010, 02:17:27 PM »

Just about all lakes in Michigan have some kind of shad population.  Belleville and Ford do.  Lake Orion has a land locked population of alewives.  Of course the Michigan waters of Lake Erie and Lake St. Clair most certainly do.  There are anything from emerald shiners to american shad to alewives.  I have seen schools in Belleville, Lake Erie, and Lake St. Clair not to mention Lake Orion and others.


BD                ;D
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smbassman

Re: Shad
« Reply #2 on: August 26, 2010, 03:36:24 PM »

Yes, many inland lakes/reservoirs do have shad populations.  Most natural lakes are dominated by bluegill/perch as a baitfish though. 

I can't think of any inland lakes in Michigan though that I have felt the bass movements or locations were based on shad other than the great lakes or lakes directly connected to the great lakes. 

I haven't fished every lake in Michigan though!
 
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32eml24

Re: Shad
« Reply #3 on: August 26, 2010, 05:40:37 PM »

All right thanks
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djkimmel

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Re: Shad
« Reply #4 on: August 26, 2010, 11:46:03 PM »

Threadfin shad - updated 1/6/2020: everyone that should know agrees there are NO threadfin shad in Michigan. The thought is they cannot survive our winters. Maybe that will change over the next 50 years as they also expect us to have the climate then that Missouri has today.

American shad also rare in Michigan and non-native to Michigan. I don't know if there are any left. Some were stocked years ago into the SW part mostly in Lake Michigan years ago as best I can determine. They are the popular fish from the East coast from Atlantic Ocean rivers.

Gizzard shad are pretty common in the Great Lakes and connected rivers / lakes. Gizzard shad are also in a few non-connected lakes such as Orion and Lake Diane. Those are the big shad that get too big within 2 to 3 years for many gamefish to effectively eat. They get to 5.5 inches their first year. 10 inches their second year and can reach sizes over 20 inches. Big gamefish will eat them. Some people catch the big one occasionally though they feed on plankton and tiny creatures. Some people catch the rare Mooneye (I've caught 2 in Lake St. Clair on crankbaits) and confuse them with gizzard shad.

Not a ton of inland lakes that have gizzard shad that aren't or weren't connected to the Great Lakes. There is still some disagreement whether or not gizzard shad were native to Lake Erie or not. It is thought that gizzard shad got into Lake Michigan from one or more of the canals through Illinois and Lake Erie through the Ohio canal from more southern waters. They are also sensitive to cold water so there can be die-offs, but obviously many survive our winters in places since there can be so many of them.

Alewife are what most people see and call shad. They got into the Great Lakes in Lake Michigan around 1949 possibly through the Illinois canals, but really exploded into the early 60s. And from the east through the Welland Canal around the Niagara River possibly as early as the 30s. They are originally an ocean fish. They exploded when the sea lamprey invaded and wiped out so many trout and burbot. There are alewife in many inland lakes connected to the Great Lakes, and they have found their way into various disconnected lakes through other means though not common. For the past few years, the Michigan DNR has said there are now almost zero alewife in Lake St. Clair. Most of the 'shad' people see there are young of the year gizzard shad, which have has huge spawns the past couple seasons (2018-19).

Lake Herring are native to Michigan. They are actually a cisco and part of the trout/salmon/whitefish family. They were in many inland lakes (Bennett Lake near Flint for example) and the Great Lakes. They are struggling. They need deep, cool to cold water with a lot of oxygen. They are not often seen in the summer but spawn in the fall and can be seen in schools then. They tend to get larger but look kind of like a big long shad in the water. They are an excellent forage fish for larger gamefish, particularly salmon, pike and walleye.

A newer non-native arrival to Michigan is the Skipjack Herring, mostly in south Lake Michigan region thought to have come through the Chicago drainage canal. I don't know much about them since they are not a major factor in the state. Yet? They look a lot like a shad.

I think it is important to know for sure which kind of forage are in the lakes you fish since they do have differing habits and impact. Gizzard shad are the most abundant actual shad in Michigan, but are commonly too large for most bass to feed effectively on.

If a lake is not connected by a good sized river to the Great Lakes, it probably does not have any shad or alewife in it though some do get into these lakes, but rarely by any modern plantings since they are non-native fish. You can often find out about fish species in many inland lakes through the MDNR since they have done species surveys at one time or another on many of our lakes.

If you see a shad-like bait fish in an inland lake that is mostly land-locked in Michigan, you are probably not seeing shad, but more likely cisco, shiners or maybe smelt.
« Last Edit: January 06, 2020, 07:24:48 PM by djkimmel »
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Help stop invasive spcies. Don't move fish between unconnected bodies of water. Clean, drain and dry your boat before launching on another water body.
Unless clearly stated as such, opinions expressed by Dan Kimmel on this forum are not the opinions or policies of The Bass Federation of Michigan.

smbassman

Re: Shad
« Reply #5 on: August 27, 2010, 09:25:58 AM »

Very nice summary Dan!  I noticed that I was incorrect in my reference to shad in my post.  I should have more accurately stated "schooling baitfish" are present in many inland lakes.  They are typically shiners as Dan mentioned, but shad/shiner schools have similar effects on bass and are commonly grouped together and refered to as "shad" as I did and many articles do. 

The key difference (that I know of) in the two groups (shad/shiners) is the cold tolerance.  At the classic this year, when they reported the shad die off due to cold weather was hurting the spotted bass bite.  That was defintely shad.

Dan - you should add to that post and run through the different shiners / cisco (maybe even sunfish / perch) in Michigan and possibly add pictures.  It would make a great informative article for your site.

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32eml24

Re: Shad
« Reply #6 on: August 27, 2010, 09:53:16 AM »

Exactly what I was thinking... That was very helpful.  I printed it off and added it to my notebook of important things to remember.  How many dudes throwin alewife colored cranks in clear inland lakes where there aren't even baitfish of that type?  Not to say they wont catch fish, but to be more dialed in is always going to get more bites.  I would love to know the different types of shiners.  The other night we had a strong wind so I was fishing a seriously windblown bank with shiners all over it, but could not tell what size/color they were.  They were jumping out of the water throughout my whole retrieve back to the boat and I'd like to know what they were? 
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djkimmel

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Re: Shad
« Reply #7 on: August 27, 2010, 03:00:24 PM »

Sometimes matching the hatch is important and sometimes the opposite is better. The trick, as always, is figuring out the right thing to do as fast as possible. If I was a lot better at it, I wouldn't have all this time to work on a web site ;D

I don't mean to belittle or downplay anyone's statements at all of course. We all make generic references all the time, but many new anglers contact me and want more specific, accurate information for specific reasons so I try to give it when I can. Not all of us want to know the little details either and you can be a very good angler just knowing the bigger picture such as smbassman accurately pointing out that schooling bait does have similar effects on bass.

I actually am (slowly) developing a web site just on forage that I hope to have all this information detailed on as much as I can based on studies, creel survey reports and discussions with fisheries biologists. It is not public and has a way to go, but it is of great interest to me along with aquatic plants too. Maybe a future site? Lots of research and information still to find.

I used to go to MDNRE HQ downtown in the past and sit on the floor next to their records drawers and read the creel studies. That helped me personally though it is time consuming to get good information on bait fish and other forage. Just not as many people writing about them so I enjoy when FLW Outdoors, Bassmaster and others publish articles on forage.

As the elder Apache told Rick Clunn, if you want to understand the owl, study the mouse. Great advice!
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Help stop invasive spcies. Don't move fish between unconnected bodies of water. Clean, drain and dry your boat before launching on another water body.
Unless clearly stated as such, opinions expressed by Dan Kimmel on this forum are not the opinions or policies of The Bass Federation of Michigan.

djkimmel

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Re: Shad
« Reply #8 on: August 27, 2010, 03:03:01 PM »

Should be challenging trying to get pictures of all the different bait. Hope I have time to get to that. cameraguy? Where are you? :)

As a pre-teen/teen, I actually used to catch big shiners on rod/reel with tiny hooks in the morning so I could use them for pike and bass later in the day. I had a hot creek chub spot too! ;D

We trekked into a small trout stream in Ontario that was supposed to have pretty brook trout. Turns out the guys I was with weren't real knowledgeable about trout (me neither) because what we actually ended up catching were spawning male chubs that had the coloration of a nice trout, but the mouth and bumps on the head gave them away.
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Help stop invasive spcies. Don't move fish between unconnected bodies of water. Clean, drain and dry your boat before launching on another water body.
Unless clearly stated as such, opinions expressed by Dan Kimmel on this forum are not the opinions or policies of The Bass Federation of Michigan.

Anthony Adams

Re: Shad
« Reply #9 on: September 10, 2019, 01:46:34 AM »

I know I?m resurrecting an old post but I was curious Dan if you ever built a data base of forage?

Let me add a few to the list.

Smelt - The Great Lakes and some deep inland lakes in Michigan have a heavy smelt population. Higgins, Green, Burt, And Crystal come to mind. I?ve won a few tournaments by chasing suspended Bass going after the schools of smelt.

Goby?s - These don?t really school but they are a favorite forage for Bass. I like to put them In the same group as Crawfish. Find a good patch of them and you?ll find the smallmouth feeding heavily on them.

Emerald Shiner - There use to be huge populations of Emerald shiners in Michigan but the emergence of zebra muscles greatly impacted this forage because they both compete for phytoplankton. As the Zebra Muscle population declines the Shiner population will continue to improve.

Stickleback - A common forage fish as well that you rarely hear about.

Minnows - There are over 50 species of minnows in Michigan and most of them school up. Do a little research on which ones are the most common in your home lakes.

Dan I brought this topic back to life because I think it?s a great topic that we all could stand to learn more about. I?d love to see this thread gain new life. A lot has changed in our Waters since this thread was started.
« Last Edit: September 10, 2019, 01:53:06 AM by Anthony Adams »
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Anthony Adams - As your director I believe in promoting the enjoyment of fishing to all. I encourage good sportsmanship and preserving of natural resources. I strongly encourage all individuals regardless of age, race, or gender to be more involved in the world of fishing

Anthony Adams

Re: Shad
« Reply #10 on: September 10, 2019, 01:54:34 AM »

Weird the website formats my apostrophe?s to ? marks. What weird setting is that Dan?
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Anthony Adams - As your director I believe in promoting the enjoyment of fishing to all. I encourage good sportsmanship and preserving of natural resources. I strongly encourage all individuals regardless of age, race, or gender to be more involved in the world of fishing

djkimmel

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Re: Shad
« Reply #11 on: January 06, 2020, 07:28:31 PM »

Anthony, it's actually the security character and character encoding checks not accepting smart quotes and similar. If you use a true simple keyboard apostrophe that works fine. The converted, curved fancy quotes are the ones that aren't working. It's also because some parts of the Internet (like RSS) fails to manage 'smart' quotes unless you encode them using an acceptable character encoding instead of the actual special character - something most people don't know how to type...
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Help stop invasive spcies. Don't move fish between unconnected bodies of water. Clean, drain and dry your boat before launching on another water body.
Unless clearly stated as such, opinions expressed by Dan Kimmel on this forum are not the opinions or policies of The Bass Federation of Michigan.
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