By John H. Punola
SULLIVAN COUNTY April 20, 2007 Shad fisherman have endured poor shad fishing the past three years because of heavy spring flooding, but that may change this spring when the shad migrate up the Delaware River for their annual spawning run.
The good news is that the spawning seasons of 2002 through 2004 produced large numbers of juveniles that will be returning this spring. Now all we need is normal spring weather and water flow and the shad will be here in good numbers.
The federal government in an effort to protect and enlarge the shad population phased out all ocean netting of shad. This was done on a phase out period from 2000 2004. Protection of the shad schools on the high seas should eventually return the shad to the peak populations from the 80s and 90s.
Shad fishing expert, John Punola, says with the mild winter we have enjoyed, shad should arrive in the lower river in early April and by mid-May will be in good numbers from Port Jervis to Hancock. Let’s hope that Mother Nature cooperates and keeps the river in a normal flow . . . good for shad . . . good for the anglers.
Punola was an observer with the survey team that netted and recorded the juvenile shad that moved down river in September 2003, and the number of juvenile shad netted was very high. That’s the class we can expect this spring. Check your equipment, re-string your reel and get ready for spring action on the Upper Delaware River. The shad are coming!