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Angler Reports on Shad Requested

The Delaware River Basin Fish & Wildlife Cooperative is trying to verify some of the different aspects of the yearly population estimates of American shad in the Delaware River. The Hydroacoustic Study which yields the estimates is conducted at the Route 202 Bridge between New Jersey and Pennsylvania on the Delaware River. In addition to New Jersey, members of the Cooperative include Delaware, Pennsylvania and New York and two federal agencies, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service. Liaison members include the National Park Service and the Delaware River Basin Commission. Member agencies work together to manage fisheries resources throughout the Delaware River basin.

One aspect being examined is that the American shad appear to migrate through very quickly in very large schools. In 2002 these large (>15,000 fish) school passages occurred on April 6, 7, 10, 12, 17, 20, 21 and 27. Another pulse of about 12,500 shad occurred on 5/12/02. Division biologists and most of anglers we've contacted agree with the Hydroacoustic Study contractor's description of a long, thin ribbon of shad about 2 - 3 meters wide migrating through very quickly. For example, on 4/06/02 more than 60,000 shad migrated through span #3 between 8am and 10am.

The Division would like to get feedback from American shad anglers as to their catches/non-catches, as well as any other observations (date and time, water temperature and clarity, debris in water and on line, high water, which span of the bridge they're fishing at, other species caught, etc.) if fishing at or in the vicinity of the Route 202 Bridge. (The first wetted span on the PA side is span #1 and continues across to end at the last wetted span, #6 in NJ).

Detailed reports from other areas of the river during the entire American shad fishing season are also desired, as these reports may reflect these pulses of fish down or upriver.

Please submit information on the 2002 American shad run (and the 2003 run) to:

NJ Division of Fish and Wildlife
Bureau of Freshwater Fisheries
PO Box 394
Lebanon, NJ 08833
908-236-2118 Fax: 908-236-7280

We appreciate your input and cooperation in this study!

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