Got up early this morning on another matter, but ended up at the West Marina. The crappie fishermen have disappeared, sort of like this year’s crappie run which never really materialized.

But the big baitfish (threadfin shad) in the 3- to 4-inch class were frothing the banks and while I didn’t make a cast, the sight did inspire a little research. I thought I’d find out more about the bait that half the lures in America imitate.

According to sources I could find, shad don’t just die-off in cold winter water (described as 41 degrees) but they actually have trouble swimming below 54 degrees. That little tidbit has given me some ideas about later in the year.

But now, with the spawn obviously going strong, I discovered something else. “Spawning begins when surface temperature at dawn exceeds 62 F and may continue until surface temperature exceeds 83 F.” The suspected delay in this activity in the Inland Empire could then be directly attributed to alternately warm days and then very chilly nights, not letting the morning water temp get to 62.

The eggs hatch in two to four days, but how fast they get into bait size was not described. I can only refer to what happens over at Lake Mead where the striped bass “slurp” shad larvae on the surface. They slurp because the bait is too small to single out.

Another factor in the shad spawn is their own forage availability. The data suggests the best time is when plankton (but not algae) is readily available. And as we’ve always been told, two to as many as three years is all these baitfish live.


4 Responses to “Conditions finally right: shad spawn at Elsinore”

Didja happen to find out when those Syxe Citrus Shad spawn? 🙂

by George Kramer

Such mysteries cannot be shared here…

I’m sure that “Sxe Shad” and “Chartreuse Shad“ spawn daily at places like Newbury Park (Roboworm) and Japan (Lucky Craft). Haha!

Understanding the forage base is another element to enjoy as we play with the fishing puzzle.

Yesterday I saw shad spawning at Lake Nacimiento. Surface temperature was at 64 in the morning and 71.5 in the afternoon. From previous seasons I had learned to expect to see the shad spawn in May. So it was a bit of a surprise to see them. The serendipitous arrival of your blog on temperature influence is a timely nugget.