Fisheries Program
Northeast Region
American shad
American shad

American shad (Alosa sapidissima)

Life History

Shad are part of the herring family. They are large (females can weigh 12 pounds) but their bodies are slim, compressed vertically. They spawn at dusk in freshwater releasing their eggs directly into the river water. Juveniles grow near where they hatch and migrate to the ocean when temperatures drop in the fall.


Newfoundland to Florida

Fun Facts

Shad may live to spawn more than once.

More Information

Video about the American shad life history

American shad profile (pdf - 931KB)

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Last updated: December 16, 2011
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