Like Atlantic salmon and Sea Trout, Shad is anadromous (freshwater-sea migratory). Adults live in estuarine or coastal waters and come into the lower freshwater or brackish reaches of rivers to spawn, normally in May and June. Spawning takes place on gravel around, or slightly above, the tidal limit. After hatching the larvae are carried by the river down to the estuary. Adult fish reach some 25-50cm in length.
These fish are:
- Listed as a UK priority species
- Irish Red Data Book classified as vulnerable
They are not invasive species, but are a rare and protected native species. Shad are listed in The Foyle Area and Carlingford Area (Prohibition of Unlicensed Fishing) (Prescribed Species) Regulations 2011 and as such are classified as coarse fish and as such catch and release is mandatory.
It is therefore important that any anglers that catch these fish must release them immediately unharmed.