Regional Reports-East

Delaware River

The annual Delaware River shad run is short-lived but a whole lot of fun. Typically beginning in mid- to late April and peaking in May, hundreds of thousands of these determined fighters return from the sea, swim up the Delaware to spawn and expire. Medium to light gear with 6- to 8-pound-test is what you need. Cast to river channels and any kind of bottleneck, such as wingdams. When water conditions are high, cast to back eddies where schools of shad tend to stack up. Fish seem to respond equally well to shad darts and flutter spoons. Baits usually don't work. Some good public access points are the Penn-Salem Marina on Route 49 in Salem; the Mercer County ramp in Trenton on Lamberton Street; and Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area ramps at the Water Gap, Poxono Access and Depew Recreational Site. Contact: New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife shad hotline (610-954-0577).