Beautiful Fish: Shad -By Al Bezanson


A typical member of the herring tribe. Largest of the herrings that visit our gulf, growing to a length of 2 ½ feet.  One tagged in Chesapeake Bay was recaught 39 days later at Race Point.  The shad, like the alewife, spends most of its life at sea, and makes most of its growth there, but runs up into fresh rivers to spawn, the spent fish soon returning to salt water, and its fry running down also.

From Fishes of the Gulf of Maine by Bigelow and Schroeder, 1953

In the spring of 1778, the shad run in the Schuylkill River saved George Washington’s army from starvation at Valley Forge. Thus one could claim that this country owes its victory over the British to shad and, hence, the title of John McPhee’s book, The Founding Fish.

Al Bezanson

One thought on “Beautiful Fish: Shad -By Al Bezanson

  1. When you are hungry you be surprised at how much you like something you may otherwise miss. As stated in this article starving make do what’s at hand and abundant! 🙂 Dave & Kim 🙂


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