those of you who know me know that on friday i caught number 48 for my lifelist, a gizzard shad. anyone who has ever tried catching these will agree with me when i say they can be very frustrating. ive seen giant schools of them all feeding and thrown everything at them with no luck but i think after spending the last few weeks targeting them i think i have them down. first thing you need to know is where and when to fish. ive always seen them at the large rivers i fish but trying to pull one from a big body of water seems like a lost cause to me. best bet is to fish smaller rivers or discharges. ive been fishing a warm water discharge for the past few weeks and have seen them in the hundreds in there. typically the ones that you want to look for are going to be feeding in the main channel or right off a drop off on the body of water you are fishing. sometimes you will see them up close to shore tailing in large pods, when they are behaving this way you can get a take on a very small piece of crawler or wax worm but i reccomend small flies from size 14-22. the fly gear will also make it easier to put your bait into the group of fish without startling them. shad are extremely spooky fish and will dart off into the deeper water and be impossible to catch if you get to close. the shad that you may occasionally see feeding in the deeper water will be alot harder to spook and will also be easier to get a hook into. first thing you want to do is identify what the shad are feeding on. if its later in the year then it will probably be an insect of some sort so try to match the hatch. right now they will be feeding on large algae clumps as they float down the river so you will see alot of fish splashing around on the surface. try throwing flies that are the same color as the algae and dead drifting also globbing algae onto the hook (although difficult to keep it on) may work as well. four of the six shad that i caught were on size 16 olive scuds. it is interesting because it being march there wouldnt be scud in the water and also the body of water i am fishing wouldnt even be the right habitat for scud in the first place but the fly did look slightly similar to the algae that the fish were feeding on.
go here for the full article on fridays fishing on the discharge