Preferred Habitat: Adults spend their lives in the Ocean from Georgia to Nova Scotia, but move into North Carolina freshwater rivers and streams to spawn in the spring. Juveniles spend their first year in freshwater and begin migrating to the ocean as water temperature drops in the fall.
Range: Coastal and undammed piedmont rivers.
Common size: 24 inches and 4 pounds. Approximate Maximum Size: 12 pounds
Food Habits: American shad feed on small food crustaceans, algae and insects by straining the water through their gill rakers.
Spawning: Adult shad migrate from the ocean into freshwater rivers as the water temperature approaches 55°F, usually in March and April. This species may migrate hundreds of miles upstream if their progress is unimpeded. Females will release in excess of 100,000 eggs in open water. The eggs will generally sink and be carried by river currents. After hatching, the young shad remain in the coastal areas of the rivers until they have grown enough to return to the ocean.
Miscellaneous: The American shad is a valuable commercial fish highly prized for the quality of its flesh and roe. The American shad provided an important food source for early American colonists and is still