published January 31, 2010 by Ben Adams

Fishing the Shad Kill

The highlight of the winter fishing season is the shad kill. As the surface temperatures on the lakes in the White River System drop, threadfin shad move down through the various lake layers or thermo clines in an effort to find more comfortable water temperatures.

When the water surface temperatures reach forty two degrees or lower, the shad end up near the bottom of the lakes. Once they are there, they are vulnerable to being drawn through the turbines, when there is generation.

What makes the shad kill such a spectacular fishing event? Well it is mid winter and bitterly cold. In addition there is a lot of generation. These conditions tend to turn off a lot of anglers. What makes this a big deal is that it takes place below Bull Shoals Dam where the big browns have been spawning. Brown trout do not eat during the spawn. So you have large hungry fish that are ready to feed aggressively.

Couple that with the fact that most of these fish are located in the Catch and Release section below Bull Shoals Dam which has been closed for three months. These fish haven’t seen a fly during that time. Then we get cold temperatures and high levels of generation which creates the shad kill and all of a sudden huge amounts of food are blown through the generators creating a feeding frenzy.

Check out the full article in the Arkansas Fishing Forum.

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Ben Adams

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