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Delaware River Shad Fishing Reports - 2015


Every year American shad migrate up the Delaware River to spawn. The numbers and timing of the "shad run" vary year to year depending on water temperature and conditions. Having accurate, up-to-date information on the run can greatly impact on angling success and enjoyment. Fortunately, there are resources anglers can use to get this information.


In addition to the postings below, anglers can utilize the following resources:

"The Big D" - 2006 Freshwater Fishing Digest article about the river and its fisheries. (pdf, 165kb)
Why You Should Care About What Fish (Shad!) Swim With You In N.J. Rivers -, 3/24/15

5/19 Report
5/18 Report
5/14 & 15 Report
5/11 Report
5/6 Report
5/5 Report
5/4 Report
5/1 & 2 Report
4/30 Report
4/29 Report
4/28 Report
4/27 Report
4/24 & 25 Report
4/23 Report
4/22 Report
4/21 Report
4/20 Report
4/17 & 18 Report
4/16 Report
4/15 Report
4/14 Report
4/13 Report
4/12 Report
4/9 Report
4/8 Report
4/7 Report
4/6 Report
4/3 Report
3/24 Report
3/13 Report

Lewis Fishery Report, 5/19/15
Another temperature swing and it's summer again. And EVERYBODY was on the river tonight. We still had the 300 yards on. THe temp was 74F and the height was +0.21'. Up almost 0.3' from yesterday. When it's this low that looks like a lot.

For all the hard work and dodging others on the river we got 3 bucks, 4 smallmouth bass, 26 catfish, 1 gizzard shad, 1 BIG carp and 4 striped bass. Much as I hate to say it I think that was the last haul of the year. We may try one next Thursday just for fun. I will let you know. I will send out an e-mail next week with some totals for the year.

Lewis Fishery Report, 5/18/15
OK, so what month is it again? Thought it was May looking more like August last week. Tonight it was more like early April with a fog/mist hanging over the river.

The river temp was 70F and the height was -0.15.The number of shad looked more like later May, only 1 buck. We also got 5 smallmouth bass, 20 catfish, 3 gizzard shad, 1 carp, 1 quillback and 5 striped bass. Still with 300 yards of net. We will go out again tomorrow night. After that, we'll see.

Lewis Fishery Report, 5/14-15/15
You can tell the season is starting to wind down. More and more scheduling conflicts with school events and family gatherings.

We did go out on Thursday. The water temp was 73F and the height was -0.14' Looking more like the middle of summer now. We got 2 bucks and a roe. We also got 4 smallmouth bass, 30 catfish, 1 sucker, 1 carp, 1 quillback and 2 striped bass. We stayed in on Friday.

We will be on the water Monday. Keep your fingers crossed that we get a little rain this weekend that brings the river up a bit, or at least keeps it form falling any more. I really don't want to go to 340 yards (from the 300 Thursday). And my crew REALLY doesn't want to go to that.

Lewis Fishery Report, 5/12-13/15
What a change in the weather from Monday to Wednesday. But first Tuesday. The water temp was 76F and the river height was 0.01'. We were still at 100 yards and netted ourselves only 1 buck shad. We also had 5 smallmouth bass, 1 catfish, 5 gizzard shad, 2 quill back and 1 striped bass.

Wednesday the water temp fell to 68F with a strong NW wind. The river height was -0.11' (that's right, below zero). Getting to be more like summer river heights. We got 0 shad for our work. We did get some catfish, quill back and a couple smallmouth bass. We will be out again tonight but right now it looks like we will take a break on Friday and Saturday. We will definitely be out on Monday.

Lewis Fishery Report, 5/11/15
After a couple days off it was good to get back to the river. We also had the added excitement of a TV crew filming the haul. I'll have more on that when I get an air date. To that excitement we also had a boat almost get into the net. What fun when the weather starts getting warm. And speaking of warm the water temp was up to 76F. The height was 0.06'. We went to 300 yards of net. I don't have all the fish numbers but we kept 3 roe and 5 bucks. We also had 2 nice sized striped bass.

We'll sweat it out there again tonight. It looks like the season is starting to wind down so if you think you want to come out and see us it might be good to give a call and make sure we will be going out.

Lewis Fishery Report, 5/6/15
After a few sprinkles on the way home from work it turned into a great night. Water temp was up to 64F. The river has fallen to 0.6'. We tried a little different haul to try to avoid a bunch of debris we have been picking up (That really didn't work. 2 logs in the net). We did do OK though, getting 7 bucks, 6 smallmouth bass, 14 catfish, 1 sucker, 1 gizzard shad and 6 quillback.

We will not be going out tonight, Friday or Saturday. We will be back fishing Monday 5/11.

Also, if you are looking to get you name on the list for fish, please call 908-334-7587.

Lewis Fishery Report, 5/5/15
Well, the showers stayed away for us tonight. Drove through some sprinkles on the way home from work. River temp was up to 67F. The river was down to 0.68'. Made a few small adjustments to the way we would fish the haul in hopes of better results. Didn't work out that way. We only got 1 buck. We also got 1 smallmouth bass, 11 catfish, 3 gizzard shad and 1 striped bass. We'll be at it again tomorrow before a couple of nights off. We will not be fishing Thursday, Friday or Saturday.

Lewis Fishery Report, 5/4/15
What a very pretty night tonight was on the river. Water temp was only up to 62F and the river height was only down to 0.83'. We still only got 6 bucks. We also got 1 smallmouth bass, 4 catfish, 13 gizzard shad and 5 quillback. Another thing to note is that this was our first haul of the season where we pulled in on the side. We will be back at it tomorrow night (if the thunder storms don't show up).

BTW, We will not be fishing on Thursday, Friday or Saturday this week.

Lewis Fishery Report, 5/1-2/15
I'm playing catch-up again. It seems everything is happening all at once right now. The weather is perfect, the water is great and the fish are all starting to get into the nets.

Friday night was great on the river. Water temp was 60F and the height was 1.44. We were still able to go around the point. We kept 5 buck and 7 roe and returned 16. We also had 3 catfish (big ones), 1 sucker, 10 gizzard shad 5 quillback and 1 walleye. Saturday we kept 1 roe and 2 bucks and returned one. There were other things in the net but I don't have the paper with me. Looks like we will be on the side tonight. Might even need to go to 250 yards. I'll keep you posted.

Lewis Fishery Report, 4/30/15
Another great night on the river. We are still fishing 200 yards on net. The river temp is up to 60F. The height was at 1.58' for the first haul. We were rewarded with 15 bucks and 2 roe and we returned 4 shad. We also got 4 smallies, 45 gizzard shad, 1 carp and 6 quilback.

For the second haul the river was up to 1.59'. We got 6 bucks, 7 roe and returned 14. We also got a smallmouth bass, 2 catfish, 2 catfish, 37 gizzard shad and 4 quillback. Things are starting to get moving. More variety in the net the last couple of nights. should only get better the next few days. We'll keep you posted.

Lewis Fishery Report, 4/29/15
What a great night on the river. No wind to speak of. Air temp in the low 70's/hi 60's. The water temp was 56F. We made 2 hauls. The river was at 1.82' for both. In the first one we got 13 bucks, 7 roe, returned 6. We also got 1 sucker, 19 gizzard shad and 4 smallmouth bass. We needed a few more so we made the second haul. The sun was just setting. Perfect.

Everything was going great until we noticed the wake in the water heading up river. Our beaver was making his way toward the net. I hoped that he would turn and get below us before we made the shore. No such luck. He kept making his way upstream while the net went downstream. It ended up that he stuck around until there was only about 10 yards of net left to pull in. We were able to get the cork line down enough to let him get over. With all that we were still able to get 5 bucks, 4 roe and return 15 (small bucks). We also got 1 catfish, 19 gizzard shad and one quillback (and the beaver).

I think the rain will hold off for tomorrow. Should be another good night.

Lewis Fishery Report, 4/28/15
What a beautiful night on the river. There was still a pretty stiff breeze coming in from the northwest. The river was up to 56F and down to 1.94' for the first haul and then at 1.97 for the second haul. In the first haul we saw 13 buck and 5 roe. In the second we returned 5 shad, 1 catfish, 7 gizzard shad and 3 quillback. We kept 10 bucks and 6 roe. Not a bad night at all. There are high hope for tomorrow night.

Lewis Fishery Report, 4/27/15
Where did spring go? Seems we've slipped back into March. Water temp was 52F tonight and the height was 2.1'. Still have the 200 yards on from the weekend. Had a good wind out of the north north-west. Nothing horrid but it helped us get in a little faster. We netted 3 bucks, 1 sucker and one quillback. We will be at it again tomorrow.

As always, we are looking for any extra hands to volunteer. If you think you might be interested, come on down and check us out. We start about 6pm Monday to Friday and 10:30am Saturday.

Lewis Fishery Report, 4/24-25/15
Just a quick note to catch up. Friday was looking to be a good day on the river. We got out and netted 12 shad. 9 bucks and 3 roe. Water temp was 52F and the level was 3.09'. We decided to do another haul and got Zero.

Saturday morning was cold. River temp dropped to 48. We still had the 140 yards on and the level was 2.71'. We got 6 shad. That made us hopeful that we would have shad to show the crowd at 1. We decided to go up to 200 yards of net. The water warmed to 50F. It also came up to 2.75'. We got 17 shad. We decided to try another one and only got 3 shad, 1 sucker and 1 brown trout. All in all, not a bad day fishing. We'll be out for a demo haul tomorrow at 1. Next week could be very good.

Lewis Fishery Report, 4/23/15
Is it really the middle of April? Felt more like middle of March tonight on he river. Temp was down to 52F and height was down to 3.51'. Windy and coming out of the north-north-west. We took 40 yards off and fished with 100 yards. We got 1 roe and 1 smallmouth bass. With the warmer temps this weekend I have high hopes for next week. But then I always have high hopes for the next week. I'll keep you posted.

If you know anyone who would also like these updates just send the email address and contact info to me.

As always, we are looking for any extra hands to volunteer. If you think you might be interested, come on down and check us out. We start about 6pm Monday to Friday and 10:30am Saturday.

Lewis Fishery Report, 4/22/15
Went down to the river and was rewarded with good weather by 6. The river was still moving up but slowly and was at 3.62'. Temp was 58F. Kept the 140 yards on. Haul looked good. Zero fish. The one boat that was also out came over and reported he also didn't get anything. River has started to fall so we'll hope for better things tonight. I'll keep you posted.

Shad Fest is this weekend in Lambertville. We will go out at 10:30 and 1:00 on Saturday and 1:00 on Sunday. Weather looks great!

Lewis Fishery Report, 4/21/15
The river is on a steady rise at the moment. It was running at 2.72' at 6:45pm and is at 2.77' two hours later. The forecast is for it to top out at 3.7' at 2pm on Thursday and stay there until 2am Friday. Looks like the hauls for Shad Fest will be at the point.

Anyway, water temp has reached 58F. We kept the 140 yards of net on the boat and were rewarded with the most varied catch of the season. We had 6 buck shad, 1 smallmouth bass, 2 catfish, 4 suckers, 6 gizzard shad and 4 quillback.

There is rain in the forecast for tomorrow, but I'm going to wait to see what happens. Then the cooler weather comes in. Lows in the 30's tomorrow until Sunday night. Even then the lows are forecast for 40 and 41 Monday. I think the next two weeks will see some of our best fishing once the river settles out and temps come up again. As always, I'll keep you posted.

Lewis Fishery Report, 4/20/15
Just a quick note tonight. Canceled fishing due to the weather. Might have been able to make one but the thunderstorm warnings kept us out. I think we can go tomorrow. Will keep you posted.

BTW, Lambertville's Shad Fest is this weekend. We will be making hauls Saturday and Sunday at 1:00 p.m. for it. Check out for more details.

Lewis Fishery Report, 4/17-18/15
We had high hopes for Friday night. Warm weather, the river was up to 56F, the height was 2.42'. Still had 140 yards on. We did get 1 buck, 6 roe and returned 2. There was also 1 smallmouth bass. However there was also a 15-20' tree. That we got anything was great.

After getting some frustration out using a chainsaw we went out for a second haul. Temp still 56F and the river still at 2.42'. We ended up with 2 bucks, 1 roe and returned 1. Looks like they are still not in a big hurry to get upstream.

Saturday we were out about 11AM after a bunch of net mending. Water dropped to 52F and 2.2'. Net was still at 140 yards. We got 1 smallmouth bass. That's it.

It looks iffy for Monday night. Lots of rain coming in. Could be over 1.5" by the time it ends Monday night/Tuesday morning. If all that happens the river could be up to 4.3' by 8AM Wednesday. As always, we'll wait and see.

Lewis Fishery Report, 4/14/15
Another great night on the river. Warm, a bit overcast and just a slight wind out of the south. Water temp was 54F and the height was 2.75. Without a limb in the bag of the net we got 1 quillback, 1 sucker, 1 gizzard shad, 4 bucks, 11 roe and returned 6 American shad. Looks like a little rain is coming in tomorrow but we hope to still get a haul in. The start of next week is not looking great at this point but we will see what happens. I'll keep you posted.

Also, If you are looking to place an order please call 908-334-7587. This way, if I am already at the island, and therefore without internet access, we will not miss it. It will also let Sue keep better track of the order they come in.

Lewis Fishery Report, 4/15/15
Beautiful night on the river, well a little overcast, but still good to be on the river. It was running at 6.07' and 52F. We moved up to 140 yards. Everything looked great until the very end. That's when we saw the 4' limb tangled in the net. That would be enough to let anything we had out. We did have one nice roe for the effort. We'll be at it again tomorrow.

Lewis Fishery Report, 4/14/15
What started out as a gray damp day turned into a gray evening. But the river was at 3.28' and 48F. We were still fishing 100 yards of net (that will change tonight). We were rewarded with 4 bucks, 8 roe and one returned. Tonight should be a very good night. We'll add another 40 yards (it should be 50 but that's the size I have ready to go). I'll keep you posted.

Lewis Fishery Report, 4/13/15
What a great night to be on the river! River had fallen to 3.6'. Water temp is still 44F. Still have 100 yards on the boat. We ended up with 5 bucks, 15 roe and returning 10. All American shad, nothing else. I would have been happy with 2 (that was my prediction before the haul).

Right now it looks like the rain will be ending by 2pm tomorrow so we should be good for fishing tomorrow. By the way, that is the most shad caught in water that cold. The next closest is 29 @52.6F in 2004 and 26 @47F in 2003. Just thought you might want to know.

Lewis Fishery Report, 4/12/15
No new news today really. We did not fish Friday (PM) or Saturday (AM). The river was at 4.32 Friday night and got up to 5.12 Saturday evening. Spent the day Saturday moving more tree parts. 75+year-old ash trees are very heavy by the way. We'll be out Monday night. We should see a few I think.

Lewis Fishery Report, 4/9/15
Yet another gray, rainy cold night. Water temp is still 44F. We still had 100 yards of net on. Now the river is up to 4.31. No luck at all tonight. Zero fish. Not looking good for tomorrow night, but I've been saying that all week. I'll let you know.

Lewis Fishery Report, 4/8/15
A gray nasty night on the Delaware. Cold and misty. The water temp was 44F again. The river was up to 3.92' and coming up (very slowly). And yet we caught 1 shad, a buck. Go figure. Looks bad for tomorrow and Friday nights, but then again it did for tonight, and we did OK. As always, I'll keep you posted.

Lewis Fishery Report, 4/7/15
The rain held off until about 7 so we were able to get our haul in. Still fishing 100 yards. The river was at 3.79' and was 44F. Same result as yesterday, 0 fish. The next few days look iffy at best. The river forecast right now shows the river getting to 4.8' tomorrow and 6' Thursday before it starts to fall again. Oh, and there is rain through Friday night. I'll keep you posted on how it goes.

Lewis Fishery Report, 4/6/15
It is truly spring now. We made our first haul tonight. It is great to be back on the river, even if it is a little high for good fishing. River was at 4.3'. The temp ws 46F. We had 100 yards on. The result, no fish. Nothing. It was a beautiful night anyway. Depending on the weather and the river we may or may not be out tomorrow. I will keep you posted.

As always, we are looking for any extra hands to volunteer. If you think you might be interested, come on down and check us out. We start about 6pm Monday to Friday and 10:30am Saturday.

Lewis Fishery Report, 4/3/15
Looks we will be starting the season on Monday night. The river is still forecast to get up to 4.8' by Sunday but then it should start falling to where we can give it a try. If the rain holds off for tomorrow I will be at the island trying to get some more things ready for the season.

We had to have a big tree taken down and some of it is in our way. Another one will come down shortly. Hate to see them go but one you can see through at the base. The tree service is still trying to figure out how to cut it down without a guy up in it and still keep it out of the river. Better him then me. Keep your fingers crossed for Monday night.

Lewis Fishery Report, 3/24/15
I was down the island over the weekend and as usual there is tree work to be done before the season can start. Looks like Saturday and Sunday will be spent with chainsaws and not nets (well, maybe some mending to relax after the tree work). Right now I am looking at starting up April 4th. Keep your fingers crossed.

Lewis Fishery Report, 3/13/15
Well, it looks like we might be starting to get Spring! The snow is going away and the river is coming up. Time to start getting things ready. I hope to get out on the 28th but much will depend on the river and weather. I will keep you posted.

As always, we are looking for any extra hands to volunteer. If you think you might be interested, come on down and check us out. We start about 6pm Monday to Friday and 10:30am Saturday.

Steve Meserve
Lewis Fishery
1 Lewis Island
Lambertville, NJ 08530

If you (or anyone you know) would like to receive Lewis Fishery updates directly, send the e-mail address to


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Last Updated: May 20, 2015