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Delaware River Shad Fishing Reports - 2017


Andrew and Steve Meserve mix fish roe and chicken eggs to create a unique dish (Travel Channel)

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

4/21 Report
4/20 Report
4/18 Report
4/17 Report
4/15 Report
4/14 Report
4/13 Report
4/12 Report
4/11 Report
4/10 Report
4/7 Report
4/4 Report
3/29 Report
3/22 Report

Lewis Fishery Report, 4/21/17
The sun was out during the day but decided to go away just in time for use to go fishing. Still a bit of a breeze but not bad at all. The water temp was 59F and the river was at 2.01' @ 6:30pm. We are still using the 190 yards of net.We were rewarded with 12 buck and 14 roe (and that was all the roe in the haul). We also threw back 39 shad. There were also 6 smallmouth bass, 7 catfish, 1 sucker, 46 gizzard shad and 3 quillback in the nets tonight. That brings our total for the year (with the revised numbers for Monday) to 457. Not bad for only have been fishing for 8 days.

Lewis Fishery Report, 4/20/17
Got a little cooler last night (4/19). Pretty gray too. Still had the wind up from the south. Not quite as bad as Tuesday night, but still had to allow for it. That old net we added on Monday is getting bigger and bigger holes in it so it took some time to make repairs. The water temp dropped to 58F. And the river itself dropped to 1.89' by 5:45.

By the time we went out at 7 it was starting to creep back up. It was 1.93' by then. It got up to 2.1' @ 12:15am before it started dropping again. We ended up keeping 8 bucks and 12 roes. We returned 25 shad. We also had 8 smallmouth bass, 12 catfish, 7 suckers, 51 gizzard shad, 1 carp, 10 quillback and 1 walleye.

My bigger news is that after rechecking the tally sheet for Monday night I discovered there were a number of shad not accounted for in the final number for returned shad. I had reported 113 returned. I double checked the "ticks" and found there the number should have been 218! That makes the total for the haul 298! I know there was a haul of 440 in 1963 and there was a haul of over 500 in the 90's (never got an exact count for that one. It was while we were tagging for the state and there is a good story there, but you have to come to the island to hear it). We are now well over the total number we caught for all of last year (367).

We'll be out there again tonight. Hope the good catches continue.

Lewis Fishery Report, 4/15/17
Yet another beautiful night on the river. There was a bit of a breeze coming out of the south. Almost had whitecaps on the water. Water temp was 60F (I expect it to drop a bit tonight). The river is running at 2.26'. We kept 6 bucks and 22 roe. We returned 94 shad. We haven't had back to back 100+ shad days since the 90s I think. We also had 4 smallmouth bass, 2 catfish, 15 gizzard shad, 1 walleye and 4 quillback. The river looks to be dropping slowly for the the next couple of days so there should be some good numbers into the weekend.

Lewis Fishery Report, 4/17/17
It was a beautiful evening on the river tonight. With all the reports I had been getting I thought we might be in for a good night. I wanted to add another 50 yards on but ended up adding 100 yards a bit by mistake. Sometimes 2 nets can look like one. So we made the best of it and headed out. I figured we would make the haul and then I could change the net around again Tuesday night. Had a good group of folks out to watch and help.

We were all rewarded with a really nice haul of shad. We wound up keeping 62 roe and 18 bucks. We returned 113! I have detailed data on our hauls back to 2003. The biggest haul in that time period is 164 in 2013. And 2013 was the year we had over 1000 shad total for the year. Tonight we also got 74 gizzard shad, 2 quillback, 1 herring and 1 smallmouth bass.Water temp was 58F and we were fishing 190 yards of net (we needed to take about 10 yards off because the sea end of the net was in such bad shape). We'll be out again Tuesday night.

Lewis Fishery Report, 4/15/17
Sorry this is late getting out. Too much to do for the holiday this weekend. The river got down to 3.06' Saturday morning. Temp was at 56F and we still had 100 yards on the boat. Saturday mornings are not our best times to fish but my wife told me we would get some. And she was right. We got 10 bucks and 2 roe. We returned only 2.

The river was already down to 2.42' at 9:45am today so it looks like another 100 yards of net for tonight. I hope the little bit of rain that is in the forecast for the rest of the week will keep it from falling too far and we can keep it going around the point for the rest of this week into next week. I'll put out tonight's report latern in the evening.

Lewis Fishery Report, 4/14/17
We Got Shad! Great night on the river. Made all the better by getting shad. The river has dropped to 3.38'. The temp was 56F. We ran 100 yards of net again. We ended up with 8 roe and 4 buck. We returned another 7 shad. There was also 14 Gizzard shad. We'll go out again tomorrow about 10:30am.

Lewis Fishery Report, 4/13/17
Another nice night on the river. River was down to 3.71'. Temp looks like it was about 53F (still working with the backup thermometer). We had 100 yards on. Still no fish. We did have a tie-up in the net that didn't help and we are still dragging through a bunch of mud at the point. We'll be out again tonight. Keeping fingers crossed.

Lewis Fishery Report, 4/12/17
And finally it begins. We were able to make our first haul tonight. It was great to see the crew back on the island. There were even a few new ones. The river was at 4.08' and falling. Didn't really get a temp. The thermometer we had to use was a Celsius one and I'm not sure if was reading correctly. I'll find our Fahrenheit one for tomorrow night. We had 100 yards of net on and caught zip. We didn't even have much debris. Still, it was a great night to be on the river. We'll go out again tomorrow.

Lewis Fishery Report #2, 4/11/17
So, as of 6pm, when we typically go out, the river was at 4.54' in Lambertville. Still about 0.2' higher then I can fish at. At the 8:45pm reading the river was at 4.48'. The forecast is for the river to be at 4' by 8pm Wednesday. If that is the case we will make a haul. We did end up spending tonight cleaning up the bank as much as we could. Thanks to everyone that came down to help. If things continue as they are you should get the first official Lewis Fishery Report tomorrow at about this time.
Lewis Fishery Report #1, 4/11/17
Just the quickest of notes. The river is looking to be at about 4.5' by 8pm today. Just about where we can start. What ever crew I can get for tonight we will at least get some of the debris off the bank. If we can we will go out. I'll send an update later tonight.

Lewis Fishery Report, 4/10/17
As of 11:45am the river at Lambertville was at 5.3' and dropping. The forecast is for it to get to 4.5' by 8pm 4/11. That would be just about where we could start fishing (really we are looking for 4.3'). The boat is in the water at least so as soon as we do reach a level we can fish at we will be good to go.

As an aside, for anyone that thought that geometry wasn't necessary in school, try putting a boat into the water without taking a good look at the angle of descent. You can end up with a boat full of water real fast. In the end all was well. We were even able to get a tree off the bridge to the island and send it downstream. I hope to get to the river tonight and finish making up the net we will use to start. I will send out an update tomorrow and make a call one way or the other by early afternoon.

Lewis Fishery Report, 4/7/17
Just another quick update on things on the river. More rain means more river. The river bottomed out at 5.39' at 2:45pm on 4/6. At 9:45pm it was up to 7.68 and still rising. The forecast crest is now 8.2' at 8am Saturday 4/8. IT should start falling sometime after 2pm on Saturday and reach 5.1' at 8pm Monday 4/10. That will put us about a foot from being able to go out and fish. I hope to be able to dump the boat in sometime on Sunday. Keeping fingers crossed that we will actually get on the river early next week. I'll send out an update sometime on Sunday. Enjoy your weekend.

Lewis Fishery Report, 4/4/17
Just a quick update on things on the river in Lambertville. Currently the river is at 5.18' (@11:45 AM). That's about a foot higher than we can fish at. The forecast is currently for the river to reach 8.3' about 8 AM on Friday 4/7 and will continue to rise. There is a new product available on the Trenton ( and Belvidere ( river forecast pages that looks 7 days out.

It's not looking good for getting out before next week sometime. Both pages have the river coming up to a crest sometime tomorrow, settling down just a bit and then going a little higher by the weekend. All we can do is wait and see what the river offers us. I'll be keep you all posted.

Lewis Fishery Report, 3/29/17
The good news is that I had a good crew on Saturday and the nets are out of the cabin and everyone can get to their boots. We were even able to clear the path of 3 fallen trees. The bad news is the rains came and as of 8:45pm the river at Lambertville is at 4.95'. My wife and I went down to take a look and it's too high to fish by almost a foot. And the forecast into the weekend is not looking much better. I just looked (at 9:25pm) and the graph shows the river getting up to 5.6' by 2pm tomorrow, coming down to 5.1' by 2pm Friday and then getting up to 6.2' by 8am Saturday (let's hope it's an April Fools), and that 6.2' doesn't even look like the crest.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed for a better (less rain) forecast as we hit the weekend and everything settles down for the beginning of next week. Maybe the boat goes in Monday or Tuesday and we can start making hauls Wednesday (ever the optimist). We'll just have to wait and see what Mother Nature will allow us to do. She's funny that way.

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, 3/22/17
OK, I know this is way late. Sorry for that. There has been a lot going on this winter. If you asked me 6 weeks ago I would have said we would be fishing for a week by now. As it turns out Mother Nature has other ideas. Looks like we'll get started around 4/1. Keeping fingers crossed that the weather gets better for us. I will update you all over the weekend after we start getting the gear out of storage.

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

Steve Meserve
Lewis Fishery
1 Lewis Island
Lambertville, NJ 08530


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Last Updated: April 21, 2017