Shad Grab 2010 (straight from the gravel bars)

Yuba River
Healthy Flows=Bonus opportunity.

Hey— haven’t forgotten about you! We’ve all had our nose to the grind, hanging out on the gravel bars tending our Private shad camps and dealing with the elements. No rest for the weary yet somebody has got to do it. 27 years into it —still with a smile. This year finding a good shad grab is about as difficult as finding receptive steelhead. Good thing most shadders are steelheaders and steelheader’s shadders, callused and thick skin. I cannot remember a shad season (spring-early summer) that has served up some of the most unpredictable conditions ever! Low flows-high flows-cold water temps. unseasonably cool weather, wet weather, windy weather, rising barometers—you name it and Ma nature has dealt it. Now add it all up, shake it good, and try and convince yourself it’s shad season.

Chris & John
CB with John’s 1st Shad.

Our first camp was blessed with lead fish, some pressing 5 lbs., stable flows and promising prospects. However the second day of the camp someone brought out the bad juju and pissed off the river Gods. What first appeared to be a solid grab turned into a rancid pipe dream? Within an 8 hr. period the river blew out, rising from a perfect 3200cfs. to over 7,000cfs…Ug—ever been there???Fortunately our camp was not flooded yet we did have to shift gears scoring plenty more favorite bevs and icing’em down for the series of wild activities that overshadowed rising waters. Challenging conditions to say the least. Thank God for those who understand — It is what it is…

Shad fishing
Hugh applying full flex.

High, fluctuating waters has dominated our most recent camps and despite forever changing conditions we managed to find some decent pods of hungry shad along with three rattlers and random scorpions… Tom Morehouse & gang, Roland Kumagi & friends, Bob Pauli & associates, Larry Brown, Hugh Wilpole, Leo Lacosse, the Lattinies (Ray-Little Ray-Nick-Gino),Bob Vogenthaler, Jay Demit, Don Baum, Francis Freenor, the “head Hunters” (Ray Kimball-Bob Jones-Glenn Burton-Kerry-Jason Palmer-Johnny Rocker- Allan Kagada Guggia-Ed Prior-Jerry(Gladis Night & the pips)Herbert, Chad Sayre, Justin “woodie” Garwood, & Jik-Daddy-Boom-Ba-Flap-Jaw- ALL scored on some fun with top rod going to Ray Sardo (tallying 26 shad in a two hr. session)! Had to hang with it and dig’em out. However for unpredictable, lean years such as 2010, getting a few is much better than the guys that brought home the goose egg …Making the rewards just that much sweeter.

Shad Camp tents
Home sweet home.

For those unfamiliar with the west coast’s poor man’s steelhead (American Shad) —I strongly suggest reading The Founding Fish by John McPhee. (Always available at T.F.S.). Great informative reading that unveils history, passion and devotion of those pursuing this magnificent anadromous fish. What does future 2010 shad prospects look like? Investing 31 years of shading—this year we’re still in question. So your guess is as good as ours. But keep in mind. Spring runoff has been prolonged by heavy snow packs that have retarded runs as much as 2-3 weeks. Current movements of fish are bright and well conditioned—still weeks from spawning. The novelty has somewhat worn off and already some anglers are shifting gears and moving on to other options. However I feel compelled to remind those with an open ear and an optimistic approach—We’ve smoked’em right through the first week of August. Late season shad grab anyone?

Eric & Shad Shad Camp good eats
Eric relfecting shad
Come hungry.