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Author Topic: Shad Fishing at Bonneville  (Read 4979 times)

Offline bearpaw

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Shad Fishing at Bonneville
« on: June 24, 2022, 09:20:10 AM »
I've wanted to try shad fishing for several years, one of our regular turkey hunters does it every year, he smokes them and cans them, he gave us a jar of fish to try and some shad darts to get us started fishing. We liked the smoked/canned fish so three of us decided to go shad fishing earlier this week. Prior to going I read about shad fishing and watched a few youtube videos which all really helped us to understand how to start fishing for them.

I wasn't sure if we would do any good but some people say you can catch a boatload and that they will hit almost anything when they are hitting, so we went prepared for anything with a small freezer in the back of the truck, several sizes of fishing poles, and various tackle to try.

My first cast I hooked a fish but lost it next to the bank. Went a while before hooking another, it seemed like I needed to let my rigging go deep for the best action, I only landed one fish of the first nine I hooked. I decided I needed to iighten my drag and not horse them in, that seemed to work better, I started landing more fish, probably about fifty/fifty or two out of three I landed after taking it easy on them. We fished most of the day, we caught fish at times and had several dry spells for an hour or so at a time. The shad are good fighters, we had a lot of fun landing them.

A guy that spoke english (most people there were talking in different languages) said it was really slow, he said the day before he was hooking a fish for about every minute of fishing time. We ended up catching 11, 11, and 14, so 36 fish for three guys fishing most of the day. It was good action at times and enough fish to have fun and consider it a successful trip. I saw a couple other people that caught quite a few more than we did, but most people caught less than we did. I guess it was just an off day for catching.

I cleaned all my fish before leaving, I put the fish guts and filleted skeletons in a bucket, I wasn't sure if I could throw them back in the river there or not? It was nice to get home with frozen fish (in the mostly empty freezer, lol).

I filleted 7 fish for smoking and canning, the fish I filleted I removed the skin and dark meat off the sides of the fish, figured it might be strong tasting like the dark meat on tuna. I left 4 fish whole and only removed heads guts and fins, I want to try deep frying a fish and smoking/canning one in larger chunks, I would like to try some other recipes with a couple of the fish. If someone has any good recipes to offer I would sure like to try a few variations and find what tastes best.

The smoked/canned fish I had before was very good. I'll try to remember to comment about how the fish tastes after trying a few different ways of cooking them.

If we go fishing for them again I think I will take a boat, sitting and standing on those rocks on the bank all day was very uncomfortable. Everyone was bank fishing so maybe boats are not allowed to fish for shad below the dam? Does anyone know?

Are there better places to fish for shad with a boat?

Added a couple photos, myself holding up a fish, and buddies Ray holding a fish and Mike reeling one in.
« Last Edit: June 24, 2022, 09:47:31 AM by bearpaw »
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Offline JJB11B

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Re: Shad Fishing at Bonneville
« Reply #1 on: June 24, 2022, 09:24:01 AM »
we catch them for bait. great thing to take kids to fish for.
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Offline Sandberm

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Re: Shad Fishing at Bonneville
« Reply #2 on: June 24, 2022, 09:38:19 AM »
If anybody has a brine recipe for smoking, let us know. Any special prep work you do to remove bad tasting parts etc.

5, 6 years ago when there was a big run i went fishing for them and had a blast, caught lots and was very impressed with the fight they put up. At times there was a hit on every cast. I cooked up one and thought it tasted fine, then the next trip i brought a few home and cooked em up...tasted terrible, like dirt.

And yes, i was the only white guy fishing for them. The bank was lined with who i thought were SE Asians, Laotians , Vietnamese I was guessing.

Offline bearpaw

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Re: Shad Fishing at Bonneville
« Reply #3 on: June 24, 2022, 09:50:16 AM »
My friend that got me started said they (4 guys) caught 200 fish the last time he went a couple weeks ago. I messaged him asking for his canning recipe.
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Re: Shad Fishing at Bonneville
« Reply #4 on: June 24, 2022, 11:34:21 AM »
Bearpaw
Your thinking about cleaning is right, nice clean white meat.  Brine in favorite mix.  Smoke then pressure cook can them with good olive oil, 2tablespoons.  That will soften cook what bones are left in.  If you like kippered heriring, this is the way to go.  After a month of curing in the can open fry the filets and butter the scramble eggs after——killer

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Offline PointBlank

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Re: Shad Fishing at Bonneville
« Reply #5 on: June 24, 2022, 12:42:02 PM »
They make excellent lingcod and halibut bait! Fished ilwaco last weekend and spanked them tipping our gear with bloody shad
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Offline Jolten

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Re: Shad Fishing at Bonneville
« Reply #6 on: June 24, 2022, 03:38:28 PM »
Gotta watch the fish counts at the damn. When the fish counts at the peak it's pretty awesome how fast you get hooked.
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Offline metlhead

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Re: Shad Fishing at Bonneville
« Reply #7 on: June 24, 2022, 07:49:49 PM »
I keep 3 or 4 every year, grind them up and mix with Pro Cure bloody tuna. That goes into a bunch of 2oz plastic jars. One jar will pack superbaits all day and salmon love it.

Offline h2ofowlr

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Re: Shad Fishing at Bonneville
« Reply #8 on: June 24, 2022, 08:27:20 PM »
I enjoy chasing them.  Good fighters and I user them for crab, lings and halibut.
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Offline carpsniperg2

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Re: Shad Fishing at Bonneville
« Reply #9 on: June 24, 2022, 09:09:35 PM »
Little dicknite spoons also slay them. More expensive to lose fishing from shore. If you are on a boat they would be great!

If you bomb up this way again let me know and I will hook you up with some enhanced shad darts I tie up.
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Offline LongBomb

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Re: Shad Fishing at Bonneville
« Reply #10 on: June 24, 2022, 10:04:22 PM »
Ive only been below the john day dam. Not sure how it compares fishing wise but on the washington side theres plenty of beach to fish from instead of the rocks.

Offline PointBlank

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Re: Shad Fishing at Bonneville
« Reply #11 on: June 25, 2022, 08:12:50 AM »
I keep 3 or 4 every year, grind them up and mix with Pro Cure bloody tuna. That goes into a bunch of 2oz plastic jars. One jar will pack superbaits all day and salmon love it.

I will have to give that a try sounds interesting…
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Offline HUNTINCOUPLE

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Re: Shad Fishing at Bonneville
« Reply #12 on: June 26, 2022, 10:24:00 PM »
Fished with Carp and brought a bunch home and canned. Just followed Bety Crocker canning fish and only adding teaspoon of sea salt. When you open the can its only a mild smell and the shad is fantastic. Very mild taste.  Both kiddos love it. Wife won't touch it with the thought of a shad?  :chuckle: Makes great dip with crackers and sandwiche spread. Definitely on over looked resource for table fair.
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Offline pd

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Re: Shad Fishing at Bonneville
« Reply #13 on: June 27, 2022, 09:58:11 AM »
Yikes.  I can't imagine sitting on those rocks for 10 minutes, let alone an entire day.  Next time, bring a lawn chair!

It looks like fun.
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Offline bearpaw

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Re: Shad Fishing at Bonneville
« Reply #14 on: June 27, 2022, 10:49:33 AM »
Ive only been below the john day dam. Not sure how it compares fishing wise but on the washington side theres plenty of beach to fish from instead of the rocks.

Great information, thanks
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