navigation bar
  New Jersey Division of Fish & Wildlife New Jersey Division of Fish & Wildlife
njdep home f&w home

Delaware River Shad Fishing Reports - 2013

Lambertville's Shad Fest: Despite fishing ban, the shad must go on (
2013 American Shad Fishery Closure for All NJ Waters Except Delaware River and Delaware Bay

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 occasional postings below from Principal Fisheries Biologist Mark Boriek and others, anglers can utilize the following resources:

"The Big D" - 2006 Freshwater Fishing Digest article about the river and its fisheries. (pdf, 165kb)

6/7 Report (Final)
5/21 Report
5/20 Report
5/16 Report
5/15 Report
5/10 Report
5/9 Report
5/8 Report
5/7 Report
5/6 Report
5/4 Report
5/3 Report
5/2 Report
4/30 Report
4/29 Report
4/27 Report
4/26 Report
4/25 Report
4/24 Report
4/23 Report
4/22 Report
4/20 Report
4/18 Report
4/17 Report
4/16 Report
4/15 Report
4/13 Report
4/12 Report
4/11 Report
4/8 Report
4/5 Report
4/4 Report
4/3 Report
4/2 Report
4/1 Report
3/30 Report
3/23 Report
3/11 Report

Final 2013 Lewis Fishery Report, 6/7/13
Here are the numbers for the season:

American Shad - 1012 (Best year since the 1257 in 1995)
Smallmouth Bass - 111
Catfish - 712
Striped Bass - 5
Suckers - 89
Carp - 9
Trout - 2
Quillback - 52
Gizzard Shad - 1975

We made 37 hauls in 36 days. The average water temp was 57.5F (14.32C). The average river stage was 1.6'. The lowest was 0.38' and highest was 2.96'. Our biggest haul was 164 on 4/15.

That's about it. We'll start up again mid-March next year. I will send out an e-mail sometime late February or early March with an exact.

Have a good summer. Maybe we'll see you at the fireworks on the river some Friday night (

Steve Meserve
Lewis Fishery
1 Lewis Island
Lambertville, NJ 08530
(908) 806-3163
(908) 507-8197

Lewis Fishery Report, 5/21/13
For a night predicted to have showers and thunderstorms it was a beautiful night to be on the river. Then I remembered what happens when the temps get into the 80's. Crazy people come out. I am hoarse today because I had to yell at a boater coming at me full tilt and heading straight for the net. They did stop and move out of the way but it was exciting for a bit. Then the net got hung up on something right before heading for home. With all that we still managed to get one buck shad. There was also quite a number of catfish, a striper, a quillback and a few smallmouth bass. Exact number are still on the sheet at the island.

Anyway, that should do it for the year. All in all we netted more then 1000 American shad. I will send out some exact numbers tomorrow. We have not had that many since 1995. A very good year. More details tomorrow.

Lewis Fishery Report, 5/20/13
I thought I already sent one out for Friday but see I didn't. Anyway, another nice night on the water. River was down to 1.07' and 68F. We kept two roe and a buck. We also got 8 smallmouth bass, 111 catfish, 19 gizzard shad and 2 quillback. We didn't go out Saturday. We will be out again tonight. After that is up in the air. Depends on the orders, weather and general interest of the crew.

Lewis Fishery Report, 5/16/13
What a great night to be on the river. Sunny and nice. The river was down to 1.29' and up to 67F. We kept a roe and a buck. We returned 2. We also got 2 smallmouth bass, 77 catfish, 6 gizzard shad, 2 quillback, 1 striped bass and 1 walleye. We will be out again tonight. Saturday is up in the air. Depends on the orders and general interest of the crew. Gardens need tending and lawns need mowing.

Lewis Fishery Report, 5/15/13
Another catch-up email. First Monday. River was at 1.76' and 60F. We kept a buck and 2 roe. We returned 11 shad. We also had 5 bass, 41 catfish, 23 gizzard shad, a quillback and a striped bass.

Wednesday we were a little short-handed so we went down to 200 yards of net. The river was at 1.48' and 63F. We kept 3 buck and a roe. We returned 2 shad. We also had 9 smallmouth bass, 173 catfish, 2 suckers, 35 gizzard shad and a nice big walleye. We will be back out tonight and Friday as long as the weather holds.

Lewis Fishery Report, 5/10/13
We beat the rain tonight. We kept the 250 yards on again and fished it around the point. The river was at 1.79' and 68F. We ended up with 3 bucks and 9 roe. We returned 6 shad. We also got 9 smallmouth bass, 44 catfish, 11 suckers 85 gizzard shad, 1 carp, 3 quillback and 1 sunny. Still good numbers for this point in the season. The rain last night and today may back them up some. We'll take a pass Saturday and try again Monday at 6:30pm.

Lewis Fishery Report, 5/9/13
For all the reports of thunderstorms and rain it was a beautiful night on the river. We kept the 250 yards on and just fished it around the point. The river was at 1.37' and 62F. We ended up with 10 bucks and 8 roe. We returned 2 shad. We also got 4 smallmouth bass, 25 catfish, 18 suckers 109 gizzard shad and 1 striped bass. We'll be out there again tonight at 6:30pm.

Lewis Fishery Report, 5/8/13
Just a quick note, due to thunderstorms in the area last night we didn't go out. We'll see what tonight brings. River is already up to 1.21' @ 8:45am with a forecast of 1.8' by 8pm. Let's see if the rain will finish up by 6.

Lewis Fishery Report, 5/7/13
Dark gray clouds and some rain going down to the river so we left the net at 250 yards. River was at 0.43', a bit above the stage for Monday (0.38'). Water temp was down to 63F from 68F Monday. We ended up with 7 bucks, 7 roe and then 9 smallmouth, 20 catfish (3 that were monsters), 2 suckers, 28 gizzard shad, 4 quillback, 1 striped bass, 4 sunnies and 1 crappie. Now I just need to see if the rain and thunderstorms that are forecast are really on their way. It's not looking too good from here right now, but we'll see if we can be out there again tonight at 6:30pm or not.

Lewis Fishery Report, 5/6/13
Left the details in Lambertville last night but this is what I remember. The river was at 0.43' and 68F (I think). We ended up with 3 roe and 3 buck, returned 11 or 12. Still not a bad night. We had a bunch of catfish, gizzard shad, quillback and suckers. There were also a few smallmouth bass. It looks like if we get the rain they are forecasting the river will be back up close to 1' by Thursday (that is as far as the forecast is now). I'll be putting another 50 yards on for tonight. That will take up to 300 yards. We'll be out there tonight at 6:30pm again.

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, 5/4/13
The river went below 1' Saturday. It was at 0.93' and 60F. We added another 50 yards for a total of 250 yards of net. We ended up with 4 bucks and 2 roe. Not too bad for a Saturday. We also had 6 smallmouth, 12 catfish, 1 sucker, 210 gizzard shad (BTW, I hear they are great striper bait), 3 carp and 1 quillback. We'll be out there tonight at 6:30pm again.

Lewis Fishery Report, 5/3/13
After two nights off to it was another beautiful night to be on the river. The water temp was 66F and the river was at 1.01' We got 6 bucks. We also got 5 catfish, 8 suckers, 2 carp, 6 quillback, 4 smallmouth bass, 1 rainbow trout (16"+/-) and 99 gizzard shad. We will be out again today about 10:30am.

Lewis Fishery Report, 5/2/13
After two nights off to take care of some personal things we will be back on the river tonight (5/3). Just looked at the river stage and it is .98' as of 12:45pm. Looks like we will be on the side.

Lewis Fishery Report, 4/30/13
A very quick note about last night. We are still getting shad. 25 shad, 35 gizzard shad, 10 catfish, 5 quillback, 3 suckers and 1 walleye. I don't have the water temp with me but the river was at 1.44'. We will NOT be going out tonight. And as of the moment it looks like we won't be out Thursday. We should be back on the water Friday. I will keep you posted.

Lewis Fishery Report, 4/29/13
What a gray and rainy day. Almost called it all off but I had orders and the next two nights are gong to be touch and go with crew. Well I don't have the exact numbers for everything we caught but there were a total of 55 shad a few bass, suckers, carp, quillback and BIG catfish. And about 300 gizzard shad. Trying to fish through the gizzards to get the Americans was not fun and my crew and I have the cuts to prove it. So, if I can find enough rowers for tonight we will be at it again.

Lewis Fishery Report, 4/27/13
It was Shad Fest. weekend so we made two hauls Saturday. The first one the river was at 1.74' and 57F. we kept 1 buck and 2 roe. There were also 5 smallmouth bass, 4 catfish, 3 suckers 29 gizzard shad and 2 quill back. For the haul at 1pm the river was at 1.73' and 58F. We got a hang-up in the net and only ended up with 1 smallmouth bass and a striper.

Sunday we did a better job. Since it was a demonstration haul only the numbers are an estimate. There were about 20 shad, 2 smallmouth bass, 4 catfish and 150 gizzard shad. The river was at 1.49' and the temp was 60F. We'll be at it again tomorrow.

Lewis Fishery Report, 4/26/13
This is going to be a quick one. Getting ready for Shad Fest. River was at 1.94' and 58F. We got 8 roe and 8 bucks. We returned 13 shad. We also had 1 bass, 1 catfish. 2 quillback and 229 gizzard shad. Two hauls Saturday (10:30am and 1pm) and one Sunday (1pm).

Lewis Fishery Report, 4/25/13
What a beautiful night on the river. It just does not get much better then it was last night. I was late getting to the island due to a balky battery but the net was loaded and we were ready to go. It's interesting, at the start of the year not too many people were coming by to see the hauls. A couple weeks of great catches and the crowds are back. The river was at 2.17' and 58F. We got 13 bucks and 30 roe. We returned 73 shad and also had 1 smallmouth bass, 1 sucker, and 170 gizzard shad. Like I said, a beautiful night on the river.

Lewis Fishery Report, 4/24/13
Windy tonight. Mostly from the south. Not as bad as we've seen this year though. River is slowly dropping, reaching 2.16' by 7pm. Temp was 57F. Another great night. We kept 27 bucks and 27 roe. We returned 20. We also had 5 smallmouth bass, 2 catfish, 57 gizzard shad and 1 walleye. Could there be shad at Shad Fest? We'll see.

Lewis Fishery Report, 4/23/13
Another beautiful night on the river. And the river was at 2.44' and 54F. We kept 11 bucks and 7 roe. We returned 45 shad. We also had 1 catfish, 2 suckers and 13 gizzard shad. That puts us over 600 shad for the year. That makes this the best year in the last 10.

We are close to going over the total for 1998 which is 647. The river is perfect and the weather has been great. There are a bunch of shad in the river.

Lewis Fishery Report, 4/22/13
The river was just about the same as Saturday morning when we went out. It was 2.61' and 56F. The difference was that it was down from the crest of 3.03' on Sunday night. We kept 4 bucks and 12 roe. We returned 57. We also had 29 gizzard shad. We will be out there again tomorrow night @ 6:30pm.

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, 4/20/13
This is for Friday and Saturday. Decided to stay in on Friday. Weather just did not look good and I didn't want to be in the middle of the river when the thunder storms came in. Might have been OK, but weather is best forecast after the fact.

River was at 1.64' Friday. Saturday it was up to 2.67' and 54F. Didn't think there was going to be much out there so I took 100 yards off and decided to take my sister up on her offer to row if we only had 100 yards of net. We returned 2 shad (both bucks). We also had 1 bass, 1 gizzard shad and 1 carp. We will be out there again Monday night @ 6:30pm.

Lewis Fishery Report, 4/18/13
Back to gray and cool. At least there wasn't the wind. The river was at 1.69' and 58F. We ended up keeping 1 buck and 7 roe. We returned 79. Another great night. We also had 4 smallmouth bass, 2 catfish, 1 sucker and 45 gizzard shad. Will someone please find a use for these useless fish (the gizzard shad)? Anyway, I have a feeling that we will be off the river tomorrow night with the weather that is on the way.

Lewis Fishery Report, 4/17/13
What a perfect night on the river. No wind, clear skies, and warm. And shad are still there. We returned 45 and kept 3 buck and 5 roe. We also go 3 smallmouth bass, 2 catfish, 1 sucker, 1 quill back, 1 herring and 205 gizzard shad. The river was at 1.76' and 58F. Just about a perfect night (I could ask for a few less gizzard shad. They are nasty). Back at it tomorrow and then some rain coming in for Friday maybe.

Lewis Fishery Report, 4/16/13
Thought it was going to rain at one point. Then it turned out to be a nice night. Fishing was good too. The river was at 1.92' (could we please have a little rain to keep the river at this level? It's great for fishing!) and 58F. We ended up keeping 13 bucks, 34 roe and returning 53. We also got 5 catfish, 3 smallmouth bass, 4 suckers, 85 gizzard shad and 1 quillback. Another great night on the river. We'll be there again tonight about 6pm.

Lewis Fishery Report, 4/15/13
Windy night tonight. It was coming up from the south so the water was choppy. Made it a challenge to row the boat out. River was at 2.13' and 56F. Nice enough looking haul but still cool and mostly overcast. Finally got the net in and was rewarded with 164 shad (returned 112, 30 bucks and 22 roe). In the mix were also 3 catfish, 1 sucker, 30 gizzard shad and 2 walleye.

In the last 10 years (these are the easiest records for me to look at in this detail) our top three hauls were 65 (2010), 45 (2003) and 39 (2012). The 164 number also is more then we have caught in 6 of the last 10 years. That gives us an unofficial total of 251 so far this year. That would be 4th when compared to the last 10 years. I could go on, but it's late. We'll be at it again tomorrow.

Lewis Fishery Report, 4/13/13
Just figured out that I didn't send a report out for Saturday. Water was up to 2.56' and down to 53F. Saturdays are almost always bad for us so I almost called it off. But it was a great day and I had orders so out we went with 200 yards of net and a "modified" haul. For our effort we got 23 shad. We returned 11 and kept 12 roe. We also had 1 catfish, 1 sucker and 1 walleye. That's good fishing for us. Can't wait to go out tonight.

Lewis Fishery Report, 4/12/13
Another gray and dreary night. And we still got fish. The river was at 2.33 and rising. The temp was 52F. We returned 3 shad. We kept 2 roe. We also had 1 bass, 2 catfish, 6 suckers, 1 carp and 1 quillback. We'll see what tomorrow brings. The river may be coming up too fast to fish.

Lewis Fishery Report, 4/11/13
First, to catch up. We had the boat all loaded last night and then we saw the lighting. Then the rain came. So we took the night off. I didn't hold out much hope for tonight. The river came up over 8/10ths from 0.8' to 1.68' The water temp dropped from 62F to 59F. I had too much net and was short a rower.

Luckily we had a good bunch of kids from the high school to help get the net in. When it was all said and done we returned 5 shad, kept 8 bucks and 7 roes (some of the bucks looked like roes), 2 smallmouth bass, 6 catfish, 3 suckers, 7 gizzard shad and 3 quillback. Not bad for a night I thought we wouldn't ever bee able to fish. If the weather holds up we'll be out again tomorrow.

Lewis Fishery Report, 4/9/13
Wow! Get the river up to 60 (really 61F) and the fish really start moving. I don't have all the details with me but the highlights are 11 shad returned, 16 roe and 6 bucks kept. Water temp was 61F and the height was .88'. Hopefully the bad weather holds off until after we finish tonight and the cooler temps put the fish off for a few days.

Lewis Fishery Report, 4/8/13
A little warm weather and things change in a big way. We had to go to 250 yards of net and pull in on the side. Water temp was up tonight. River was running at .95'. We got 4 bucks and 1 row. We returned 2 shad. We also had 4 each of smallmouth bass, catfish, suckers and quill back. And there was 1 river chub. Things are looking up. hopefully we get some of the rain that is predicted and it will keep the river from going down too much more.

BTW, we ended up not going out Saturday. Too windy and a couple of the guys had things that needed taking care of. The time was spent adding the extra 50 yards on to the net and getting ready to put up a new utility pole. That's a long story that starts with a storm named Sandy.

Lewis Fishery Report, 4/5/13
Different night, same story. Not as windy but still cool. Water temp was 46F at 1.39'. We got 3 catfish and 7 suckers. I'll add another 50 yards today to try to get out a little further. Crew won't like it but catching fish changes everything.

Lewis Fishery Report, 4/4/13
Still windy and still cold, but not as bad on both counts. The water was at 44F and 1.56'. We got 1 catfish, 1 sucker and 1 river chub. We'll be out there tonight.

Lewis Fishery Report, 4/3/13
Another cold one onthe water tonight. Air temp was 42F and the water temp dropped to 45F. The river was up to 1.68'. All we had to show for our efforts was 1 smallmouth bass. We will be out again tonight.

Lewis Fishery Report, 4/2/13
Another windy night on the river. Felt even colder than Monday. River was at 49F and running at 1.6'. All we got for our troubles was 1 smallmouth, 1 sucker and 1 quill back. We'll be out again tonight.

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.

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

Lewis Fishery Report, 4/1/13
A bit windy but we got ourselves out there. All we got were 3 catfish, 1 smallmouth bass and one sucker. Water temp was 46F and the river was at 1.54'. We'll be out there again tonight and will try something a little different. They are getting them in the boats so they are out there.

Lewis Fishery Report, 3/30/13
We finally got in the water today. The river was at 1.63' and the temp was 44F. We had 2 smallmouth bass, 4 catfish, one sucker and one muskie. So we are off and running. We will be back at it Monday.

Lewis Fishery Report, 3/23/13
The cold weather has put us back a bit. Looks like we will start next Saturday, 3/30. Keep your fingers crossed. I'll keep you posted.

Lewis Fishery Report, 3/11/13
It's getting close. If the weather holds we will try going out 3/23 (first Saturday after St. Patrick's Day). Sandy didn't leave us too bad. We did have our utility pole break at the ground so I am working to get a new one delivered and up so we can get power up and running again. River is a little low right now but rain later this week will bring it up some. I'll write again with an update before we start.

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:

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


2012 Reports
2011 Reports
2010 Reports
2009 Reports
2008 Reports
2007 Reports
2006 Reports
2005 Reports
2004 Reports
2003 Reports
2002 Reports
2001 Reports

  Adobe Acrobat Some files on this site require adobe acrobat pdf reader to view. download the free pdf reader  
bottom footer contact dep privacy notice legal statement accessibility statement nj home nj home citizen business government services a to z departments dep home

division of fish & wildlife: home | links | contact f&w
department: njdep home | about dep | index by topic | programs/units | dep online
statewide: njhome | citizen | business | government | services A to Z | departments | search

Copyright © State of New Jersey, 1996-2013
Department of Environmental Protection
P.O. Box 402
Trenton, NJ 08625-0402

Last Updated: June 7, 2013