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Delaware River Shad Fishing Reports - 2021


Anglers Asked to Report American Shad in the Paulins Kill and Musconetcong Rivers

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.


"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

4/15 Report
4/14 Report
4/13 Report
4/12 Update
4/9 Report
4/8 Report
4/7 Report
4/2 Report

Lewis Fishery Report, 4/15/21
Mother nature was at her best today. After being just gray most of the day I sent word to my crew that we would be going out tonight. About 15 minutes later it turned black at my house. A couple of guys thought I was nuts because it was pouring rain where they were. As it turned out it was just another gray damp night. The water temp was still at 56F. The water level was down just a bit again to 2.45'. We were still fishing with 200 yards on the boat and again fished it like 150.

I should take a moment here and explain about the pole that we broke last night. I've had a question about what it is used for. When the boat is heading into shore with anything more than 100 yards of net it can be a bit of a struggle. To help the two people rowing there is an 18-foot wooden pole with a steel point that is used to help the boat get into shore. Mostly what it does is keep the boat from drifting backward when the rowers have their oars out of the water. It gives a little extra help while the rowers are pulling on the oars. Without it it would be very difficult to get the net in.

Now back to our story.

For the haul we caught a total of 40 shad. We kept 0 bucks and 0 roe. We returned all 40 shad, 3 catfish and 7 gizzard shad. All the shad were returned because we had no one to buy any. For the year we are already over 200 shad caught (204 to be exact). And tonight was our 7th haul.

With the way the weather has been going I have no idea what to expect from tomorrow. I'm guessing that we will be able to get a haul in. Just have to keep one eye on the skies ( is not doing too well lately).

Lewis Fishery Report, 4/14/21
It's Wednesday so it must be time for a gray damp night. There was a chance of rain all day but only saw a little drizzle during the afternoon. The water temp was down to 56F tonight. The water level was down just a bit to 2.63'. We were still fishing with 200 yards on the boat but fished it like it was 150. That was because the crew noticed that the pole we use to help get the boat in broke last night. Lucky for us it happened when it came into the boat and not out in the river while it was being used. Now I need to find/make a new one. It's not something you can just pick up in Home Depot. Just what the captain needs, another project. Anyway, on to what you are really interested in.

For the haul we caught a total of 36 shad. We kept 5 bucks and 7 roe. We returned 24 shad and 4 gizzard shad.

Tomorrow is not looking too good for fishing right now. There is a 90% chance of rain and up to a quarter of an inch forecast. But who knows, we may get lucky. Just have to keep one eye on the skies and another on

Lewis Fishery Report, 4/13/21
What a beautiful night on the river. Clear and sunny. Not the gray and damp we had Monday night. The water temp was up to 59F and the height was 2.7'. We continued with the 200 yards of net. We brought in a total of 67 shad. We kept 2 bucks and 17 roe. We returned 48 shad, 3 catfish and 2 gizzard shad.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the rain forecast for Wednesday holds off until we can get a haul in. Looks like the river will be up over 4' sometime Friday morning. If that is the case we may be off the river for the end of the week (the weather forecast for Thursday is not looking good right now, but things can change).

Lewis Fishery Report, 4/12/21
It was a gray night on the river but Mother Nature decided to be good to us and not pour down rain. The river was up a bit at 2.44'. The temp was down to 54F. We still had the 200 yards of net working. A fine haul that brought in a total of 34 shad. We kept 5 bucks and 6 roe. We returned 23 shad, 2 catfish, 1 carp, 2 quillback and one Rainbow Trout. I'm sure that last one somehow found its way out of the canal trying to get away from the trout fishers on those banks.

Today (Tuesday) is shaping up to be the best of the week with rain coming in Wednesday afternoon and sticking around into Friday. Welcome to April and its showers.

Lewis Fishery Report, 4/9/21
What a change from yesterday. Instead of sunny and warm it turned gray and too cold. We still had 200 yards of net on. The water temp was 55F and the height was 1.99'. We had a 10-12' tree in the sea end of the net when we came in. Had to move it as close to shore as we could in a hurry. Then we had to use pullies and come-a-long to get it all the way up on shore so it can be cut up Saturday. We still managed to get 4 bucks nd 2 roe. We returned 5 shad. We also had 5 gizzard shad, 2 carp and 1 smallmouth bass.

It looks like there is rain coming in for a good part of the weekend. We won't go out tomorrow (Saturday) so we can take care of the tree mentioned above. That should take a good part of the afternoon and dull a couple of chainsaw chains. We'll go out again on Monday, weather and river permitting (looks like the river is only going to come up a bit with the weekend rain).

Lewis Fishery Report, 4/8/21
It was a warm but beautiful night to be on the river. We went to 200 yards of net. The water temp was reading 58F on our thermometer. We ended up with 6 bucks and returned 4. We also had 1 quillback. I'm keeping an eye on the weather. There are some showers in the forecast for tomorrow afternoon. If it holds off we'll be back a it. It's looking like a rainy weekend too.

Lewis Fishery Report, 4/7/21
I am glad to report that we were able to get out on the water this evening. We were getting a temperature of 57F but I think that was a bit high. As of 11:30pm the mean temperature reading from the Lambertville-New Hope bridge was 52F (11.0C). Anyway, we were running 150 yards of net. There was quite a crowd on the river tonight. Fishing boats, rowers and dragon boats. We ended up with 4 bucks, 2 roe, returned 2 and also had 2 quillback and a gizzard shad. While it was a bit warm on the river it was nice to be back at it again. We'll be back at it tomorrow night.

Take care and stay safe.

Lewis Fishery Report, 4/2/21

It's been a long winter. I hope this email finds you well and safe. We are finally getting ready to start the season. The nets are out and I hope to get the boat in the water in the next few days (Keep your fingers crossed the old Yamaha will start for me). Our bridge which we were going to replace in October 2019 (remember those days?) sustained some significant damage in the high water in December. It will be replaced this spring but not until after the season I expect. Because of this we will need to keep people off the island while we fish. We will bring fish across the creek to sell. It's a process we have used before. Please bear with us.

I will send something out again over the weekend as the start date is firmed up.

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


Steve Meserve
Lewis Fishery
1 Lewis Island
Lambertville, NJ 08530


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Last Updated: April 16, 2021