View Full Version : Threadfin Shad, Alewifes or Juvenile American Shad?

09-14-2014, 07:24 PM
So I always thought that the baitfish that jump and boil on the Sac around clarksburg at greylight were threadfin shad. I've caught a few before but never really cared to inspect them until tonight. Under close inspection, these things have NO tell tail threadfin on them, nor the football shape of a threadfin shad. They're longer and truth be told, look a lot more like an Alewife or small American Shad.

Does anyone know what these actually are? There are MILLIONS of them boiling at sunset and sundown. I legally catch the larger ones on a modified 3 hook Sabiki rig. Took this one home for better pics. It's a herring of some kind, but I have no idea which one.

I lean towards alewife, but I thought we didn't have actual herring in freshwater?


Shad types. Alewife in the middle.


09-14-2014, 07:34 PM
Yep no dot, not a thread fin

09-14-2014, 07:54 PM
Yep no dot, not a thread fin

That's what I noticed as well. They also have really large mouths like an American shad. I've always though these to be threadfin, but I guess not.

09-14-2014, 08:45 PM
Alewife not in California, I think.



09-14-2014, 08:50 PM
Im leaning more towards a silver or channel shiner or possibly a delta smelt. Hard to tell from pic the placement, shape and color of fins and tail. I would however figure out what it is before taking anymore home


09-14-2014, 09:13 PM
Did you save one? You could look at it more closely to tell.

California Fish App - California Fish Website (http://calfish.ucdavis.edu/CalFishApp/)


Sacramento splittail?

I'm not sure though, I only know about salmonids.

09-14-2014, 09:32 PM
It's for sure not a delta smelt or any sort of smelt. Large filter feeder mouth like all fish in the herring family. For sure is some sort of herring, but yeah, we don't have alewifes in CA, so that only leaves the Juvenile American shad as an option. I'll go legally dip net some or sabiki them again to observe them a bit more tomorrow night.

It's for sure a shad type thing so I'm not worried about legal issues. I caught it on a legal rig and to my knowledge there's no law against taking juvenile American or herring. My plan was to use them as live bait one night since I always see stripers feeding on them.

09-14-2014, 09:34 PM
I'll take a more detailed picture of its mouth and fins in the morning. Big filter feeder mouth and forked tail. No thread or dot.

09-15-2014, 12:20 AM
I bet juvenile American Shad.
Catch one, eat it.
If it ha a lotta bones there you go.