LTFF Step 2 Novice Shad Fish-out - American River

  • 03 Jun 2017
  • 5:00 PM - 9:00 PM
  • American River, Sacramento - access location TBD
  • 5


Cost = $75

This is an evening introduction to Shad fishing for the LTFF Novice students only on the American River near Sacramento on Saturday, June 3, 2017

I strongly encourage the Novices to give this new fish-out a try.  If we are lucky enough to get into shad, it can be a whole bunch of fun!  And it will also whet your appetite for next year's Intermediate Shad fish-out on the bigger Sacramento River -- where longer casts and heavier sinking lines are usually needed.

If you already own a 6, 7 or 8wt rod with shooting head set-up (or integrated sink tip line) with perhaps a 30' lg. Type 3 or 4 sinking head (ie., a 3-4 or 4-5 ips sink rate) or 25-30' of T-11 and know how to cast this (as Willy taught those in our LTFF Shooting Head Casting Clinic back in March), that would be ideal. 

However, if you are not ready to take that equipment plunge for this outing or didn't attend that casting clinic, we still want to encourage you to come on this fish-out. If all you have is a 5wt rod and matching reel with floating (or intermediate) fly line, bring that and I'll provide you up with a short sink tip to attach to it. This set-up is a little light for shad and not ideal for either casting or getting your fly down quickly, but it may serve to at least get you into some action on this river.  

You'll also need 3X tippet, preferably fluorocarbon, (tapered leaders are not typically used for swinging or for indicator nymphing for shad), nippers, forceps, wading staff, waders & boots, and a headlamp to allow you to fish until it gets dark (shad usually hit best about then, especially if you are fishing a light set-up).  Since we are fishing late, don't leave anything exposed inside your car -- we had a break-in there last year to grab a bag left on a seat. 

This will be only a late afternoon/ evening trip up to the Sacramento area so there is no plan for the group to spend the night.  We will meet our guide Lance Gray at the American River Park - Upper Sunrise Boat Launch parking lot, for which directions will be provided on the first page of Lance's Confirmation Package/ Liability Waiver that I will be distributing to all registrants. The late evening is usually the best action for shad so we will plan to fish right up until it gets dark.  Be "wader-ed up" and ready to go at 5:00pm sharp. Lance will give a short clinic on what shad are and how to fish for them, distribute some flies called "shad darts" to everyone, and pass out sandwiches and snacks to hold you until you head home.  

Shad fishing is very social because you need to be fishing as close to one another as possible (but spaced apart enough to still swing your line through the current) in order to fit everyone into the run where we hope shad will be holding. We will be rotating spots through the run on either my or Lance's command to give everyone equal opportunity to hook fish. 

As you may have heard, shad are often referred to as the "poor-man's tarpon" since they can put up quite a battle for their little size -- especially on a fly rod.  Lance and I will be walking up and down the line to provide coaching, but you'll likely need to land your own fish (typically without a net).  For that I suggest that you may want to have a pair of sungloves or similar half-fingered gloves -- something that you will want to be sure to wash when you get home.  Two-handed rods are good for shad fishing also, if you have one and can handle it. 

This fish-out will be limited to 10 people.  The registration fee to cover the guide, flies, a sink tip, and sandwiches is $75 per person, exclusive of a guide gratuity and the $5 day fee for parking (bring cash for this!).  You don't want to miss this trip!

Contacts for this fish-out:

John Murphy ( 650-799-1695

Lance Gray (

Questions? Please direct your inquiries to the appropriate mail box:

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