Shad Fishing

2022 Spring Shad Season is Fully Booked
The James River's hickory shad fishing is world class for both fly and spin anglers. In the spring, hickory shad gather in the heart of downtown Richmond, at the fall line, during their annual spawning run. Hickory shad fishing peaks in April for a few weeks, with the exact timing of peak run falling within the month April. Sometimes it early, and is red hot in late March and the first couple weeks of April, and other years, it take an extra week or two for the peak, but when it's hot, there is no other fishery like it in Virginia.
American shad, white perch, alewife and blueback herring can be caught during this time of year. Striped bass can also be caught and will remain around downtown Richmond deep into May and beyond. On the downside, American shad populations have been devastated over the last 200 years, mainly by the building of dams and keeping these incredible fish from swimming upriver to spawn. Their numbers remain low, even with years of stocking hundreds of thousands of American shad fry on the upper James by the Department of Wildlife Resources. This massive restocking plan just did not work, and since the population increase that was expected and did not happen, this stocking program was terminated. BUT, they are out there, and when fighting a fish, you never know when the elusive American shad will be on your line.
Meet your guide at Ancarrow's Landing, located on the Southside of the James, across from downtown Richmond. Departure time varies with both morning and afternoon trips available.
Half-Day Shad (5-hours).  One or two,  $500.   
Spin fishing tackle provided.  Fly fishing gear not provided.  Water and snacks provided.
Shad fising trip is offered April 1 through the April 25.

To inquire about a Shad Trip, or to book a Spring 2023 Shad Trip:
Contact Capt. Mike at 804-938-2350 or


Top right photo: Jackson is holding two river herring he caught at once.  Richmond's skyline is in the background, so you see how close to downtown this fishing trip happens.
American shad trived in the tidal rivers of the East Coast for eons, but dams were built for various reasons blocking their migrtory routes to their historical spawning grounds, vastly reducing their spawning habitat. Over time, their numbers were reduced to the point of a moratorium. Today,American shad is still having problems recovering, but hickory shad are thriving. 
-- Photo by Lynda Richardson
To the right: Andrew Campbell, shows off a beautiful American shad he caught on a fly.  Andrew ties more flies than there are shad in the river ... he probably tied the fly used to catch this shad at 3am the morning this picture was taken.
--Photo by Discover the James 
What do people have to say about this trip?  "I like catching two fish at the same time.  Hurry up and take the picture ... I want to do it again!"
-- Jackson V.