Also known as “silverfish”, it is because of the silver color of the scales of shad.
Bony fish near herring, the shad performs its growth in the cold waters of the ocean, bordering the continental shelf.
She begins a migration in February to breed in the waters of rivers, going far enough upstream (as far as the Lot, the Tarn..) look for spawning areas, she likes pebbles and pebbles.
On spring evenings we see shad together, and when night falls, pairs, flank against flank, and noisily strike the water surface of their caudal fin while describing circles: the eggs are fertilized in the whirlpool thus formed!
The spawning grounds remain empty until the next night when this ceremonial (called the “bull” – it lasts from four to seven seconds!) will be renewed.
After the laying period, which ends in July, the shad is no longer feeding and comes to agonize on the banks.
The eggs incubate for one week on the pebbles and, despite more than 80% mortality, the fry hatch en masse and migrate to the ocean in late summer; they will need 3 to 4 years to be adults and to resume the cycle.
The shad almost disappeared from the Gironde basin in the 80s: dams prevented the rise of rivers, the degradation of spawning grounds happened or suppressed by the extraction of materials in the bed of rivers …
A collective awareness has allowed avoiding the disaster by putting the means: development of passes in the dams, creation of fish lifts, rescue or creation of spawning grounds.
Some spawning grounds are also classified as a natural reserve, like the one in Agen that you can visit and where you can make night observations.
It is spring, from March to June (except weekends) that we can fish.
But then with the first beautiful days, great festival of shad occurs around the estuary and on the banks of the Garonne and the Dordogne: we fish, we buy, we cook, we taste this blood fish, full of bones (the local recipe uses the sorrel that normally helps to dissolve, if it is well prepared).
Shad festivals are organized by many municipalities or associations around Bordeaux: large tables are erected, often under huge tents, to taste the shad with (or without) Bordeaux wine.
On the banks, fishermen or locals set up stalls or tables for purchase or tasting.
On the estuary, it is fishing with the plaice or the tramail, especially upstream of Mortagne.
In the river, one uses the canes or the “coul” kind of big dip net.
Every year, the fish industry harvests about 800 tonnes of shads and marketed in Aquitaine.
Shadow Shad Is A River Fish
Shad Alosa fallax is a freshwater fish, a favorite prey of line fishing in European rivers, especially in Western Europe. Its adult size is between 30 to 50 cm. It is a piscivorous and planktivorous species. Several species live in both sides of the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea. In addition, several taxa exist in brackish water in the basins of the Caspian Sea and the Black Sea Basin. Many live in freshwater for spawning and some are in freshwater without any contact to the coastline.