May 14, 2014 by Ray Scheide
The shad spawn is going on in a lot of lakes now, probably later than usual because of the cold winter and cooler spring. Typically, the shad spawn occurs during or just after the bass spawn, when the water temperature rises into the low 70s. Because a shad spawn is a bass magnet, this is the time of year when you want to draw an early flight in a tournament. Usually a shad spawn occurs just after daylight for about 45 minutes, maybe longer if it's really cloudy or shady. You'll see shad up at the surface splashing and rolling, and you'll probably see bass busting them. Other than the water temperature and actually seeing a shad spawn take place, there are ways to predict where and when they're going to occur. They'll be right up against the bank in a pocket or cover, in a shoreline grassline or along a riprap bank, and also close to docks. These are key places to look. As long as the shad are up there, the bass won't be far away. If you happen to be throwing a spinnerbait along the bank or a shallow flat and you notice that when you bring it back to the boat that shad are following it, that's a good indication. It tells you there are going to be shad spawns in that area soon, maybe the next morning. When you're lucky enough to get on one, use a swimbait, small topwater, spinnerbait, buzzbait or swim jig. It's pretty much a morning-oriented deal, though. Take advantage of it while you can, because it won't last long.