The American shad is an anadromous member of the Clupeidae family of herring and shad and is highly regarded as a gamefish in coastal rivers.
IdentificationThe laterally compressed, fairly deep body of the American shad is silvery white, with some green to dark blue along the back, frequently with a metallic shine. The coloring darkens slightly when the fish enters freshwater to spawn. There is a large black spot directly behind the top of the gill cover, followed by several spots that become smaller and less distinct toward the tail; sometimes there are up to three rows of these dark spots, one under the other.
The American shad has large, easily shed scales, as well as modified scales called scutes, which form a distinct ridge or cutting edge along the belly. The tail is deeply forked, and the fish has weak teeth or no teeth at all.