Fly Patterns - Pink Shad Fly Source:

                        Pink Shad Fly


Shad fishing on the American River can be exciting fun and rewarding. Most of all it is in our hometown, even in some of our back yards. The best months for shad fishing in the American are usually May and June. Shad readily hit a fly, and range from 1-5 pounds. They can be caught wading, and you don’t need to cast very far. You can use a 6-8 wt. rod with sinking line or a sink tip line, depending on the flows of the river and depth that the fish might be holding at. Shad are caught mostly in lower light conditions (morning and evening) but they can be caught all day long. If you get into the fish, it is not uncommon to catch several in just an hour’s time.


This fly is tied with the bead chain eyes on top of the hook shank so the hook turns over. This allows the angler to hook the shad in the upper part of the mouth. This is important because the bottom part of a shad’s mouth is paper thin and if hooked in that area, most will be lost.


Pink/white color combinations like the one in this article are most common for shad flies. However shad can be caught on a number of bright colors. Changing the color of this fly is as simple as using a different thread color. Doing this after every few flies will give you a wide assortment to chose from.


Thanks to Kiene's Fly Shop in Sacramento for these instructions: Source:


Tying Instructions

1.    Smash the barb and place in the vise, File the front half of the hook shank so it is rough.

2.    Tie thread in at the eye of the hook with a jam knot and wrap towards the bend 10 wraps then back over the thread towards the eye 5 wraps. Attach the bead chain eyes at this point, on top of the hook shank. (see Pic. #1)

3.    Wrap the thread diagonally across the eyes and around the hook shank in one direction about 6-8 times then wrap diagonally in the other direction 6-8 times forming an “X” over the eyes. Next wrap the thread about 5 times horizontally around the “x” thread under the eyes and on top of the hook shank. Glue all thread wraps.

4.    Wrap thread back to the bend of the hook. Tie in a small clump of white marabou for a tail.

5.    Cut a piece of Tinsel about 8” long. Double it over the thread and tie it in.  You will have two strands of aprox. 4” each.

6.    Wrap the thread to behind the bead chain eyes filing any low spots in the body.

7.    Wrap both of the strands of tinsel at the same time forward to the eyes and tie it off.

8.     Form a large head around the eyes, whip finish and glue.



Tying Tips

Tie up a bunch and get out to the American River for some red hot shad action.




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