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Threadfin Shad (Dorosoma petenense)


Threadfin Shad (Dorosoma petenense) are a popular bait for blue catfish and are the primary food source for blue catfish in many lakes rivers and reservoirs across the United States. Understanding both threadfin shad and gizzard shad, their habits, patterns and behaviors is an important part of being successful catching blue catfish.

This is some species information on threadfin shad.




Dorosoma is a Greek term meaning “lance body”, which refers to the lance like shape of a young shad. Petenense refers to Lake Peten in the Yucatan, the species type locality.

Threadfin shad are typically easily distinguished from gizzard shad by their upper jaw. The upper jaw doesn’t project beyond the lower jaw. The anal fin of these fish typically has between 20 and 25 rays, Gizzard Shad usually have between 29 and 35. The upper part of the body is silver-blue color and turns to nearly a white color on the sides and on the belly. The fins have yellow tint except the dorsal fin. Adults are typically very smaller than the adult gizzard shad and it is rare to find an adult threadfin that is greater than six inches in length.


Life History

Threadfin shad are more likely to be found in waters with a noticeable current and are usually in the upper five feet of water. They are very sensitive to temperature and die-offs often occur when water temperatures get below 45°F. Spawn begins when water temperatures reach approximately 70°F in mid to early spring, and can continue into the summer months. During the spawn, one or more females are accompanied by several males.



Most commonly found in large rivers and reservoirs.


Threadfin shad are a popular bait for blue catfish and even channel catfish as well as striped bass and many other species of fish. They are typically caught using a cast net and fished as whole or cut bait when used for catfishing.

Catching shad is an essential part of targeting blue catfish. Not only is fresh shad one of the best baits for blue catfish but learning to pattern shad will do wonders for you in your quest to catch blue catfish.

To get more information including an in depth guide on choosing a cast net and tips and tricks on finding and catching shad and everything else you ever need to know on catching bait, click here.

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About Chad

Chad Ferguson is a professional catfish guide and founder of Learn To Catch Catfish. Click here to subscribe for more exclusive catfish fishing tips by email and then follow on Twitter or Google


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