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Frenzied Feeding Follows Shad Kill

Fishing guide John Berry, of Cotter, reported a recent shad kill in local lakes has caused a "feeding frenzy" on the White and North Fork rivers and Norfork Dam tailwater in the past week.

"This is a natural phenomenon where large numbers of threadfin shad [an abundant forage fish] die due to cold temperature in the lakes and are swept through the generators at the dams,” Berry said. “This results in a feeding frenzy below the dams.

“This is usually brought on by specific conditions, cold temperatures and heavy levels of generation. These are the exact conditions we are now experiencing. Before the recent interest in fishing streamers began, this was the major fishing event that occurred this time of year. Its precise timing is impossible to predict.

“The major action takes place just below the dams. The trick to identifying the beginning of the shad kill is to watch the gulls at the dam. When the gulls suddenly begin feeding on the surface, it signals that the frenzy has begun. This usually coincides with a major migration of river boats upstream to the dam. This all begins quickly and can stop just as quickly."

Mar 5, 2020 - Berry has more details about the shad kill and ways to take advantage in the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission weekly report here: https://www.agfc.com/en/news/2020/03/04/arkansas-wildlife-weekly-fishing-report-1

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