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River Herring - Alewife

August 13, 2022

River Herring - Alewife

Alosa pseudoharengus, alewife is the native North American shad and is an anadromous river herring. Some common names of alewife fish are,

  •  Sawbelly
  • Grayback
  • Gaspereau
  • Branch herring

Pc: Unsplash 

Physical Characteristics of Alewife:

Pc: Unsplash

Body Shape and Body Color:

Alewife has a thin deeper body with more pronounced saw-edge and has silver body color with green garish back. Alewife is a laterally compressed body shape.

 A large dark spot appears behind the fish head.

Body Size and Body Weight:

Alewives are smaller fishes with body size of40 cm, females being larger than males and the maximum average body weight is half a pound.

Scales and Fins:

Alewife fish have shiny, smooth, cycloid scales and their scales resemble American shad. The fish has 40 to 50 scales and these scales are used to estimate the age of the fish. Back in the times alewives scales were used to make pearls.

The fins of the alewife fish are not so elongated.

Habitat and Range of Alewife:

Aliwives thrive in coastal waters before migrating to freshwater. The fish spawn in freshwater and present in streams and rivers all across the eastern North America.

Pc: Pixabay

Alewife is native fish of the Atlantic ocean,St. Lawrence to North Carolina. They are present in the Great lake, Finger lake, Chesapeake bay, Delaware river. Alewives are present from Labrador in Canada to South Carolina in the USA. The fish is native to Ontario lake, and also introduced to the upper Tennessee river, Virginia river, Welland canal

Diet of Alewife:

Alewife fish is carnivores and they feed in the middle or near the surface and feed on,

  • Zooplankton
  • Small fish
  • Shrimps
  • Fish eggs
  • Fish larvae
  • Small crustaceans

Predators of Alewife:

Being forage fish alewives is the food to many predators,

  • Sharks
  • Bass
  • Walleye
  • Trout
  • Salmon
  • Eels
  • Double-crested cormorant
  • Osprey 

Life Cycle of Alewife:

Alewife fish spawn in spring in freshwaters. The eggs are sticky and hatch in probably 6 days and they spend some time in freshwater and then migrate to the ocean. Summer is the season of young ones' growth. The average lifespan of alewife fish is 10 years.

Alewife Fishing:

Best Time to Catch Alewife:

Alewives are mostly active in the early morning. The best time to catch alewives is 6 am in the morning before sunrise

Pc: Pixabay

Best Lure to Catch Alewife:

The best lure which proves to be the best is predominately the white color as alewives are attracted to it more. Flies also work best and Fishing Nice has the best Fly Fishing Flies Kit to save your effort.

Best Gear to Catch Alewife:

Alewife fishing is mostly done through boats and when you are trying to fight the larger fishes you may catch the alewife as a reward.

Pc: Pixabay 

While you are doing your alewife fishing through a boat make sure you have a fishing reel with an adjustable drag power. Spinning Reel for Fishing Dual Bearing System can be the best choice.


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