Lake Texoma Fish Species - Grizzard Shad - Info from Dan Barnett & Jacob Orr Lake Texoma Fishing Guides

Lake Texoma Fish Species: Grizzard Shad

Gizzard shad provide forage for most game species. They rarely bite on a hook, and when they do, they are generally considered worthless as a food fish. The species is often used as cut bait for other fish species.

Dorosoma is Greek for “lance body,” referring to the lance-like shape of young shad. The species epithet cepedianum refers to the French naturalist Citoyen Lacepede. Gizzard shad are usually easily distinguished from threadfin shad by the fact that the upper jaw projects well beyond the lower jaw. Amateur ichthyologists can run a finger underneath the mouth forward, and if the fingernail catches on the upper jaw and opens the mouth, in most cases the fish is a gizzard rather than a threadfin shad. The anal fin usually has 29-35 rays, as opposed to 20-25 rays found in threadfin shad. The upper surface is silvery blue, and grades to nearly white on the sides and belly. Fins do not have the yellowing tint present in threadfin shad. Unlike threadfin shad, the chin and floor of the mouth in this species is not speckled with black pigment.


Gizzard shad are most abundant in large rivers and reservoirs, avoiding high gradient streams. The species is most often found in large schools. The common name “skipjack” is derived from the fact that individuals within a school may often be observed leaping out of the water or skipping along the surface on their sides. Spawning generally takes place in late spring, usually in shallow protected water. Eggs and milt are released in the school, seemingly without regard for individual mates. Adhesive eggs attach to submerged objects and hatch in about 4 days. Although dult shad are moderately deep-bodied, fry are extremely slender and delicate looking until they reach about 1.25 inches in length. Gizzard shad are planktivorous. Young feed on microscopic animals and plants, as well as small insect larvae. Adults feed by filtering small food items from the water using their long, close-set gill rakes. Although the species commonly grows to lengths of 9-14 inches, some have been reported to exceed 20 inches in length. In Texas the record (taken with a spear gun) is an 18.25-inch specimen that weighed in at 2.97 pounds.


In Texas, gizzard had are found in all major streams and reservoirs. The species is native to eastern North America. In the north the range includes the Saint Lawrence River and the Great Lakes (except Lake Superior), and extends wet into North Dakota. Gizzard shad are found as far south as eastern Mexico, and as far west as New Mexico. The species is not found in New England, south Florida, or through most of the Appalachian Mountain chain.

Other Names for Gizzard Shad:

Shad, Hickory Shad, Herring, Skipjack

Capt. Dan Barnett & Jacob Orr Lake Texoma Fishing Guides

Of the numerous striper guides providing services on the lake, we stand alone as the only guide guaranteeing you will catch fish or you do not have to pay for your next trip. As professional guides, we promise you a true adventure, coupled with a safe and fulfilling Texoma striper fishing excursion equaled by no other service.

As Dan slowly slips into retirement, Jacob is keeping his 40 years of hard work alive. He is already the person who will immediately return your calls and inquiries and set up your upcoming trip! To top that all off he’s a great Lake Texoma fishing guide. Whether Dan or Jacob, or any of our other guides, you are sure to have a great Lake Texoma fishing experience.

You can be sure that we will do everything possible to put fish in the boat and make sure your group has a fun, safe and memorable trip. We offer exciting trips that will leave you with a better understanding and knowledge of how fish bite at different times of the year and how to catch them year.

Ideal experience for any size family; great for corporate events or company parties, reunions, and more!

Lake Texoma Striper Fishing Guides - Dan Barnett & Jacob Orr Guaranteed Striper Fishing
Lake Texoma Striper Fishing Guides - Dan Barnett & Jacob Orr Guaranteed Striper Fishing
Lake Texoma Striper Fishing Guides - Dan Barnett & Jacob Orr Guaranteed Striper Fishing

Jacob went the extra mile and put us on some great fishing.

Booked a trip with Dan’s service and Jacob returned the call quickly. We scheduled a day in mid November not knowing what kind of weather to expect. We wanted to lure fish and Jacob worked hard to put us on fish, and even though the weather was quite “unusual” for the season we had great success. Most of the other guides we saw were baitfishing because the fishing was tough, but Jacob went the extra mile and put us on some great fishing using his custom lures, a most excellent adventure. – B. Sample Google Review
Stay at Lake Texoma's Best Resort while fishing with Dan Barnett & Jacob Orr's Lake Texoma Fishing Guides
Lake Texoma Fish Species - Lake Texoma Grand Slam - Dan Barnett & Jacob Orr Lake Texoma Fishing Guides Put you 'on' all the species.