Shad Roe

Catch Info: Fish Landed @ New Bern, NC
Catch Method: gill net

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The annual shad roe run marks the beginning of spring for many folks. According to local lore, as soon as the shadbush (Amelanchier arborea) blooms, the shad are running upriver to spawn. And the fishermen are waiting for them.  They spend their summers off the coast of New England and head southward in the fall, entering the Pamlico Sound around Christmas. In early spring, around the time the shadbush blooms, they head up the rivers.

This humble fish may have even changed the course of history. An early shad run in 1777 has been credited with saving George Washington’s troops from starvation during a brutal winter spent at Valley Forge. No biggie, but they went on to win the Revolutionary War and found a nation. 

IMG_0385 copyHere at Locals, the shad run marks the short lived shad roe season. Shad roe has a complex flavor that varies depending on the cooking method. Fry it and the roe tastes delicate and light. Smoke it and the roe is rich and earthy.

Shad roe is available for only a few weeks a year in early spring. During the roe season, you can usually find whole shad fish for very cheap. Shad meat is delicious but bony, so chew carefully. Pro tip for eating shad off the bone: use chopsticks.


Broiled Shad with Shad Roe Mousse

Shad Roe with Bacon & Grits

Crispy Shad Roe with Bacon and Capers

Shad Roe with Grits and Tomato Bacon Sauce

How to Cook Shad Fish


“I am happy to report that my husband was pleasantly surprised with the delectable [shad roe] dish placed on the table. My many thanks to Locals Seafood for giving me this opportunity! If shad roe had not been on their website I never would have known this rich history!!!” Lori L.

“Wow, it was so good! Everyone loved it, and you can tell that it is so good for you!” Christi

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