Annual Shad Migration Video

Annual Shad Migration 2022
Video clips of the annual shad migration that happens every year at Little Falls on the Potomac River in late April. Countless shad migrate up the river, and get pushed to the side by the whitewater rapids, creating packed pools of fish on both sides of the river. Using a waterproof case, I filmed these fish underwater, fighting hard to make it home.

Meanwhile, kayakers cruise through the falls, sometimes hitting fish as they paddle through the thick schools of shad. And birds flock to the falls to feast on the stalled submarine sojourners.

Shot on April 23, 2022 in Washington DC at Little Falls on the Potomac River


Puts me in mind of John McPhee’s book The Founding Fish. (A comment I’ve read referring to another author but applies to McPhee as well, “He could write a 900 page treatise on the history of the stapler and it would be interesting.”) This is the migration that saved George Washington’s army from starvation at Valley Forge despite the British attempt to prevent the migration with nets.

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I grew up in a town on the Connecticut River that had a dam, which bunched up lots of Shad every spring. We’d go fishing there, and people from restaurants would buy the females we caught for their roe. Good $$$ and fun for a bunch of 12 year olds.