Blueback Herring (Alosa aestivalis)
This fish did not originally occur this far inland. It is mainly a marine species that is anadromous and spawns in fresh water. During the spring the adult fish
ascends into the lower reaches of coastal rivers to spawn. At about one month of age the young return to the ocean. Construction of dams has reduced their
freshwater range and abundance. Fishermen who used them for bait and released the unused fish introduced them into some impoundments. Their population
is now increasing rapidly in Lake Lanier, which could have a detrimental effect on established gamefish populations by increasing competition for juvenile forage.
These fish have a strongly tilted mouth with the lower jaw equal to or projecting slightly beyond the snout. They have a blue back with silver sides and usually a
small bluish-black spot near upper edge of the opercle. The adult will have thin dark stripes on the back and upper sides and light green or yellow fins. These
fish can reach about 16in.
In freshwater they prefer to have some current and will suspend over a rocky bottom. Occasionally they will be caught while fishing for panfish but you are more
likely to catch them with a casting net. They make good live bait for striper or bass fishing, and they can be used as cut bait for catfish.
|A bait tank of three or four dozen lively
blueback herring on our boat. Caught
these with my cast net under a light at
night. Great bait for sure!