Gizzard shad generally spawn at night in spring, in shallows from late April or early May to early August at 50 to 70 degrees F.
Peak spawning occurs in May.
Spawning gizzard shad gather in large schools to broadcast their eggs in shallow water near the shoreline.
Eggs are randomly broadcast near
the surface of the water.
The females are prolific, producing up to 400,000 eggs that are about .03 inch in diameter.
Eggs will adhere to plants,
rocks or firm substrate.
Both females and males usually reach maturity by age 2 – 3.
After broadcasting the sticky eggs fall until they come
in contact with underwater roots, grass, plant fibers and other debris.
There they adhere and hatch in two or three days.
After releasing their eggs
and milt, the adults return to open waters offering no parental care.
Die off of gizzard shad will sometimes happen after spawning.
grow rapidly, to as much as seven inches their first year.
Adult die-offs common.
Adults bottom filter feeding detritivors principally from littoral zones. Open water fish have mostly phytoplankton and sand for digestion.
The eggs are adhesive and sink to the bottom where they adhere to submerged objects. After spawning and throughout the summer months, adults and young
can be found both in slightly brackish waters close to the bottom in shallow water.