Virginia.gov

Shad Cam

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Introduction

Welcome to the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries' (VDGIF) Shad Cam project! The Shad Cam will be active from late March through early June.

Over the past 35 years, populations of American shad, hickory shad, alewife, blueback herring, striped bass, and other anadromous fish species have steadily declined in Virginia. VDGIF, in collaboration with a number of other partners, has been working to bring back these fish, mostly by restoring access to historic spawning areas throughout coastal Virginia. In the James River, these species were known to spawn as far upstream as Eagle Rock until two sets of dams, in Lynchburg and Richmond, cut off over 400 miles of the river and tributaries. In 1999, a fishway was constructed at Bosher's Dam, providing fish with access to 137 miles of the James River and 168 miles of its tributaries for the first time in nearly 200 years. A camera at the fishway provides visitors a peek into this incredible journey as the fish return to spawn in the spring.

Keep an eye out for…

American Shad (Alosa sapidissima)

American Shad (courtesy Duane Raver/USFWS)

Blueback Herring (Alosa aestivalis)

Blueback Herring (courtesy Duane Raver/USFWS)

The majority of fish species will ascend the fishway during the day while catfish species and sea lamprey will primarily move upstream at night. Spawning runs of anadromous fish in Virginia generally occur between March and early June.