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ALEWIFE Alosa pseudoharengus

OTHER NAMES: big-eyed or river herring, golden shad, grey herring, mulhaden, sawbelly, seth, skipjack

DESCRIPTION: A small herring with a metallic, dark bluish-green back, silvery sides with faint horizontal stripes, and a white belly. Identifying characteristics include large eyes and large mouth, the lower jaw protruding beyond snout, and a purplish spot behind the upper edge of the gill.

SIZE: freshwater--4 to 9 inches; marine--up to 15 inches

FOOD: zooplankton, juvenile fish (including walleyes), algae

SPAWNING: Migrates into shallow areas as water temperatures reach upper 50[degrees]F range, with peak spawning at 64[degrees]F. Adhesive eggs are broadcast over a variety of substrates including gravel, sand, and submerged vegetation. Eggs hatch in 6 days with no parental attention.

RANGE: Native to the Atlantic Coast from South Carolina north to Red Bay, Labrador; introduced in many inland fisheries in the eastern U.S. Well-established in three of the Great Lakes--Huron, Michigan, and Ontario, but less common in Erie and Superior.

HABITS AND HABITAT: With the exception of the spawning period, alewives typically inhabit open water. In inland lakes they commonly suspend offshore from 20 to 80 feet deep late August through March, after which they move closer to sharp shoreline breaks leading to harbors, beaches, and other spawning sites. Post-spawn alewives retreat to deeper water.

WALLEYE CONNECTION: Dense schools of alewives are a major food source for large predators such as walleyes, trout, and salmon, and an abundance of alewives can make it tough for anglers to compete. During early summer, structure-oriented walleyes often move offshore to greet incoming alewives. The action moves onto shoreline-connected points shortly thereafter. In both scenarios, crankbait-trolling programs can be successful. So can vertical-jigging for suspended walleyes using small jigs tipped with chunks of nightcrawler. As alewives move even shallower, nightfishing can be intense for anglers trolling minnowbaits along weededges. During the day, cast jig-and-minnow combos, crankbaits, and spinnerbaits along the edges of weedbeds for resident walleyes; or fish jigging spoons along the bottoms of points, where alewives move out to deeper water to hold during the day.
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Title Annotation:FUNDAMENTALS; alewife
Publication:Walleye In-Sider
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:May 1, 2009
Words:349
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