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Shad Fishing on the Hudson River, 1899

Shad fishing on the Hudson River, raising the net between poles

New York State Archives, NYSA_A3045-78_D47_HuZ46
Document Description
A fisherman uses a net to catch shad from a boat on the Hudson River in New York, c. 1899.
What does the term "estuary" mean?  How is the Hudson River an estuary?
What tool is this man using to catch shad fish in the Hudson River?
Do people today still fish for shad in the Hudson River?
Does the quality of the Hudson River water have an impact on the shad?
Historical Challenges
Research the laws that refer to shad fishing. How have they changed over time?
Interdisciplinary Connections
Math: If you caught 6 shad in 30 minutes, then another 6 in the next 30 minutes, how many are you likely to catch after 6 hours?
Science: Research the shad fish. What other fish is it similar to? Would you still find it in the Hudson River today?
Science: What Hudson River fish is/are endangered or threatened?
Science: How healthy are New York State's rivers?
English Language Arts: You’re a fisherman on a trip down the Hudson to catch some shad. Write a postcard home describing your travels.
St. George, Judith. The Shad Are Running. Putnam, 1977. ISBN: 039920556X, 0399610456


Historical Context
In the early spring, the first shad begin to swim up the Hudson River. During spawning, shad move in large groups, or schools, and swim up the river, where they slowly adjust to the change from salt to fresh water. Hudson River adult shad average twenty to twenty-three inches in length and five to six pounds in weight. Shad fishing on the Hudson has been a tradition for many years and continues today.
Essential Question
How does geography impact local economies?
Check for Understanding
Describe the scene in the photograph and evaluate the impact of geography on the local economy.