American Shad Reported Upstream of Former Columbia Lake Dam

The 109-year old Columbia Lake Dam on the Paulins Kill River has been removed, allowing for fish passage up the river. Although not legal to target or keep, anglers are reporting catching American Shad while trout fishing upstream of the of the former dam site. These catches indicate a successful reclamation of the American Shad’s historic spawning run that had been blocked by the dam.

The dam was located 1/4 mile upstream of the Paulins Kill’s confluence with the Delaware River. Through a successful collaboration between the Division, The Nature Conservancy, American Rivers and the US Fish and Wildlife Service, the Columbia Lake Dam has been completely removed and fish passage has been restored reconnecting American Shad with their historic spawning run.

It is important for anglers to remember that it is illegal to target, take or possess American Shad anywhere in New Jersey except for the mainstem Delaware River. Anglers who see or accidentally catch an American Shad while fishing for other species are encouraged to report their sightings to NJ Fish and Wildlife at or 908-236-2118. Please include the date of sighting, location, any photos, and your contact info.