The Skipjack Herring is a moderately large species of shad found in the Mississippi River basin in south-central North America. Like its counterparts on the East Coast, the skipjack herring is an active, predatory fish, very piscivorous, and very prone to jumping, swirling, and playing about on the surface of the water. Skipjacks are also highly migratory, often making spawning runs of hundreds of river miles. Because of this, a single dam can wipe out entire populations of skipjacks, as they always stick to the main river flow and are unable to reliably negotiate locks, fishways, or other channel permutations as well as other fish can. Skipjack Herring were once a large component of the fish community on the upper Mississippi river, but dams have caused their extinction, at least in the northernmost portions. In rare flood years, skipjacks may manage to jump over these offending dams and ascend hundreds of miles farther upriver. They can then breed successfully. In these cases, a sudden abundance of unfamiliar fish will confuse local anglers until they inevitably die out.
Other Names: blue herring, golden shad, green herring, river herring, skipjack, skipjack shad, skipper, skippy, Tennessee tarpon, McKinley shad, mackeral, government shad