Just curious. In smaller sized municipal water impoundments in the piedmont what kind of forage fish might you expect to find? I know there's all kinds of shad and shiners, but short of cast netting I wouldn't know how to find out.
The best way to find out is to use a small (size 6 or 8) Aberdeen hook with a piece of red worm and small foam float. You’ll find plenty of bream (bluegill, green sunfish, shellcracker, and hybrids), crappie, small bass, and small channel catfish and bullheads. All are considered forage fish if they can fit down the throat of a larger fish.
I do a lot of fishing for bigger catfish in the spring and summer and just about all of these species make excellent bait, whether they are used whole or fished as cut bait.
Depends if a lake has a shad population in it. Some do, some do not. Larger impoundments are often stocked with shad, often threadfin, sometimes gizzard. Asking locals or if there are park rangers asking them can give you some idea. Crawfish are a pretty major forage source in piedmont waters as well, and it pays off to remember to imitate those as well.
Gotcha. Makes sense. I didn't know about stocking shad. I knew jordan and falls as well as other lakes that used to drain to the coast might have shad, but wondered about inland reservoirs. Funny enough I saw a hand sized shad floating on the water at Mackintosh the other day. I wondered if it was bait someone had lost or if it was a wounded fish from a bait all that bass had been working. Thanks all for the input.
I'm getting outside my area of knowledge here, but I believe the shad that people fish for as they run the rivers are American Shad and Hickory Shad. The bait schools in the reservoirs are typically threadfin, and in some places gizzard or alewife.