I live in Rancho Cordova, CA... less than two miles from the American River. The north and south forks of the American meet at Folsom Lake which is about 12 miles north east of me and it exits into the section of the American which could be called the South Fork. It meanders for quite a few miles until it meets the Sacramento River. The American is teaming with many different species that migrate from the Sacramento river, to the American. Salmon, Steelhead, Stripers and Shad are some of the game fish that travel this section. So, I fish it regularly, this time of year, for Shad. They are fine fighters and provide plenty of practice, you soon learn that they hang near the bottom so, allowing your fly to sink good before you begin to strip works well to encourage them to take the fly.
When they slow down on American River Pinkies and Bloody Maria's, I switch to streamers. They seem to like the Mylar Mickey Finn's and Spruce Flies. I tie a variation of the Jack Dennis Spruce Fly, mine is crude but quite effective. I weight it on the shank with a few wraps of .5 mm lead wire so it gets down quickly and of course I use a sinking tip line as well as a sinking leader. The Shad are not as selective as other species so they see this fly as a minnow, which of course is part of their main diet. Sorry, no photos of the fish, I hope to correct this soon, with a purchase of a Nikon waterproof Digital Camera. But, here is an image of the modified Spruce that I shot with my Nikon D3 and a 105 mm Micro manual lens. My Spruce version seems to work pretty good for me, I usually catch three to four them about one hour before dark, a typical feeding pattern for the Shad here.
Click To Enlarge: