The American Shad is a species of anadromous herring-like fish that can be found running up the Great Pee Dee River and Lynches River. It’s historically consumed by locals along the Atlantic coast. Like salmon, shad are born in freshwater, spend their life in saltwater, then travel back to freshwater to spawn. Fisherman look forward each spring to the shad run, the opportunity to catch a hen fish (female) and cook up the shad’s true delicacy – the shad roe.
On March 23rd, Friends of the Revolutionary Rivers (FORevR), a group formed to protect and promote the SC Revolutionary Rivers National Recreation Trail located within the Pee Dee region, will host a limited number of people for the first annual Pee Dee Shad Roe-Deo at Venters Landing in Johnsonville. Local historians will educate attendees on the importance of shad dating back to when Native Americans roamed the area, to when Francis Marion took refuge in the swamps during the Revolutionary War, up until present time.
Ben Ziegler, attorney and shad enthusiast, is excited to celebrate the indigenous dish, one that his family considered a traditional meal. “When I was a kid, my mother would serve shad roe on Sunday evenings,” said Ben. “Shad was fun to catch using a bow net and was my favorite thing to eat!” In addition to Ben, Dr. David Shields, food historian of the University of South Carolina, will be in attendance to give lively history lessons alongside Lynches River.
Pickled, baked, fried or roasted, chefs at the event will give cooking demonstrations for fresh shad and roe caught by local commercial fishermen. As guests enjoy a shad and/or roe meal, live music by Hercules Farm will fill the air. Local Motive, a Florence brewery, brewed a special run that is specific to shad.
The Shad Roe-Deo will begin at 2 pm and the cost is $75 per person. All proceeds benefit FORevR’s efforts to build platform campsites along Lynches River. To purchase tickets or for more information, please call 843-664-0330.
All proceeds benefit Friends of the Revolutionary Rivers to build platform campsites along the SC Revolutionary Rivers National Recreation Trail on Lynches River. (Platform from Tar-Pamlico River Trail in NC.)