American shad Alosa sapidissima fry were successfully transplanted from the Atlantic to the Pacific coast in 1871 and have subsequently proliferated. The Columbia River population is in the millions, yet few investigations have been conducted to better understand their life history, population dynamics, or potential impacts on other species. In 2007 and 2008 we captured American shad from the Columbia River to assess levels of thiaminase activity and to characterize some aspects of American shad life history. Thiaminase levels in age-0 and adult fish were high and ranged from 4,113-20,874 pmol/g/min. Ages of spawning American shad ranged from 3-7 years and iteroparity was approximately 33-36% in the spawning population. Males were typically younger and smaller and had a higher degree of iteroparity than females.