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Clarion River
Elk, Jefferson, Forest and Clarion Counties
May 2003


Fisheries Management Area 2 and Allegheny National Forest personnel conducted day boat electrofishing on the Clarion River during the week of May 26. The purpose of the survey was to assess the sport fish community on the Clarion River in light of improvements in water quality made over the last decade. Electrofishing was done at five locations between the slack waters of Piney Dam near the town of Clarion upstream to the confluence of Little Toby Creek several miles downstream of Ridgway. This covers approximately 45 miles of river and lies within the stretch of the Clarion River designated as a Wild and Scenic River. Much of the land adjacent to the Clarion River is in public ownership and includes the Allegheny National Forest, PA State Game Lands, Cook Forest State Park, Clear Creek State Park and PA State Forest Lands. The river is very scenic and popular with anglers as well as canoeists and kayakers.

Kayakers Enjoy a Beautiful Spring Day on the Clarion River - click for larger image
Kayakers Enjoy a Beautiful Spring Day on the Clarion River

An excellent population of smallmouth bass was sampled at all sites along this stretch of the river. A total of 207 smallmouth were sampled and ranged in size from 3 to 18 inches. Good numbers of legal size (12 inches) and greater bass were netted (See Table 1 for length frequency).

Examples of the Nice Smallmouth Available to Anglers on the Clarion - click for larger image
Examples of the Nice Smallmouth Available to Anglers on the Clarion

Fair numbers of rock bass and trout were also sampled at most sites. Two walleye were sampled at the site just upstream of the Piney Dam slack waters and most likely moved up from that reservoir where the PFBC maintains a walleye stocking program. Numerous white suckers, redhorse suckers and common carp were also observed during sampling.

Fish Processing and Data Collection Operations - click for larger image
Fish Processing and Data Collection Operations

Table 1. Length frequency of smallmouth bass, and other sport fish from the Clarion River (all sites combined).

Inches Smallmouth
Bass
Walleye Rock
Bass
Brook
Trout
Brown
Trout
Rainbow
Trout
3 4   1   1  
4 4          
5 11   5      
6 37   9      
7 21   14   2  
8 7   6   1  
9 8   2   3 1
10 22   1   1  
11 19       3 1
12 25 2        
13 14          
14 17          
15 11          
16 3          
17 3          
18 1          
Totals 207 2 38 3 10 2

-- Area 2


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