Due to the long history of strip mining in Clarion County, many have thought the Clarion River and its tributaries were too polluted to permit fish to live. But over the years, efforts have been made to clean the river system of acid drainage. These efforts have been successful, and more and more people are finding out what this means to the area and our fish.
Until about ten years ago, my wife and I lived on the Clarion River about five miles south of Piney Dam. On several occasions I saw a man I knew drive up a dirt road in front of our home and toward the dam. One time as he was coming back, I waved him to come over to our driveway. I asked him why he was always driving up the dirt road since he didn’t live there. With a grin he reached back behind his seat and brought up a beautiful string of bass. I said I thought the river was dead, and with the dam generating it would cause some very shallow levels when the water was held in the dam. With another knowing grin he said most folks still think it’s dead and besides, there are some very nice, deep holes where the fish congregate when the water level goes down. The secret is to know where the holes are.
Nowadays as I’m traveling up the Allegheny River at night from Parker to Emlenton, I notice lights and campfires along the shore. I’ve been told these are folks fishing for catfish.
Two years ago the Pittsburgh Tribune Review ran a long story about fishing on the Allegheny. They noted that some guides bring their fishermen to the mouth of the Clarion River on the Allegheny between Parker and Foxburg.
If you’re looking for a guide to help you find just the right fishing spot, Jeff Knapp of Kittanning is a professional fishing guide. One of his favorite places to bring fishermen is the mouth of the Clarion River. He covers a wide range on the Allegheny as well as Kahle Lake. Jeff can be reached at www.keystoneconnection.com — firstname.lastname@example.org or 724 902 6082.
It is common now to see fishing boats going up and down the Allegheny in front of our hotel. If you need bait or tackle, Gunner Muller’s shop is just across the river. He’s open seven days a week from 7am to 7pm. If you stop in, ask him about his Catfish Contest.
A team of faculty and students from California University of Pennsylvania have had the assignment of cataloging the fish inventory on the Allegheny River and its tributaries from the Point in Pittsburgh northward. According to Dr. David Argent, Chairperson of the Department of Biological and Environmental Services and head of the project, they recently collected fifteen different species of fish at the mouth of the Clarion River and from the mouth of Catfish Creek to the mouth of Mill Creek they have documented over 40 different species along the Allegheny River’s Course.
Here at the hotel we have folks from other states who have been coming for several years to fish not only the Allegheny and Clarion Rivers, but Kahle Lake as well. It’s just a few miles north of here and also considered a secret.
My understanding is there are enough fish in the waters for everyone. So if fishing is your game, come and see us.
Photo credit: Richard Lamberski