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Schuylkill River
Montgomery County
June 2, 2009
Adult American Shad Survey

On June 2, 2009 Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission Area 6 personnel electrofished the Schuylkill River in Montgomery County from the area directly below Plymouth Dam downstream to the Matsonford bridge in Conshohocken. The main purpose of the survey was to document the presence or absence of American shad adults.

American shad migrating up the Schuylkill River are confronted with two dams before reaching Plymouth Dam: Fairmount Dam, located 8.3 miles from the confluence with the Delaware River, and Flat Rock Dam, located 7 miles upstream from Fairmount Dam. In recent years fish passage facilities in the form of fish ladders have been built at Flat Rock Dam (opened 2006) and refurbished at Fairmount Dam (re-opened 2009) to facilitate American Shad migration up the river. The survey was completed to assess whether any American shad had ascended the Flat Rock fish ladder.

In 45 minutes of boat electrofishing, 2 male American shad (16.5 inches long and 19 inches long) were captured. No other American shad were observed. Their discovery was the first time that American shad adults had been known to be present in the Conshohocken area since about 1820 when Fairmount Dam was built.

Other game fish species of interest were collected and included smallmouth bass, walleye, channel catfish, and flathead catfish. Sixty smallmouth bass were captured and ranged in lengths from 5 to 19.5 inches. Numerous other smallmouth bass over 15 inches long were observed, but could not be captured. Fifteen channel catfish were captured and ranged in length from 18 to 24 inches. A similar number were observed, but not captured. One flathead catfish was captured, although two others (one over 30 inches) were observed escaping the electrical field. Three walleye were captured and ranged in length from 11 to 24.5 inches. Another large walleye was observed escaping into shallower water. Other non-game fish species captured or observed included: white suckers, quillback, gizzard shad, one satinfin shiner, and one American eel.

This river reach provides anglers with excellent fish habitat, easy access, and a nice population of game fish, especially smallmouth bass and channel catfish. Anglers are advised that the populations may vary in this stretch with river flow and seasons of the year. They are also advised to check the rear of their fishing regulations summary booklet for health advisories that apply to certain species in this segment of the river.

-- Area 6

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