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Susquehanna River Boat Electrofishing (2009)

Sandy Beach City Park - Bass Monitoring

Survey Number: 709011
Survey Dates: September 15, 2009

This survey was conducted in order to compare the abundance of bass relative to past sampling efforts at this site. In addition, we were also looking for any sign of Columnaris bacteria infections in juvenile bass. Three severe flood events since Sept. 2004 along with outbreaks of Columnaris bacteria infections in juvenile smallmouth bass in 2005 and 2007 have raised concerns about the status of the river's bass population. Anglers had been complaining about poor bass fishing since 2003. However, anglers have been reporting better fishing for the past two years.

The sampling results showed a continued increase in the abundance of legal sized bass compared to the 2005, 2007 and 2008 sampling events, and reasonably high abundance of bass between 6" and 12". Young-of-year (YOY) bass abundance was significantly lower than recent surveys, but this is not surprising given the cool spring/summer temperatures and high river flows. YOY abundance in a July 2009 sampling event also revealed low abundance of YOY bass as did similar sampling conducted by Pennsylvania Fish and Boat biologists. Below is a summary of sampling results for the five years of effort at this site

Survey Summary of electrofishing effort at Sandy Beach City Park, Susquehanna River
Year Legal Bass 6 - 12 inch Bass Effort (hours) Flow (cfs) Temperature (F)
2009 9 25 1.5 1,050 66
2008 5 35 1.6 1,250 66
2007 0 2 1.0 590 66
2005 3 3 1.6 327 61
1993 18 49 1.2 345 69

As in previous years, daytime sampling was conducted with a SmithRoot boat electrofishing unit. River flows and water temperatures were similar to previous years as was amount of sampling effort.

Overall, it appears that subadult and adult smallmouth bass numbers have increased in recent years but they have not yet reached the levels observed in 1993. However, it should be noted that the number of other fish within this sampling site, particularly rock bass, has been noticeably lower. Dozens of quality sized rock bass were captured during the 1993 survey, but only a handful have been captured since. None were captured or observed this year.

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