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River of Many Fish


Ashtabula River Picture Panel donated by The Robert S. Morrison Foundation

Although it has been centuries since the Indians named it, the Ashtabula remains a “River of Many Fish” The name “Ashtabula” is an anglicized spelling of the Iroquois Indian word “Hash-tah-buh-lah,” meaning “river of many fish.” Matthew Smith, Northeast Ohio Scenic River assistant manager, says 76 fish species have been documented in the Ashtabula River.

Many of these fish are common to Ohio streams, but a few deserve special note. For example, the Ashtabula River is one of the few river systems in Ohio to have a thriving population of the northern bigeye chub. Smith says its presence is a testimony to the uniqueness of the river habitat. Additionally, four fish species of State Special Concern are found in the river – the Great Lakes musellunge, black nose shiner, lake sturgeon and northern brook lamprey.

The upper portion of the river also supports populations of colorful small fish called darters, such as the green and rainbow. While these colorful fish aren’t of interest to sports fishermen, there are plenty of other species that are. They include steelhead trout, which are not stocked in the Ashtabula River but nevertheless make their way up the stream from Lake Erie. Other sport fish include rock and smallmouth bass, crappie, blue gill, northern pike and channel catfish.

History Narrative Compilation by Carol Johnson

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