Black River (below Clearwater Lake)


Bluegill, channel catfish, largemouth bass are proven stocking combination that provides both food and sport-fishing. When stocked in this order and properly managed, these species provide great fishing and good eating.

Annual Prospects Report

The Black River downstream of Clearwater Lake supports an excellent walleye population. Most male walleye are less than 3 pounds, but female walleye up to 14 pounds are present in the river. Anglers interested in walleye should fish the river between Sportsmans Access (Poplar Bluff, MO) and Clearwater Dam. The walleye spawn occurs from mid-February to mid-March. During this time period, male walleye are concentrated on the riffles. Female walleye concentrate in the pools near spawning riffles. Spotted bass/Kentucky bass and largemouth bass are the most numerous of the black bass in the river.  Smallmouth bass are rare in this section of river. The river supports an excellent channel catfish population.  Catfish in the 5 to 10 pounds range are common.  Flathead catfish are not as abundant as channel catfish, but they present throughout the river. Flathead catfish up to 40 pounds have been captured during fish surveys. The sucker population is also excellent. Depending upon water clarity, gigging for suckers should be good in 2022. During the paddlefish snagging season, anglers have a good opportunity to catch a paddlefish below Clearwater Dam. Paddlefish average between 10 and 25 pounds. The paddlefish minimum length limit has been increased to 32 inches (eye-fork).  During our last paddlefish surveys, 57% of the paddlefish captured were >32 inches.  Anglers interested in getting the current lower Black River levels can contact the Clearwater Lake Corps of Engineers at (573) 223-7777. Additional information on this section of river can be obtained by calling the number above or by emailing Paul Cieslewicz at

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Black River in southeast Missouri

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