Clear Lake Aquatic Website
Clear Lake Aquatic Website
Clear Lake Aquatic Website
University of California
Clear Lake Aquatic Website

Introduced Species

Some of Clear Lake's earliest human impacts are tied to the introduction of non-native fishes, dating back to the early 1870s. Clear Lake served the late 19th Century as a "testing ground" for fish introductions, often with little regard for native species (Dill and Cordone, 1997). Certain introductions have played a key role in determining the structure of the Clear Lake ecosystem. For example, Clear Lake is a top rate fishery for introduced largemouth bass, bringing in anglers for tournaments and recreation alike. The introduction of western mosquitofish and Mississippi silversides was viewed as biological control agents to combat the Clear Lake gnat, yet also provide forage for larger piscivores. There are currently 21 introduced fishes still present in Clear Lake. For more information on a species click on its common name to visit its California Fish Website species page.

Common Name Scientific Name
black crappie Pomoxis nigromaculatus
bluegill Lepomis macrochirus 
brown bullhead Ameiurus nebulosus 
brown trout Salmo trutta 
common carp Cyprinus carpio 
channel catfish Ictalurus punctatus 
fathead minnow Pimephales promelas 
Florida black crappie Pomoxis nigromaculatus 
Florida largemouth bass Micropterus salmoides floridanus 
golden shiner Notemigonus crysoleucas 
goldfish Carassius auratus 
green sunfish Lepomis cyanellus 
lake trout* Salvelinus namaycush 
lake whitefish* Coregonus clupeaformis 
Mississippi silverside Menidia audens 
Mud/Grass pickerel* Esox americanus vermiculatus 
northern largemouth bass Micropterus salmoides  
pumpkinseed Lepomis gibbosus 
redear sunfish Lepomis microlophus 
smallmouth bass Micropterus dolomieu 
threadfin shad Dorosoma petenense 
western mosquitofish Gambusia affinis
white catfish Ameiurus catus
white crappie Pomoxis annularis
yellow perch* Perca flavescens

*Unsuccessful introduction or thought to be absent from the lake

Selected References

Dill, W. A., and A. J. Cordone.  1997.  History and status of introduced fishes in California, 1871-1996. Fish Bulletin 178:1-437.

Jordan, D. S., and C. H. Gilbert.  1895.  List of the fishes inhabiting Clear Lake, California. Pages 139-140 in Bulletin of the United States Fish Commission. Vol. XIV, for 1894. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C., USA. [select Vol. 15 1895. This is a large file that may be slow to load]

Stone, L.  1876.  Report of operations in California in 1873. A. Clear Lake. Pages 377-381 in Part III. Report of the Commissioner for 1873-4 and 1874-5. United States Commission of Fish and Fisheries, Washington, D.C., USA.

Thompson, L. C., G. A. Giusti, K. L. Weber, and R. F. Keiffer. 2013. The native and introduced fishes of Clear Lake: A review of the past to assist with decisions of the future. California Fish and Game 99(1):7-41

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