Rarely encountered animals may be present but undetected, potentially leading to incorrect assumptions about the persistence of a local population or the conservation priority of a particular area. The federally endangered and narrowly endemic Conasauga logperch (Percina jenkinsi) is a good example of a rarely encountered fish species of conservation concern, for which basic population statistics are lacking. We evaluated the occurrence frequency for this species using surveys conducted with a repeat-observation sampling approach during the summer of 2008. We also analyzed museum records since the late 1980s to evaluate the trends in detected status through time. The results of these analyses provided support for a declining trend in this species over a portion of its historical range, despite low estimated detection probability. We used the results to identify the expected information return for a given level of monitoring where the sampling approach incorporates incomplete detection. The method applied here may be of value where historic occurrence records are available, provided that the assumption of constant capture efficiency is reasonable.