GALLIA COUNTY — With warm weather coming into full swing, local waters have an increasing number of anglers on the water.
Fishing has always been a tradition in Gallia County, a past time available to people of all ages and walks of life.
In Gallia County there are several public access fishing spots; Tycoon Lake, Racoon Creek, Symmes Creek, Kenton (Pumpkintown) Lake, and of course the Ohio River. Anglers have the opportunity to catch a variety of fish, although many anglers focus on catfish and sunfish (bass) species.
“Catfishing has been popular for a long time in Gallia County,” Roy Rucker, the local state wildlife officer, said. “People are fishing day and night right now for cats.”
In Gallia County there are several main species of catfish; blue, shovelhead, channel, and flatheads. The most popular spot for catfishing is at the Robert C. Byrd Locks and Dam on the Ohio shore. Catfish can be found along many of the other waters in Gallia County, particularly Raccoon Creek.
While the land surrounding Raccoon Creek is predominately private land, Bob Evans Farm and Tycoon are public access. Symmes Creek is a largely public fishing stream in Wayne National Forest that is good for sunfish and bass. There is no improved access to the creek, but it can be accessed anywhere in Wayne Forrest. The Ohio River has several public access points including Crown City Wildlife area, the Butler Access Boat Ramp, Byrd Locks and Dam, Gallipolis Parkfront, and the Cheshire access area.
In the Ohio River, anglers can hope to catch bass, striper hybrid, several species of Catfish, and possibly Drum, Walleye and Sauger, and maybe Muskie that has migrated out of West Virginia.
“The state record for catfish in Ohio is nearly 100 pounds. A fish that big has a mouth as wide as a human torso,” explained Rucker.
It is not uncommon for local residents to catch catfish around 60 pounds at the Byrd dam.
“I really want to encourage people to take their kids fishing. It is a fun family activity, and readily accessible for everyone,” said Rucker.
Many of the waters in Gallia County have fish that can be easily caught with night crawlers and a simple hook and bobber set up. Licenses are only required in public waters and for persons 16 years old and older, although there are ponds available to the public that do not require licenses. Bob Evans Farm has a public access pond, and the Rio Reservoir is also considered private land: both of which offer excellent bass fishing.
It is important for residents to obey property laws and regulations when fishing.
“There are many places along the Raccoon Creek that are popular fishing holes, but many are private land and individuals need to get permission to fish there,” explained Rucker. “The public should also check the regulations and guidelines from the ODNR or by visiting wildohio.gov to learn more.”
Reach Morgan McKinniss at 740-446-2342 ext 2108 or firstname.lastname@example.org