(This is a chain of articles about Captina Creek)

Article by: Tim Parrett, Fish Management Supervisor, Wildlife District Four
Submitted by: Eric Gibson Watershed Coordinator

Belmont County offers a diverse set of opportunities for the public to enjoy fishing, hunting, trapping, and wildlife viewing. From the Ohio River to the uplands of Egypt Valley, there is something for everyone.

From Pike Island Locks and Dam, the Ohio River flows 25 miles along the Belmont County shoreline. Many sportfish species can be caught in this stretch of river. Smallmouth bass as well as other black bass can be caught regularly, particularly around rocky shorelines. Walleye and sauger are plentiful with sauger dominating the catch. Sauger can be distinguished from walleye by having rows of black spots in the spiny dorsal fin as well as having dark, vertical saddle bars along the sides of the fish. One of the better spots for catching both sauger and walleye is below the locks and dam. Fishing for both is typically better in the fall, winter, and early spring. Channel catfish and flathead catfish can be caught throughout the river. Deep holes with some sort of cover such as logs or brushpiles provide areas for flathead catfish to lie and wait for prey. Flathead catfish over 30 pounds are not unheard of from the Ohio River. Hybrid striped bass, a cross between white bass and striped bass, are stocked annually by the ODNR-Division of Wildlife. Fishing picks up in the spring and summer after the sauger and walleye disperse from the locks and dam area.

Waterfowl hunting is good throughout the river. All hunters should familiarize themselves with seasons, bag limits, and species of waterfowl open to hunting.

Piedmont Lake, located in the northwestern corner of Belmont County, is one of southeastern Ohio's top spots for saugeye fishing. Saugeye, a cross between walleye and sauger, are found in great numbers at this 2,273 acre lake. This lake is known for its beautiful scenery and quiet atmosphere. There is a 10 horsepower limit for outboard motors here which lends to the quietness found at this lake. Piedmont Lake is also one of two lakes in southeastern Ohio that is stocked with muskellunge. Muskellunge, or "muskie" grow big at Piedmont and are one of the largest sportfish found in Ohio. Fish up to 50-inches in length are caught here every year. Waterfowl hunting can be good at Piedmont Lake though access can be difficult in the winter as the lake level is drawn down several feet.

The Egypt Valley Wildlife area covers over 14,000 acres of rolling hills, grasslands, and woodlands. Deer and turkey hunting is popular here as well as fishing in the numerous small ponds that dot the wildlife area. Many of these small ponds have been stocked with channel catfish, largemouth bass, and bluegill sunfish. The small ponds and wetland areas also provide for waterfowl hunting.

Barkcamp State Park has several amenities to attract outdoor enthusiasts. Camping, hiking trails, and cabins are available. Hunting is permitted in designated areas. Squirrel hunting is particularly popular at this state park. Within Barkcamp State Park is the 117 acre Belmont Lake. Anglers can enjoy fishing for bass, sunfish and channel catfish. Saugeye are also stocked here each year as well as catchable size rainbow trout, which are typically stocked in early spring. Hiking the numerous trials should give bird watchers ample opportunity to observe and listen for Ohio's diverse songbird species.

As you can see, Belmont County is rich in natural resources and no matter your particular interest, there is always something to do outdoors. For further information about ODNR-Division of Parks and Recreation or ODNR " Division of Wildlife lands, please visit www.ohiodnr.com.

All services of the Belmont SWCD & NRCS are provided regardless of race, color, national origin, gender, age, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, and marital or family status. Equal Opportunity Employer.