Belmont County offers a variety of hunting and fishing opportunities
For many, September in Ohio means hunting season. Belmont County offers beautiful places to hunt and fish this fall. Early September hunting seasons include dove, squirrel, and some waterfowl. Deer archery season soon follows, opening state-wide on Saturday, Sept. 24. Fall is also an excellent time to fish in Ohio as dropping water temperatures cause fish to move to shallower water. So, grab your hunting and fishing gear and head to one of these great outdoor areas.
Barkcamp State Park - Hunting is permitted in designated areas. Squirrel hunting is popular here. Anglers will enjoy good catches of bass, bluegill, catfish, crappie, saugeye, and trout. Barkcamp is one of the few places where visitors can glimpse what Ohio's forests looked like before settlement. The park's picturesque hills and quiet lake draw campers, paddlers, anglers, horseback riders, and hikers to experience the region's natural splendor. Visitors will enjoy the mature woodlands, open meadows, 117-acre scenic lake, and abundant wildlife of this secluded 1,232 acres of rolling hills and forests. Picnic areas and year-round camping are available.
Piedmont Lake - Hunting, particularly deer hunting, is popular on Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District (MWCD) property. Wildlife found throughout MWCD public access lands includes deer, wild turkey, squirrel, rabbit, waterfowl, and other migratory game birds. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) manages fish and wildlife on Conservancy District lands and lakes through a longstanding memorandum of agreement.
Egypt Valley Wildlife Area is 14,300 acres of reclaimed surface mining area in Belmont and Guernsey counties, administered by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. Deer, turkey, waterfowl, squirrel, grouse, rabbit, and dove are common within the area. The Division of Wildlife has stocked many small ponds with bass, catfish, and bluegills. Hiking, bird watching, photography, and sightseeing are also popular there. Many species of birds not seen elsewhere in the area, such as the short-eared owl, Northern harrier, Henslow’s sparrow, and bobolink, can be found on the large expanses of grassland. Bald eagles and ospreys occasionally stop in the wildlife area on their annual migration. River otters were reintroduced to this area in 1993, and now a thriving population can be found there.
Pike Island Lock and Dam - Pike Island Lock and Dam is a dam located just .4 miles from Yorkville. Fishermen will find a variety of fish, including flathead catfish, walleye, bowfin, perch, green sunfish, largemouth bass, bream/bluegill, bullhead, carp, and catfish.
Powhatan Point Marina - Biological studies of Captina Creek and its tributaries in Belmont and Monroe counties have revealed it as one of the best quality streams in Ohio. The main stem of Captina Creek has scored the highest average fish diversity scores in the state, with 56 fish species sampled by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency. Additionally, average macroinvertebrate diversity scores place Captina Creek among the state's 10 highest-scoring watersheds. Adding to its unique diversity, Captina Creek is home to the state's endangered Eastern Hellbender salamander. It is one of only a few watersheds in Ohio where successful reproduction in the past decade has been documented. The watershed also supports a healthy smallmouth bass fishery and abundant other wildlife in its forested habitat.
Other great places to fish in Belmont County include Barnesville Memorial Park Lake, Epworth Park in Bethesda, and Schuler Park in Flushing. Zion Retreat & RV Park has catch-and-release fishing in a 27-acre lake. Dickinson Cattle Ranch in Barnesville offers paid fishing in eight stocked ponds ranging in size from one to five acres.
Hunters are reminded to check the current regulations for changes to season dates and daily limits as the 2022 fall season begins. A summary of the 2022-23 hunting and trapping regulations can be found at wildohio.gov, on the free HuntFish OH app, or anywhere licenses are sold.