Racine Pool of Ohio River offers muskie fishing, walleyes
Racine, Ohio — The Racine pool begins below the Belleville dam in Reedsville, Ohio. The water within the pool is held back by the Racine lock and dam. The upstream face of the Racine dam is approximately four miles upstream of Racine, Ohio. The pool is 33.6 miles long and covers approximately 5,300 surface acres. The entire pool lies within Meigs County in southeast Ohio.
The tailwater within this pool is the Belleville tailwater. The vessel lock chambers are on the Ohio side.
The right descending bank is the Ohio side. This area includes a public day-use area with picnic tables, grills, a shelter, parking areas, and restroom facilities. There is a primitive fishing only access on the Ohio side; use caution, the shoreline is armored with riprap, so walking can be treacherous.
The left descending bank is the West Virginia side. Improved fishing access is a concrete poured-in riprap creating a level sidewalk for easy walking that is also handicap accessible. The hydroelectric power plant is approximately a 200-foot cast to reach the area in front of the hydro discharge.
The area offers restrooms, lighting, plenty of parking, and two fishing piers that allow easy access and create current breaks that hold fish.
Primary Boater Access – Forked Run Ohio River Access in Long Bottom, Ohio, on the mainstem of the Ohio River is a free public ramp. The concrete two-lane ramp has courtesy docks and lighting. Shore fishing is available in the area. The facility can experience mud in the parking lot and ramp area after flooding occurs.
Anglers can also access Ravenswood Public Access in Ravenswood, W. Va. Ravenswood has a three-lane ramp with courtesy docks and plenty of parking. The ramp is a free public ramp with restrooms, lighting, picnic tables, and trash cans.
Another launch is Mill Creek Public Access. This free public ramp launches into Mill Creek approximately two miles from the Ohio River. It is a one-lane concrete ramp with eight parking spaces.
Notable fishing locations within the pool are, Pond Creek (West Virginia side), Forked Run Creek (Ohio side) can be productive when water is high, Shade River (Ohio side) is known for producing muskellunge, Old Lock and Dam No. 21 (Ohio side) has good shore fishing access, Buffington Island, Sandy Creek (West Virginia side), Old Town Creek (Ohio side), Mill Creek (West Virginia side) and Tombleson Run (West Virginia side).
The sharp bend at Long Bottom, Ohio, at river mile 209.5, is an excellent catfish location. Deep water and large boulders can hold trophy flathead catfish.
Muskellunge fishing is available in the Racine Pool. The Shade River has produced muskies every year. The head and tail of any Ohio River island can be productive fishing spots for sauger, walleyes, and any of the black basses. Buffington and Letart islands are no exception to that rule.
Old Lock and Dam No. 23 at mile 231.4 is visible on the Ohio shore. It provides black bass fishing, especially on the upstream end. The remains of the Old Wicket dam extends underwater to the West Virginia shore slightly downriver of the mouth of Mill Creek. Fish the mouth of Mill Creek down to the mouth of Little Mill Creek. This area is known for saugers and occasional walleyes.
Primary sportfish species found within the pool are walleyes, saugers, saugeyes (in low numbers), largemouth bass, spotted bass, crappies, muskellunge, white bass, hybrid striped bass, channel catfish, flathead catfish, and blue catfish (West Virginia is annually stocking blue catfish in upstream pools).
General fishing notes and observations – Sander species (walleye, sauger) fishing is generally most successful below the tailwaters. This is also true for smallmouth bass whereas largemouth and spotted bass most successful fishing will be in tributary mouths, island points, and drop-offs, and bays. The Forked Run and Ravenswood public boat ramp areas provide decent shoreline fishing access. Also try shoreline fishing at the mouth of the Shade River.
Regulation notes – The complete extent of this pool lies between West Virginia and Ohio, forming the border between these two states. Consequently, this pool is part of the two-state reciprocal agreement.
Resident license holders in Ohio and West Virginia can fish the Ohio River mainstem, West Virginia tributaries, embayments, and shoreline, and Ohio tributaries, embayments, and shoreline.
Anglers from other states must purchase each state’s respective non-resident fishing license to be able to fish in the portion of the Ohio River owned by each state. A West Virginia license is required for the Ohio River mainstem, West Virginia embayments, tributaries, and shoreline. An Ohio license is required for Ohio embayments, tributaries, and shoreline.
West Virginia fishing regulations must be followed when fishing the Ohio River mainstem, West Virginia shoreline, embayments, and tributaries.
Data provided by Division of Wildlife District 4 office: (740) 589-9930.
Nearest town: Racine
Surface area: 5,300 acres
Shore length: 33.6 miles
Fish species present: hybrid striped bass, saugeye, flathead catfish, channel catfish, black crappies, white crappies, largemouth bass, bluegills, blue catfish, muskellunge, sauger, walleyes.
For information: Division of Wildlife District 4: (740) 589-9930.