Nelsonville, OH 45764
The Ohio River has seen much change, including the construction of locks and dams and continual maintenance dredging for river transportation. This has basically formed a series of at least 20 impoundments, arranged like beads on a 981-mile necklace between Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to Cairo, Illinois.
Like any impoundment, fisheries habitat ranges from fast tailwaters to sluggish embayments. The Ohio River has a diversity of species, each pool having its own characteristics.
The Willow Island Pool of the Ohio River can be accessed from the Leith Run Recreation Area, located on the Marietta Unit of the Athens Ranger District. Facilities at Leith Run include a concrete boat ramp, spacious trailer parking, camping, and shoreline fishing. A Kids Fishing and Fun Day is held annually at the Leith Run site to celebrate National Fishing and Boating Week.
There are other tracts of National Forest land that have Ohio River frontage - you may walk in to these and access the Ohio River.
The primary species found in the Willow Island Pool include largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, spotted bass, white bass, sauger, hybrid stripers, crappie, bluegill, channel catfish, flathead catfish, walleye, and freshwater drum.
Certain species found in the Ohio River, like carp and catfish, are covered under a fish consumption advisory. Please check with the Ohio Department of Health for the latest advisories, but remember "catch-and-release" fishing is still a popular option with those species.
Come wet a line on one of America''s most interesting rivers, and keep an eye out for one of the stern wheel paddleboats that still ply the Ohio! The American Queen is shown here on a foggy morning.
Other Ohio River Access Points near the Wayne National Forest include the Gallipolis Lock and Dam, the Greenup Lock and Dam, and Belville Lock and Dam.