The Ohio River is one of the state's greatest fishing
resources. The waterway supports a varied fish population, walleyes and saugers
included. Both of these closely related species occur naturally in the Ohio.
River walleye (and sauger) numbers in major rivers like the Ohio are directly
related to the strength of recent year-classes, which in turn are dependent on
the spawning conditions. Springtime high-water events, which occur on a
semi-regular basis, provide poor or nonexistent year- classes. As a result,
frequently there are holes in the fishery where year-classes are missing.
Conditions have been poor during recent years, thus the population cycle may be
on the low end.
According to fisheries biologist Jim Hederick, traditionally, the upper
portion of the Ohio tends to more of a numbers game for walleyes and saugers.
Fishing can be quite good -- especially in the early spring and late fall when
fish are more concentrated -- but lunker-sized fish are rare. Hederick also
notes the best habitat for walleyes tends to be in the upper portion of the
Angling attention usually is directed to tailrace areas of the locks and
dams. The best walleye and sauger fishing occurs near the New Cumberland, Pike
Island and Hannibal dams. Though saugers can be found farther downriver,
walleyes aren't as common. Good shore-fishing opportunities can be found below
these dams on both sides of the river, as a reciprocal agreement between Ohio
and West Virginia allows licensed resident anglers from either state to fish
both shores of this border water.
Boating anglers are not allowed in the restricted area below the dams.
Concentrations of fish available to boating anglers can be found in front of
lock chamber mouths, as well as the mouths of feeder rivers and creeks.
Boat access along the upper portion of the Ohio can be found at Chester and
New Cumberland (Hancock County), Weirton and Wellsburg (Brooke County), Wheeling
(Ohio County), Fish Creek and Moundsville (Marshall County).