Fishing Opportunities on Raccoon Creek

fishrecreation2Grab the canoe and load up the fishing gear because the fish are back! Not so long ago, much of the Raccoon Creek watershed was nearly devoid of aquatic life. Fortunately for anglers and outdoor enthusiasts of all sorts, the fish are rapidly returning as water quality improves.

  • On Hewett Fork, three miles downstream of the Carbondale Doser AMD Treatment site link to Carbondale project, no fish were found during a 2000 sampling event. However, in 2005, just one year after the completion of the doser, 169 total fish of 10 different species were recorded at the very same site!
  • During a 1984 study of Little Raccoon Creek, near State Route 325, two total fish, both of the same species were found. In 2005, 13 species, totaling 244 fish were documented!
  • At River Mile 10.0 of Raccoon Creek, downstream of the Northup dam, 24 species and 221 total fish were found in 1990, which increased to 34 species and 463 total fish in 1995.

Because of the wide variety of aquatic habitat in the Raccoon Creek Watershed, the diversity of fish species (about 65 total species) is extensive. Near Gallipolis, where Raccoon Creek enters the Ohio River, big river species such as freshwater drum, sauger, gar, mimic shiners, and flathead catfish can be found. In the middle portions of the watershed, creek species are abundant. These include bass, sunfish, grass pickerel, bullhead catfish, darters, and an assortment of shiners. In the upper section of the watershed, headwater species such as creek chubs, redside dace, and blunt nose minnows prevail.

For Raccoon Creek boating access sites visit the ODNR Division of Watercraft.

Fishing Hotspots

Some of the more popular fishing destinations in the watershed include Lake Hope, Jackson City Reservoir, Lake Alma, Lake Rupert Wildlife Area, and Tycoon Lake. Fishing is permitted on the majority of the Public Land in the watershed. Bathometric fishing maps are available for many of the lakes and rivers in Ohio from the Division of Wildlife.

Lake HopeJackson City ReservoirLake AlmaLake Rupert Wildlife AreaTycoon Lake
Lake Hope , located in the Zaleski State Forest region of Vinton County has 120 acres of fishable water and 5.7 miles of shoreline. The water quality of the lake has improved significantly in recent years and now supports a healthy fishery of sunfish, bass, channel catfish, and saugeye. Largemouth bass up to 22 inches in length and weighing nearly seven pounds have been documented! *electric motors only
Jackson City Reservoir, also known as Hammertown Lake, in Jackson County has 190 acres of fishing water and 8.4 miles of shoreline. This municipal water supply reservoir is stocked with approximately 3,000 catchable trout annually in mid-April. Sunfish, bass, and channel catfish angling is also successful with common catches of 8-10 pound channel cats and many 12-13 inch largemouth bass. Saugeye were introduced to the lake in 1991 and catches up to 21 inches have been reported. *electric motors only
Lake Alma in Vinton County is a 74 acre lake with a boat launch ramp located at the northeast edge. Approximately 750 catchable trout are stocked annually in late October timed to coordinate with the annual fall Halloween campout. Sunfish, channel catfish, and largemouth also inhabit the lake. High numbers of largemouth bass (8-22” in length) were observed during a 2005 electrofishing survey. Grass carp were introduced in 1992 to help control aquatic vegetation and improve angler accessibility to fishable waters. *electric motors only
Lake Rupert Wildlife Area also known as the Wellston City Reservoir, is located in Vinton County and has 322 acres of fishable waters. Common game fish include bluegill and redear sunfish, largemouth bass, channel catfish, saugeye, and crappie. Sunfish in the 6-7 inch range are very commonly caught along with 7-8 inch white crappie. Most largemouth are under 1.5 pounds and the majority of catfish are 1-2.5 pounds. In 2005, a 31 inch channel cat, and a 25 inch saugeye were measured during an angling survey. *10 h.p. motor limit
Tycoon Lake, located in Gallia County, boasts 204 acres of fishable water and 3.29 miles of shoreline. With a handicapped accessible fishing pier, campground, and trailer parking, this is an excellent location for largemouth bass, channel catfish, and crappie fishing. During a 2006 electrofishing survey, 61% of bass were 12 inches or longer, with 19% longer than 15 inches! Channel catfish up to 28 pounds have been recorded but 15-20 inch fish are most common. Early season crappie fishing is extremely successful, frequently resulting in black crappie catches up to 13 inches! *electric motors only
Raccoon Creek Fish Stories

View photos of successful anglers and their catch from Raccoon Creek and its tributaries!

Raccoon Creek Fishing Photo Gallery

Add to our collection by submitting your photos, with your name and catch location to:

Amy Mackey
Raccoon Creek Watershed Coordinator

Ohio University
Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs
The Ridges, Building 22
Athens, OH 45701

Fishing Programs, Activities, Clubs and Competitions

fishrecreation1For complete Ohio fishing regulations, and for information regarding the following fishing programs, activities, clubs, and competitions, see the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Wildlife site at:

  • DNR Wildlife Home page
  • Becoming an Outdoors Woman
  • Fish Ohio!
  • Ohio’s Record fish
  • Ohio Huskie Muskie Club, Inc.
  • Ohio Bass Federation

Local Fishing Clubs

Post your local fishing clubs’ information, events, and photos on our website by contacting Amy Mackey, Water Quality Specialist at the address above.

Upcoming Fishing Competitions and Events

None currently listed, check back later!

Do You Have Fishing Photos?

If you have photos of fish caught from the Raccoon Creek watershed, send them to Amy Mackey at:


Ohio University
Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs
The Ridges, Building 22
Athens, OH 45701

Be sure to include your name and approximate catch location!

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