Finding the best fishing spot can be quite a chore. Finding one that is safe and accessible for someone with mobility issues can be even harder.
When trying to catch a story worthy fish, the last thing one wants to worry about is tripping, rolling or falling into the water. That is what motivated me to share the places I know in and around Belmont County that allow everyone to enjoy the thrill of casting out with only the danger of catching a sunburn.
Location, Belmont Lake, 65330 Barkcamp Park Road, Belmont, OH 43718
Barkcamp has one of the best spots around and is known for catfishing. Straight into the park on the main road will bring you down to the most gorgeous view of Belmont Lake.
On most days, during warmer weather, there will be someone hanging out at the bridge or boat dock giving their best to catch a dandy, put in, or paddling around on a kayak. Click here for a Belmont Lake map to get a glimpse of all the attractions located within this Ohio State Park.
Go a little further and you will find an wide open spot with accessible parking and a walled dock area perfect for sending out your best lure or plopping in catfish bait. There is plenty of room for all your gear, picnic tables and an accessible restroom. All the amenities a fisher person can appreciate. The potential to catch a good looking fish and making a friend along the way are equally viable.
When you are done fishing, take a loop back toward the General Store. There you can enjoy the paved trail while learning about native trees in the area. Take a stroll through the pioneer village and check out the historical Lewis Wetzel Rock.
If you enjoy being outdoors, check out more Accessible Leisure Activities in Ohio for Everyone Whatever You Enjoy.
Location, The Bridge, Egypt Valley Road
This site is accessible for all your fishing needs and it is located along State Route 250. Just be careful and try not to get distracted by all of those passers-by trolling along on the water in their boats. The people-watching at this location can be almost as good as the fishing.
Where Barkcamp has ALL the amenities, Egypt Valley Wildlife Area harbors all of the beauty and mystique that its name entails. The Bridge is located near Sixteen Valley where Stillwater Creek flows from the back waters of Piedmont Lake. At one time a wooden bridge marked this location but now its structure is a framed metal side.
Any individual with limited mobility issues can easily park along the roadside, unload thier gear and set up to get casting. The bridge allows access to both sides of the flow of Stillwater Creek without posing any dangers.
This location is perfect for the fisher person who is looking to spend some time in nature. It is far enough off of the beaten path that you won’t hear the whirring and wooshing of traffic from the interstate. There is not a bathroom, so be prepared to have alternate plans for when nature calls.
Piedmont Lake is stocked regularly and it is known for its quality muskie, saugeye, crappie, catfish, and white bass harvest. Casting out particularly along this area of the lake can bring you a rewarding experience. Click here for Piedmont Lake map that includes a snapshot of the 2,270 acres lake that traverses Belmont and Harrison counties.
During the day, take a hat or an umbrella to stay hidden from the suns smoldering rays. While there, plan on passers-by to stop and ask about your catch or just to shoot the breeze before rumbling away along the dirt road.
In the evening, take a lantern, expecially if it is a New Moon. Night time in Egypt Valley is full of its own lore. Anything from cult activity to Sasquatch has been told. Be that as it may, I have spent many nights out on that bridge, unbothered and unharmed. Sometimes having caught fish, sometimes not. But ALWAYS enjoying the companionship of the nightime chirps of crickets and croaks of frogs.
(Of note, fingerling saugeye have been recently stocked at Piedmont Lake. So if you are getting a nibble and a tug, be aware that these little guys aren’t quite big enough to catch yet. )
Location: 84000 Mallarnee Road, Deersville, OH 44693
Tappan lake is a busy place to be during warmer weather and if you are driving around the lake in late Spring to early Summer you will see people giving their best to catch the first fish of the season. One thing that is great about Tappan Lake is that they built 2 accesible fishing piers in 2017. Click here for a Tappan Lake Map that includes the locations of these two excellent spots. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources annually stocks this lake, so don’t worry there are enough white bass for everyone. Be careful though, those saugeye have teeth!
In the Campground, Near Launch Ramp
The fishing pier was added to the launch ramp inside the campground which makes this an amazing addition to the locations with plenty of amenitites. The marina is nearby to buy bait and have a great home town meal and they have accessible bathrooms.
State Route 250 Access
Sadly, this location is not accessible all year round but it is that time of the year when they should be putting out for plenty of summer enjoyment. This is one of those places you will want to note that does not have an accessible bathroom area nearby.
Fishing while wearing hearing aids on a hot summer day can be a challenge. This article has some practicial care tips for being outdoors while utilizing hearing aids.
Location: Yorkville, Ohio
The Fisherman’s Access Area is located on the Ohio side of the River in Yorkville. Since I have not been to this location in quite some time, I reached out to the Pike Island Locks and Dam Facebook group for an update.
Per the many helpful replies, the access to the fishing pier may be difficult in a wheelchair and those with unsteady footing, so it may be best to bring a friend to this location. Additionally, one member of the group also noted that there is a paved walkway that is accesible to fish above the dam. There are no bathrooms or drinking water access at this location, so remember to back your ice chest with plenty of water and salami sandwich’s, just don’t drink too much water.
The Ohio Department Of Natural Resources provides the opportunity for individuals to apply for a free Ohio fishing license for “Persons who are mobility impaired and required the assistance of another person to cast and retrieve.” To find out more contact 1-800-WILDLIFE (1-800-945-3543)
Ohio Free Fishing Days are June 17 & 18, 2023
Anyone who is unsure of whether or not they will enjoy fishing to give it a try during During these 2 days, citizens of Ohio do not need a fishing license.