Recreation year ‘round
on the lower Ohio River

Site updated July 31, 2006
Smithland Pool

Pope County, Illinois
The well-known sports writer for the Southern Illinoisan newspaper
called the Smithland Pool
one of the last unspoiled outdoor resources in the Midwest

PLEASE NOTE:  We have purchased, refurbished, and in Spring, 2006 we reopened the Bay City General Store (1915), which is right next door to the Cabin.

Above the Store is a "3 room hotel" -- 3 spacious bedrooms completely redone, AC, DISH, Riverview Overlook balcony, Continental Breakfast, and all the other comforts of home.

Secure private entrance, well-equipped "outdoor cooking center", and enclosed Patio Dining Room.

The ideal "get-away" for couples.

For larger groups, the Cabin and Store lodging can be rented together and the result is a larger-group FUN experience.

Store is right next door to the Bay City Cabin, and is open on weekends  Friday - 9 to 5, Saturday 9 to 5, and Sunday 1 to 5

Bay City Store and Lodging


Fishin’ is good on the Ohio

                Guided hunts are available from local outfitters

Great Bird Watching

Eagles, Osprey, Waterfowl

Unencumbered boating for 70+ miles


Traffic at Bay City is almost non-existent – 240 vehicles per day

Full service marina 9  miles up river at Golconda

State boat ramp 1 mile up the road

Fishing in Barren Creek, Dog Creek (just above the Smithland Lock and Dam), Bay Creek, Lusk Creek, Grand Pierre and more, plus creeks on the Kentucky side of the River


Delta Queen passing Bay City



Bay City was platted in 1859 but never incorporated – yet it became a key river and agricultural trading place, with paddle-wheelers stopping every day -- with many residents and lots of year-round hustle and bustle, until the 1970’s when cars and supermarkets spelled the decline of local commerce.  The population of Bay City now is 10 full-time residents, and 6 weekend residents.  Golconda is 11 miles to the north, and Metropolis, Brookport and Paducah are ½ hour to the south.  Easy access year round.

Front of Bay City Cabin

A 6 - room cabin, metal roof - completely furnished and decorated, with two baths and 2 bedrooms, living room, complete eat-in kitchen, and a fabulous deck that provides super views of the Ohio River.  Cabin has 2 window air conditioners, 2 - 85,000 BTU space heaters with blowers, 2 showers and stools, and 3 vanity sinks.  Public water system.  Modest-size screen porch with ceiling fan on front.  Ceiling fans in living room and both bedrooms.    With the Hide-a-Bed in the living room, can sleep 7-8 persons! Bedroom ONE – 1 full bed, one twin bed.   Bedroom TWO – one full bed, one twin bed.

Cabin living room 16x16

Bedroom One

The Cabin was built in about 1952, has 9-foot ceilings in living room and main bedroom, and vinyl floor tile in 3 rooms. Propane grill, and propane fish cooker on deck.

Bedroom Two

Full kitchen and dining utensils, bed linens and towels provided.  Ample hanging spaces for clothing, and TV with 2 local stations and a VCR, in the living room.  (Some people staying nearby have brought their own “dish” for satellite reception – may work or not, but maybe worth a try.)

Living room from the Kitchen

The cabin is comfortable.  It has fire and carbon monoxide alarms, and four doors for ventilation and exit.

Fish cleaning spot with water, a deer- hanging tree just out the back door (please bring your own block and tackle), and flat area for secure boat parking beside cabin with extension cord for battery charging.

1st full bath

There is a parking spot immediately below the Cabin we rent for camper trailers, but which can be reserved for a small additional charge in case additional parking is needed for boats and cars.  This lot has public water, security lights and electric outlets.  Sorry – no camper sewage disposal available yet.  Lot can hold two, possibly three vehicles or boats.

2nd full bath

The Barren Creek public boat launch is just down the road, about 1 mile.  It takes about 10 minutes to be in the water!  Fishing in Barren Creek, Bay Creek, Dog Creek, and across the River in Kentucky is Bayou Creek (Kentucky license required).  Illinois fishing license covers the entire Ohio River and the creeks on the Illinois side.

Bass, crappie, catfish, bluegill, and stripers, (white bass and sauger if you know where and how to find them).

Smithland Dam is just a short 8 miles downstream, and fishing below the Dam (in an adequate boat) can be absolutely excellent, with good catches of striper, sauger, and catfish common.

The Bay City Cabin cabin property adjoins the County Highway, and just across the road is the access path right down the bank to the Ohio River – bank fishing can be very good right there (shady in afternoon and evening)!

The Warner Bros. film U.S., Marshals, with Tommy Lee Jones, Wesley Snipes, Robert Downey Jr., Joe Pantolino and many others was filmed in part right in front of the Cabin – the airplane crash and rescue scene.  (Summer, 1997)  Copies of the movie are available in the Store


Rental Rates for 2006

$65 per day (double occupancy included)          $10 per day for each additional person

    No extra charge for children under 12

Lower roadfront parking lot – boats, etc  - $5 per day             Camper trailer / camper truck parking use of lot - $12 /day

Deposit required of 25% of the total reservation rental charge, in advance, to confirm the reservation (not refundable).

We can accept your credit card for the deposit -- just call us and we will be glad to take your reservation.

Contact Donna or Don Norton – Route 3 Box 137 – Golconda, Illinois  62938
Phone  618-683-4305  or  Cell 618-525-4305


See the Bay City Store and Lodging by clicking on this link: Bay City Store and Lodging




Located in the heart of the Shawnee National Forest, Pope County, Illinois