BY KAREN GERHARDINGER | MIRROR REPORTER — The diner counter with swivel stools and a bowl of chocolates hints at the ambience of Muddy Water Outdoors. Part tackle shop, gun store and shooting range, it’s also a place to shoot the breeze and share fish stories.
And that’s just fine with Joe Stuard, a lifelong fisherman who opened the Waterville Township shop in June 2020. Along with his brother, Ben, Joe keeps the shop open daily, offering concealed carry classes, new and vintage tackle, new and used firearms and an outdoor shooting range.
Located at the corner of Hertzfeld Road and old US 24 at 10110 S. River Rd., the building housed a Phillips 66 station with a 24-hour C&O Restaurant in the 1950s, according to the Waterville Historical Society. Stepping into the shop, it’s easy to see that Joe appreciates history. Displays include vintage tackle boxes and lures alongside new items.
“If Grandpa took you fishing back in the day, you have memories of how important each lure was,” he said. In his treks to estate sales and online, he’s noted how anglers’ logs of fishing holes and far-away trips are like a time capsule.
“I recently bought a tacklebox and the guy had a briefcase with books listing every place his grandpa had fished in Canada and the United States – and what they caught,” he said. “I saw another notebook where these two women went on fishing trips every year and kept track of every detail.”
Muddy Water Outdoors buys, sells and trades tackle and boxes, and also offers a supply of new gear for anglers.
“Guys will come in and we’ll talk fishing,” Joe said. “I have other guys who call regularly to see what’s new.”
While it’s not quite walleye season, he has customers who fish for steelhead even in winter. The Maumee River also yields catfish, crappie, bluegill and bass. Muddy Water Outdoors is conveniently located near Otsego Road, an access route to the river in Bend View Metropark – which is known for its beautiful, 90-degree bend in the river.
Bend View also recently added two enclosed, rustic camping platforms off Otsego Road, available for overnight rental beginning this spring. With camping also available in Farnsworth Metropark and nearby private campgrounds, Muddy Water Outdoors stocks firewood and other camping supplies in the warmer months.
Firearms and bow hunting supplies are in demand throughout the year, and Muddy Water Outdoors has a selection for a variety of needs. Concealed carry classes with instructor Thomas Sloan are offered regularly.
Behind the shop is an outdoor range that can be used for a $35.00 annual fee plus $10.00 a day. Ben and Joe often have fun competitions on the range to post on social media.
“Ben is a better shot,” Joe admitted.
The shop also hosts special events like swaps and chili cook-offs. For information on events, visit www.muddywatersohio.com or call the shop at (419) 205-2998. Or stop by Sunday through Thursday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., and Saturday 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.