The state's most popular freshwater fish is trout, which are stocked every spring and fall, but there are also opportunities to fly fish all year in Ohio. The key is to know where to go and what kind of fish you can expect to find in each location.
Some of the best places to fly fish in Ohio include:
- Apple Creek
- Ashtabula River
- Chagrin River
- Clear Fork Branch of the Mohican River
- Euclid Creek
- Grand River and more.
Ohio waters provide a great opportunity to fly fish for trout, smallmouth bass, and panfish. Depending on the time of year and water conditions, you can find good fishing for all three species on the same day. This article will explore the top 15 places perfect for fly fishing in the state of Ohio.
Best Fly Fishing locations in Ohio
Here are the top locations to fly fish in Ohio, based on ease of access, variety of fish, and beauty of the surroundings.
1. Apple Creek
The Apple Creek watershed covers 55.2 acres in Wayne County, with the water flowing into Killbuck Creek at the end of its course. During the hot summer months, Apple Creek is a freestone stream fed by several springs that keep the water cool and prevent it from entirely freezing over during the coldest winter months. The banks of Apple Creek are frequently overwhelmed by heavy rainstorms, flooding Grosjean Park areas.
In the fall, the stream is refilled twice. Beginner and novice fly fishermen are given free fly-fishing clinics taught by CFRTU members on the same days as the stockings. Trout that have been stocked survive throughout the year in the river.
Recommended Fly Patterns for the Apple Creek, Ohio:
- Zebra Midge Black - Size 16
- Copper John Hot Wire Zebra - Size 12
- Parachute Adams Indicator - Size 12
2. Ashtabula River
The Ashtabula River is a tributary of Lake Erie in Steelhead Alley, an area recognized for its steelhead. The Ashtabula is a medium-size, shale-bottomed river that receives a spring run of Little Manistee steelhead. Brown, rainbow and brook trout are among the numerous species of fish living in the river.
Steelhead fishing on the Ashtabula River is a thrilling experience for both beginning and advanced fly fishermen. Walnut Beach Breakwall, Cedarquist Park, and Indian Trail Park are some of the designated steelhead fishing locations on the Ashtabula.
Recommended Fly Patterns for the Ashtabula River Ohio, Ohio:
3. Chagrin River
The Chagrin River is a medium-sized State Scenic and Wild River that flows through Northeast Ohio. There are many Little Manistee strain Steelhead in the Chagrin River, which runs through Steelhead Alley.
The Chagrin River has excellent public access, with various parks along the river providing opportunities to fish. The Cleveland Metroparks' North Chagrin Reservation, a 2,140-acre park that starts just upstream of Chagrin Road and extends to Mayfield Road, is another favorite spot for fly fishermen.
Recommended Fly Patterns for the Chagrin River, Ohio:
4. Clear Fork Branch of the Mohican River
The Clear Fork is a 36.6-mile (58.9 km) long tributary of the Mohican River in north central Ohio in the United States. It is part of the Mississippi's watershed, draining a 219-square-mile (570-km2) region.
The most popular fishing spot is inside the Mohican State Park, which runs between Pleasant Hill Dam and State Route 3. The “Lower Clear Fork,” known among club members, is located in this area. Since 1992, the river has been stocked with rainbow trout every year, and it can be fished all year if the water level permits, typically between 1 to 2 feet on the chart.
Recommended Fly Patterns for the Clear Fork Branch Of Mohican River, Ohio:
5. Conneaut Creek
The Conneaut is highly notable for steelhead fishing, owing to the fact that it is stocked from both Ohio and Pennsylvania. Conneaut Creek in Ashtabula County was designated a State Wild and Scenic River on October 6, 2005. From the Ohio-Pennsylvania border to the former Penn Central Railroad bridge in Conneaut, a 21-mile stretch of the creek has been protected by state designation.
Recommended Fly Patterns for the Conneaut Creek, Ohio:
6. Euclid Creek
Euclid Creek is a medium-sized, shale-bottomed tributary to Lake Erie that receives a spring run of Little Manistee steelhead and is located 10 miles east of Cleveland. The Euclid Creek drainage region measures 24 square miles and is heavily developed. Steelhead fishing locations on Euclid Creek include Wildwood State Park and the Euclid Creek Reservation.
Recommended Fly Patterns for the Euclid Creek, Ohio:
7. Grand River
The Grand River is a tributary of Lake Erie, which measures 102.7 miles (165.3 km) in length, located in northeastern Ohio in the United States. It is part of the St Lawrence River watershed, which leads to the Atlantic Ocean via Lake Ontario and the Niagara River. It covers 712 square miles (1844 square kilometers).
The Grand River begins in southeastern Geauga County and meanders eastward into Trumbull County before turning north toward Ashtabula County. It passes through the hamlet of Rock Creek before flowing west into Lake County, where it flows through the towns of Painesville and Grand River.
Recommended Fly Patterns for the Grand River, Ohio:
8. Indian Lake
Indian Lake (formerly Lewistown Reservoir) is a reservoir in Logan County, western Ohio. It is about 20 miles (32 km) southeast of Lima. The north and south forks of the Upper Great Miami River, Cherokee Mans Run, Blackhawk Creek, and Van Horn Creek all feed the lake.
For nearly half a century, the lake has been stocked with fish, including saugeye, which have earned it a national reputation. Annual major fishing tournaments are held, with local bass clubs hosting weekly competitions. "Catch and return" regulations are usually used.
Recommended Fly Patterns for the Indian Lake, Ohio:
- Double Bunny Olive & White - Size 6
- Slump Buster with Cone Black - Size 6
- Trophy Dungeon White-Red - Size 8
9. Lake Erie
The North Coast of Ohio is, in fact, one of the finest playgrounds in the midwestern United States. Lake Erie is the 12th largest freshwater lake in the world in terms of surface area. The water temperature varies more frequently than in any of the other Great Lakes because of Lake Erie's modest depth.
That is why Lake Erie is a great fishing destination in the spring when there are huge runs of walleye and perch. The warmer water makes swimming more pleasurable throughout the summer. Many determined visitors will brave freezing temperatures offshore for some excellent ice-fishing even in the off-season when most of the fair-weather visitors depart.
Recommended Fly Patterns for the Lake Erie, Ohio:
10. The Little Miami River
The Little Miami River, a Class I river of the Ohio River, runs 111 miles (179 km) through five counties in southwestern Ohio in the United States. The Little Miami joins the Ohio River near Cincinnati. It forms part of Hamilton and Clermont Counties' boundaries and Hamilton and Warren Counties' borders.
The Little Miami River is one of 153 American rivers designated by the US Congress or Secretary of the Interior as a National Wild and Scenic River. It is named for the adjacent Little Miami Scenic Trail. The Little Miami River is home to some of the finest smallmouth bass fishing in the state.
Recommended Fly Patterns for the Little Miami River, Ohio:
11. Lower Cuyahoga River
The Cuyahoga watershed begins in Hambden, Ohio, where it flows south to the confluence of the East Branch and West Branch Cuyahoga Rivers at Burton.
The Cuyahoga River enters official territory here, flowing northward for 84.9 miles (136.6 km) through northern Summit County and southern Cuyahoga County before turning sharply east and flowing through the Cuyahoga Valley National Park in northern Summit County and southern Cuyahoga counties.
It flows through Independence, Valley View, Cuyahoga Heights, Newburgh Heights, and Cleveland before reaching its northern terminus at Lake Erie. The river and its tributaries drain 813 square miles (2,110 km2) of land in parts of six counties.
Recommended Fly Patterns for the Lower Cuyahoga River, Ohio:
12. Mad River
The Mad River is a river in west-central Ohio that begins in Logan County and flows 66 miles (106 km) to downtown Dayton, where it joins the Great Miami River. The stream originates at Campbell Hill near West Liberty and flows southwest via Springfield, US Route 68 west of Urbana, and Ohio State Route 4 into Dayton.
The confluence of the stream with the Great Miami River is in Deeds Park. Rainbow and brown trout are stocked by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife.
Recommended Fly Patterns for the Mad River, Ohio:
13. Ohio River
The Ohio River is a 981-mile-long river in the United States. It flows southwesterly from western Pennsylvania to its mouth on the Mississippi River at the southern tip of Illinois, flowing through a narrow valley with an average width of fewer than 0.5 miles between Pittsburgh and Wheeling, West Virginia, about 1 mile from Cincinnati to Louisville and somewhat greater below Louisville. Species in the Ohio River include:
- Smallmouth and Largemouth Bass
- Sauger & Walleye
- White, Striped, & Hybrid Striped Bass
- Channel, Flathead, & Blue Catfish
Recommended Fly Patterns for the Ohio River, Ohio:
- Clouser Crawdad - Size 6
- Bass Popper - Size 6
- Muddy Buddy - Size 6
14. Rocky River
The Rocky River is a short river in Cuyahoga County, Ohio, that serves as the natural western limits of Cleveland and the suburb of Lakewood, as well as Fairview Park and Rocky River. The river forms the natural border between Brook Park to the south and North Olmsted and Olmsted Township to the west. Anglers have a huge opportunity to get their hands on some of the finest fishing locations in Ohio along the Rocky River with access points at:
- The Emerald Necklace
- Madison Pool
- Rock Cliff Spring
- Morley Ford
- Lorain Road Bridge
- Blue Bank Pools and more.
Recommended Fly Patterns for the Rocky River, Ohio:
15. Vermillion River
The Vermilion River is a river in northern Ohio. It has a length of 66.9 miles (107.7 kilometers) and drains 268 square miles (690 km2) of land, becoming a tributary of Lake Erie. The name refers to the reddish clay prevalent in the area's soil.
The Ohio Department of Natural Resources stocks native rainbow, brown, and steelhead trout each fall through spring. This is the westernmost river in Ohio that is annually stocked with steelhead trout by the ODNR. Other species that can be found include:
- Smallmouth and largemouth bass
- Rock bass
- Channel catfish
- Longnose gar, and more.
Recommended Fly Patterns for the Vermillion River, Ohio:
What Gear do I need to Fly Fish in Ohio?
When it comes to the basics, you'll need waders, wading boots, a rain jacket, a wide-brimmed hat (to keep your head dry and protect your eyes), insect repellant, and a vest backpack for smaller items.
The equipment you'll need for fly fishing in Ohio will naturally depend on the species of fish you're targeting. You may want a 10' 7 weight or an 8 weight if you think the extra heft won't be tiring swinging the rod all day long with the great steelhead fly fishing in Ohio.
Additional Facts about Fly Fishing in Ohio
Is Ohio good for fly fishing?
The mouth of the Mad River, which flows through Grand Rapids, is a particularly popular fishing spot for fly fishers due to the deep-water holes created by the water flow around the Mad River Run rock formations, where fish tend to congregate in order to stay away from the current.
Ohio is a great state for fly fishing, with plenty of opportunities to catch a wide variety of species. The state is home to over 60 different species of fish, including bass, trout, and catfish. There are also several large lakes and rivers that offer good fly fishing conditions.
Where is the best fly fishing in Ohio?
Ohio offers some of the best fly fishing in the Midwest. The state is home to a large number of lakes and rivers that are perfect for fly fishing.
Some of the best fly fishing spots in Ohio include the Mad River, the Grand River, Apple Creek, Ashtabula River, and the Chagrin River.
Is there trout fishing in Ohio?
There are five rivers in Ohio that house rainbow trout, brown trout, or brook trout. The Clear Fork River, Clear Creek, Mad River, the Chagrin River, and the Rocky River are just a few of them.
Ohio is a great state for fly fishing, with plenty of opportunities to catch a wide variety of fish. There are several large lakes and rivers, as well as smaller streams, that offer good fly fishing conditions. The best time to go fly fishing in Ohio is in the spring or fall when the weather is cooler, and the fish are more active