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Fly Fishing in Ohio - Prime Fly Fishing spots in Ohio

Prime Fly Fishing spots in Ohio


Similar to other states that border Great Lakes, Ohio has some world class fishing that may get overlooked. On top of Lake Erie, there is also over 5,000 lakes and 60 rivers to choose from. Giving anglers plenty of opportunities to not just catch fish but to catch a wide array.

From bass to trout to steelhead, Ohio is loaded with fishable water and plenty of fish to go around to anglers. 

So, below we’re going to cover some of the spots you should visit on your next fly-fishing trip to Ohio.


Mad River 

The Mad River is no longer a secret. It’s known across Ohio and the bordering states that this has some superb trout fishing. Located in the western side of the state and flowing into the Great Miami River in Dayton.  This is the largest cold-water fishery in the state and since it is spring fed it allows for trout fishing year-round. 

There’s a nice population of native brook trout in the river as well some brown trout. The fish appear to be very healthy and have a solid repopulation every year. 

The river can fluctuate based on how much has fallen so be careful before you head out to wade the river. Also, the river is normally very clear, so stealth is important when fishing here. As well as light tippet and smaller flies.

The Mad River has a plethora of different access points. The best access points in the best trout water are going to be north of Springfield to Bellefountaine. Check out the Pimtown and Farm Market access points. 

The river is pretty wadable but during lower water points you can wade long stretches of it. Essentially wading a full day on the river. Again, patience is going to be key but this is some of the best trout water in the state of Ohio. 

Fly Selection 

  • Blue Winged Olive
  • Trico Nymph
  • Green Sedge
  • Caddis
  • Black Stonefly
  • Bead Head Scud


Clear Fork Branch of Mohican River

The Clear Fork is another spring fed river that allowed for year-round trout fishing. These spring fed rivers can be great for anglers but also frustrating just because there’s not many of them, so they get pressured constantly. The good news is that the Clear Fork Branch has plenty of room for anglers to fish. 

There is plenty of pocket water and undercut banks for both rainbow and brown trout to hide in. You’ll also find good populations of bass, crappie, bluegill, carp and saugeye. On top of this you’ll also see Muskie. These are much tougher to catch than trout but hang on if you do because you might be in for a ride. 

A 5-weight rod will be ideal for fishing this river since it will allow you to throw just about whatever fly you need and will have enough backbone to it in case you hook into a larger trout. If you plan on bass fishing, then something larger like a 6-7 weight will be ideal.

Try fishing the bridges near Butler-Belville. You can park there and hop into the water to wade fish. Be aware of some of the private land that borders this section. You can also check out the water near the Wade and Gatton Nursery.

Fly Selection 

  • Blue Winged Olive
  • Black Caddis
  • Sulphur
  • Midges
  • Wooly Bugger


Little Miami River 

The Little Miami is known for its great populations of smallmouth bass. Smallmouth fishing can be a great way to give the trout a rest during heat waves in the summer. Smallmouth are known for putting up a fierce fight when hooked and for exploding on flies.

You either float or wade the river. Floating will be a great way to cove more eater effectively, but wading can help you really work sections of this river and will allow you to learn where the fish like to hang out and what prey they’re going after.

The river is 111 miles long and has plenty of access points. Giving you the option to float for only a few hours to a few days. Morgan’s canoe launch and the area at Morrow are both great places to drop in a canoe, kayak or to fish from the launch. State route 725 also has plenty of access points on it. You’ll want to look six miles north of Waynesville. 

Since the Little Miami is a warm water habitat, you’ll want to stick with a 6-8 weight rod and you’ll want to come stocked with your bass flies. Keep an eye on the water to see if the fish are targeting the surface.

Fly Selection 


Ashtabula River 

If you want some truly great Lake Erie fishing, then check out the Ashtabula. It flows into Lake Erie. The steelhead spawn occurs in the spring, and you don’t want to miss it. There aren’t many steelhead spawns in Ohio so during this time you’ll want to take advantage of it.

The remainder of the year the river will have trout in it. Ideally your best times to fish it will be in winter, fall and spring. 

You’ll want to use a smaller set up for trout than you would for steelhead. A 4-5 weight will be ideal for targeting the rainbow and brown trout. Where a 6-7 weight will be needed if you plan on going after the much larger and stronger steelhead. 

There are three different parks that you can access the river from. The first is by the lake and is called Walnut Beach Breakwall. Beneath that is Cedar Quist Park and beneath that is Indian Trail Park. Indian trail park is the longest public access section that you can fish.

Fly Selection 

  • Egg Patterns
  • Hex Nymph
  • Small Streamers
  • Caddis
  • Adams
  • Pheasant Tail



Ohio is full of Great fishing and allows anglers to target multiple species in all different types of water. From steelhead to trout to smallmouth bass. Ohio is full of wonderful fishing. So, check out the bodies of water mentioned above the next time you go on a fly fishing trip to Ohio.


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