Fishing in Ohio

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Set perfectly on prime Great-Lake-front real estate, Ohio is one of the Midwest?s foremost fly fishing gems. From spey casting big streamers to lake-run steelhead, to delicate dry fly presentations to small stream trout, there?s something for every angler in Ohio.

Six of Ohio?s streams make up the westernmost stretch of the notorious Steelhead Alley, a series of streams that pour into Lake Erie extending from just west of Cleveland, through Pennsylvania, and ending near Buffalo, New York. These streams are heavily stocked with steelhead smolts that move into Lake Erie where they spend anywhere from 2 to 6 years eating and growing big and strong, before returning to the streams to spawn. Although steelhead are not native to the Great Lakes, their introduction has created a remarkable fishery that draws anglers from all over the world who want to experience the thrill of catching a chrome bright steelie. While steelhead garnish the most attention from Ohio anglers, the state also boasts some exceptional trout fishing in streams such as the Mad River in central Ohio, the Clear Fork south of Lexington, and Clear Creek in the Columbus Metro Parks system southeast of the city. Brook trout are the state?s only native trout species and are only found in small, cold streams of northeastern Ohio, but thanks to some diligent stocking efforts, anglers can fish for more plentiful brown and rainbow trout in the aforementioned rivers.

Other than trout and steelhead, warmwater species make up the majority of fly fishing opportunities in Ohio. You?ll find more smallmouth bass than largemouth bass in Ohio?s lakes and rivers, with the Vermillion and Miami Rivers being favorites to target smallies. Northern Pike are another popular species to go after with a fly rod in Ohio, with the Cuyahoga, Joseph, and Tiffin Rivers providing excellent pike fishing.


OH Department of Fish & Wildlife
2045 Morse Road
Columbus, OH 43229-6693
P: 614-265-6565

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Ohio Fishing Articles

6 Winter Flies to Never Leave Home Without

Posted on February 12, 2017

It’s winter time and if you’re like me then you’re probably daydreaming of warmer weather and being on the river. You’re also probably behind the vice tying up dozens of flies for the months ahead....

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Choosing the Proper Fly Rod

Posted on January 21, 2016

Proper fly fishing gear is essential. Along with the reel, flies and line, the most important gear is the fly rod. Fly rods may vary in length from 6 - 12 feet and come in different weights, colors,...

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Guides based in Ohio

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Trout Unlimited
By the next generation, Trout Unlimited will ensure that robust populations of native and wild coldwater fish once again thrive within their North American range, so that our children can enjoy...

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