Fly Fishing in Ohio

Robert S. Castellini
3 min readSep 1, 2022


One popular type of fishing is fly fishing, which requires very specific equipment and techniques. Fly fishing can take place in either freshwater or saltwater. The main freshwater fish sought in fly fishing are trout, salmon, pan fish, and carp.

Most freshwater fly fishing takes place in rivers, creeks, and certain portions of lakes. This is due to the technique, which requires fast casting, usually while standing in shallow water. Fly fishing requires a specific fly rod and reel with a weighted fishing line, which is much heavier than most types of line and can resemble string at heavier weights.

Fly fishing originally received its name from the bait used, which were small flies attached to the hook. Most fishermen now use artificial flies combined with wire, feathers, and beads to resemble certain insects or small bait fish.

In the rivers and lakes in Ohio, one of the most popular flies is the blue-winged olive. It consists of a small hook surrounded by tiny blue feathers and longer artificial white hairs. When the blue-winged olive makes contact with the water, the hairs and feathers spread out and move like a real insect.

One of the most popular fly-fishing areas is the Mad River in the western portion of Ohio. The headwaters of the river are near Bellefontaine, which flows into the Great Miami River near Dayton. The Mad River is spring-fed and retains a consistent colder temperature year-round, which is perfect for various species of trout. There are many accessible points on the river’s roadways, and the best fishing areas are often near deeper holes where the fish congregate in the calmer waters.

Another prime fly-fishing spot is the Clear Fork River, which is a branch of the Mohican River. This river boasts healthy rainbow and brown trout populations, along with bass, crappie, and bluegill. The Clear Fork River is also spring fed with a consistently cold temperature for healthy fish. This stretch of river can get crowded with fly fishermen during the peak season, but there are many cut-out areas on the banks and enough deep holes for multiple people to fish in one place.

If looking for good bass fishing, the Little Miami River near Fort Thomas is an excellent spot. The river has healthy populations of smallmouth, largemouth, and white bass, among other fish species. Unlike the Mad River and Clear Fork River, the temperate tends to fluctuate and get warmer on the Miami River. This allows other species of fish to thrive in shallow and deep waters.

Fly fishing is also popular on the Ashtabula River, which flows directly into Lake Erie. This area is famous for its steelhead population, and the Little Manistee Steelhead spawn takes place in the spring. It is also a good river for trout during the spring and fall.

A popular tackle on the Ashtabula River is the hex nymph fly, which resembles the real hex insect. The fly consists of a hook surrounded by feathers attached in a pattern resembling wings and a tail. When it hits the water, the feathers splay outward and look like a large insect. For steelhead, the hex nymph is popular in spring through fall, while it is also successful for trout fishing near the hex nymph spawning season in June.