Are you ready to catch the big one?

Look no further than the Great Miami River and it's many tributaries! This picturesque river system stretches across 15 counties and includes more than 6,600 miles of rivers and streams. These waters are home to some of the best fishing in the state of Ohio. In particular, the Great Miami River is an ideal spot for catching smallmouth bass. The Stillwater River has pristine fish habitats. The Mad River is renowned as one of the only coldwater fisheries in Ohio and a prime spot for fly-fishing. 

The rivers are home to an abundance of smallmouth bass, which are known for their strong fighting spirit and acrobatic leaps out of the water. These fish can grow up to 20 inches in length and weigh up to 6 pounds, providing a thrilling challenge for any angler.

To get started, you'll need a fishing license, which can be easily obtained online or at a local bait and tackle shop. Once you have your license, head to one of the many access points along the river, such as Island MetroPark in Dayton or Rentschler Forest MetroPark in Butler County. From there, you can wade into the river or launch a kayak or canoe to explore the different sections of the riverway.

But fishing isn't just about catching fish. It's also about enjoying the great outdoors and taking in the natural beauty of the river and its surroundings. Along the way, you may spot a variety of wildlife, including herons, beavers, and even bald eagles.


Techniques for catching smallmouth bass

When it comes to fishing for smallmouth bass, there are a few tried-and-true techniques to keep in mind. First, use light to medium-weight tackle, such as a spinning reel with 6-10 pound test line. Smallmouth bass are known for their quick and sudden strikes, so be sure to keep your line tight and your rod tip up.

In terms of bait, smallmouth bass are partial to live bait such as worms or minnows, as well as lures such as crankbaits or jigs. Try casting near rocky outcroppings or other structures, as smallmouth bass tend to congregate in these areas.



Fishing in the Great Miami River

According to data collected by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), the Great Miami River:

  • Supports a very diverse fish population. In the Great Miami River, and its tributaries, you can fish for everything from bass, saugeye, crappie, northern pike, and catfish to rock bass. Especially abundant are smallmouth bass, but you might get lucky and catch a unique species like hybrid striped bass or white bass.

  • Produces record-sized fish. ODNR’s Fish Ohio program recognizes anglers who catch fish of noteworthy size on Ohio’s rivers. Out of 30 of the different species caught, 22 were large enough to be recognized. That is more than other large rivers in the region.

  • Ranks as Ohio’s best river to catch large smallmouth bass. According to ODNR, the peak season for bigger fish begins in April and is steady through October each year.

  • Ranks as a top two riverine Ohio for Rock Bass and a top three for sauger.

  • Has produced noteworthy fish in every month of the year. But the best months are March through November.

To find a great fishing spot on the Great Miami River, use our interactive map and trip planner. There are locations where you can fish from the riverbank, kayak, or motorboat. There is access for every age and ability.