Mohican fly fishing offers great catchesWritten by Art Weber | | firstname.lastname@example.org
If you’re a spring river angler, you have to be nuts to want to go any further than the Maumee River when the walleye are running — it offers arguably the best walleye fishing in the nation.
Lots of others travel here for the experience — Metropark rangers have logged license plates from virtually every state in the union and most Canadian provinces at River Road at Side Cut Metropark for the fishing.
But if something really different beckons, not far from here is a beautiful trout stream — one of our state’s precious few — that flows cold and clear through one of Ohio’s most magnificent gorges.
Picture a beautiful stream gurgling as it rushes over rocks while a morning mist hangs, as it often does, adding a wild, mysterious feel to the setting. You’ve rented one of the 25 recently remodeled state park cabins that stand right along one of the best stretches of the river to fish.
You rise at the break of day, put on your waders and pick up your fly rod. You can hear the stream even inside the cabin, but it’s louder when you open the door, luring you irresistibly to walk the dozen or so yards into the stream. You feel the cold water through the waders, pause to breathe the clean, heavy air and drink in the moment. And then you start casting into the cold, transparent waters, the stream’s bottom of well-worn stones dappled in the refracted light of the morning.
For a fly fisherman, it really doesn’t get much better than that.
The state park is Mohican, the river is the Clear Fork of the Mohican, and the gorge is the Clear Fork Gorge, a National Natural Landmark.
It’s a landmark for good reason. You’ll believe it while you’re wading in the stream, and any doubt will be erased when you go up to the rim and look into the 300 foot-deep gorge that stands a thousand feet wide. Birds of prey — mostly red-tailed hawks and turkey vultures — ride the thermals created by the gorge, giant ancient hemlocks crowd the shores at the base of the gorge, a relic of much colder times that prevailed after the last glacier. In their cool shade 15 species of warblers thrive.
No one knows the Clear Fork better than veteran stream guide Ron Kyle, who lives for the personal joy of hooking one of the Clear Fork’s big brown trout.
"I start as soon as the water goes down in March," Kyle said. "It’s not the wind above the stream that kills you, it’s the cold from the water that penetrates from ankle to waist. But the best fishing is from April 1 to June 30, after that the water starts getting warm and you have to go hunt them. The fishing gets good again in the fall with the last caddisfly hatch."
He advised using a five-weight 7-1/2 foot rod, weight-forward fly line, and eight-foot monofilament leader tipped with two-pound tippet. The fly varies with the season and what the trout are feeding on.
In fly fishing parlance, your fly should "match the hatch," which just happens to be the title of Kyle’s book on how to fish the Clear Fork.
Just the Facts
Mohican State Park
1,294 acres in the heart of Mohican Memorial State Forest, and adjacent to the Muskingum Conservancy’s Pleasant Hill Park and Malabar Farm State Park. For park information, camping and cabin information call (41) 994-5125 or visit the web at www.dnr.state.oh.us/parks/parks/mohican.htm. For the Mohican Resort Lodge contact 800/ATAPARK.
To get there follow I-75 to Findlay, then southeast on SR15 until it merges with US23. Follow US23 to US30. East of Mansfield follow SR603 south to SR39 through Perrysville, to SR3 in Loudonville. Follow SR3 east and south to the main park entry.
Ron Kyle’s "Match the Hatch II," is available directly from him at Master Series Publishers, P.O. Box 219, Perrysville, Ohio, 44864. He also offers a guiding service. Call (419) 938-8706.