Copyright 2018 James Marsh
Fly Fishing The Grand River Ohio
The Grand River, a tributary of Lake Erie, has become a
very good steelhead stream in the past few years. It has
a Fall run of Pennsylvania strain steelhead and a Spring
run of Manistee strain steelhead. The hundred mile long
river has over fifty miles of fishable water.
The Grand River is one of the state of Ohio's Wild and
Scenic Rivers. Its headwaters flow through farmland,
which means it can be slow clearing up after heavy
rains. The Grand River is a large, long river and the
steelhead can be in many different locations at times. It
is best fished from a small boat but it also fishes well by
The river drops at a good rate, with mostly a riffles and
pool type configuration. The banks and much of the
bottom is clay mixed with gravel. There's some boulders
in the stream and there's also plenty of holes to step in
you're not careful. The fish tend to hold in the lower
sections of the river.
Access to the Grand River is great. There's several
metropark areas as well as plenty of public land. Many
areas require hiking to reach but in most angler's
opinion, that's a good thing. Some areas are in the
forest and some in more of a rural country setting.
Anglers that fish the river due the low water of Summer,
get a much better idea of the bottom composition and
Most of the fly fishing is done using the traditional swing
method of presentation. Other methods also work
including eggs and nymphs. Spey fishing is becoming
more and more popular. The Grand River is a big river
and the particular method of fishing varies with the
season and location but mostly, as with most Great
Lakes steelhead streams, with the changing water levels.
The steelhead season is from October to May.
Steelhead can be caught as late as the end of April
depending on the weather.
During the Summer, the water is too low and warm for
salmon or steelhead.
Steelhead begin entering the Grand River as early as
first of October. The fishing is good throughout the Fall.
All but the coldest days of Winter can be good for
steelhead. The extremely cold water of January and
February can make the fish sluggish but otherwise,
fishing remains good throughout the Winter.
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Recommended Tackle & Gear
7, 8 , 9 or 10 weight for appropriate type
rod, sinking, sinking tip and floating
10#, 12# in 9 to 15 feet lengths
10# and 12#
Best Fly Rods:
Perfect Fly 7, 8, 9 and 10 ft. single hand
For 7 to 10 weight lines
Fly Floatants and Misc Items:
KISS Strike Indicators, Lanyards, etc.
Tools & Accessories:
Nippers, forceps, retractors, etc.
Grand River Fishing Report - Archive:
11/20/13 First report on the Grand indicates fishing has slowed down during the past few
days. Customer has caught two chromes using our Perfect Fly Black but reported water is
now very high and visibility low.
12/2913 Levels are back down to 3.14 or normal for this time of the year. Flow is at 1060
which is also normal. We don't have any reports of steelhead being caught but we should.
The high water has been the problem and is no longer an excuse.
Fishing Report Updated 03/20/18
(Bottom Of Page)
02/01/14 Flow are low at 257cfs and 1.92 feet. There is still plenty of ice in the river. Sorry,
there is nothing good to report.
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10/07/14 Customers are reporting a good number of Coho at Grand Rapids. There are
plenty of salmon at Webber Dam and some at Moore's Park at the North Lansing Dam.
11/08/14 Anglers are catching some steelhead. The water temp is about 50 degrees.
12/21/14 Water levels have been high rather often but back down now. There are still a
few fish being caught. Let us hear from you.
02/07/15 Only a couple good reports for the last month. Cold water and ice has been the
problem. It should get better soon.
Grand River Fishing Report:
03/05/16 Sorry for the lack of reports. Our local contact moved but we will continue with a
guide how agrees to work with us. The river is back down to a normal level and steelhead are
being caught as of the last three or four days.
03/28/16 Flows are on the way down again and both fresh and drop back fish are being
caught. Good conditions exist right now, but always check the stream levels.
10/10/16 Last weeks rain brought some steelhead into the river but the stream levels are back
down and few are being caught. More rain is needed but you may be able to pick up some.
Perfect Fly Great Lakes steelhead flies
10/31/16 Stream levels are down in good shape a little above normal and customers are
catching steelhead in good numbers. Swinging, nymphing and egg flies are working.
11/07/16 More good reports on steelhead being caught. The water is getting a little low. Egg
flies like our Veiled Beadhead Crytal egg and Extaz egg flies are working.
11/09/15 The flows are low right now and that is hurting anglers approach and affecting the
number of fish coming into the river. Basically, a few are being caught but it is slow. The Veiled
Beadhead Crystal egg flies.are catching the most fish right now. If you use nymphs or swing
flies, fish only the deepest runs and pools. There is some rain in the forecast and this should
11/22/15 There have been a few steelhead caught this past week. Egg flies and nymphs are
still out producing swinging flies.
11/29/15 Low water levels hasn't helped and is making it tough on most anglers. Nymphs and
egg flies are still catching a few steelhead. Rain is on the way from tonight through
Wednesday and that should help.
12/23/15 The river is high right now but has been low. This should help redistribute the
steelhead. Swinging will be the way to go for the next few days. This should increase the catch
11/17/16 The stream flows and levels are very, very low right now. We think it will soon
change and a lot of steehead will be coming in, but for now, it is a wait on the rain situation.
11/21/16 The river is up a little but still very low.
11/28/16 The river level is up a little above normal and in good shape. This should have
brought more steelhead into the river. We only received one report of one caught. It
should start producing some fish.
12/05/16 The recent rain brought more fish into the river. The levels are falling back
down again. Fish steelhead nymphs under an indicator for the best results.
Note: Reversing order above here.
12/12/16 The recent high water brought new steelhead into the river. The levels are back
down now but fish are being caught. The water is cold, about 36. SH nymphs are best.
12/26/16 The Grand is very high (blown out) and stained, flowing at 7800 cfs at 8.80 ft.
The water temperature is up but you will have to wait for the levels to fall.
01/30/17 The river is a little high but falling and should be in shape to fish. The water is
slightly stained. Fish from Harpersfield Dam to I-90 using steelhead nymphs. Nymphs,
such as the Perfect fly Giant Black stonefly steelhead nymph, Green sedge steelhead
larva and others are working. Click to see: Perfect fly Great Lakes steelhead flies.
02/07/17 The stream levels is still high but okay for boats. The water is colder but fish are
still being caught. Steelhead nymphs will get the best results.
02/20/17 The stream level is just a little above normal and the water clear to stained
depending on the section. SH nymphs, and swinging Spey flies and streamers are working.
02/27/17 The stream is still a little high but falling. There is some rain and lots of snow in the
forecast. Swinging is getting the most fish at this time.
03/05//17 The stream levels are down and our customers are reporting catching some nice
fresh steelhead. The water is a little warmer and conditions good. Swinging, nymphing and
egg flies are working.
03/13/17 The stream levels are in good shape and the water mostly clear. It is colder, of
course, but sill plenty warm enough to fish. We are recommending steelhead nymphs.
03/27/17 The stream levels are in good shape right now, but on the way up, so make sure
you check them out. Swinging has been producing good.
04/24/17 The stream is back down to normal levels and the water is clear. Steelhead,
dropbacks mostly, are still being caught.
07/24/17 We will be resuming reports. The river is muddy and very high right now.
Smallmouth bass fishing was very good and will be again as soon as it drops.
Key Lime Popper - click to enlarge
08/21/17 Smallmouth bass fishing continues to be very good. Fish our Poppers early and
late in the day. Our crayfish patterns are working good during the day.
09/04/17 The river continues to produce some good catches of smallmouth for our
customers. Poppers, early and late, and the Brown lead/eye crayfish during the day.
09/11/17 The stream is low and wading easy. Smallmouth bass fishing is excellent.
09/18/17 The river is very low flowing at 18.9 cfs and 1.05 ft. Smallmouth bass fishing is
10/02/17 Low and clear water is still a problem for steelhead. Smallmouth bass fishing is
great. There are plenty of steelhead ready to enter the river but rain in needed.
10/31/17 The river is currently very low. Smallmouth bass fishing continues to be very
good. Fish our crayfish streamers during the day, and Poppers early and late.
11/15/17 The stream is still very low. We had one good report on smallmouth bass this
past week, but none on streelhead. There should be some in the deeper water.
11/22/17 The stream levels are very high, flowing at 2510 cfs at 4.68 ft. It is currently
falling. Watch the levels and fish when it drops. There are lots of steelhead in the river.
11/29/17 The river is down to near normal level and decent numbers of steelhead are
being caught. Our Extaz eggs, Steelhead nymphs and some swinging is working good.
12/06/17 The stream level is running below normal. We are still getting good reports
from customers fishing for steelhead.
12/20/17 Stream levels are a little high. The water is fairly cold and steelhead nymphs
like our Cinnamon sedge larva should work as slow swinging.
01/16/18 The river is in good shape from a stream level standpoint. It is near a normal
level but the water is cold and the steelhead a little sluggish. Fish nymphs like our Black
Steelhead nymph under a strike indicator in the slower water.
01/30/18 The stream levels are normal and the water in good shape except it is cold.
Fish the slow water and holes in the bottom. Steelhead nymphs are working best.
02/13/18 Streamlevels are a littlehigh and the water very cold. Fish steelhead nymphs
near the bottom in the slowest water you can find without ice.
03/06/18 The river is flowing at 2340 cfs, at 4.53 ft, which is high. It is stained but a little
warmer for a change. It should continue to fall. There's plenty of steelhead.
03/20/18 The river is a little high due to melting snow, but falling. Steelhead were
being caught prior to the higher levels and dingy water. It should be good very soon.