Fishing Ohio’s Mohican State Park

Cast for trout on the Clear Fork River.

There are only a handful of public-access rivers in Ohio stocked with trout, and the Clear Fork of the Mohican River is one of them. So head to Mohican State Park after the fish are stocked in November and cast for rainbows. Nearby camping, hiking and beautiful scenery make it a rewarding destination even if the fish aren’t biting. 

The Upper Clear Fork above Pleasant Hill Lake is stocked with brown trout, but public access is limited. So, your best bet for trout fishing on the fly is the 4.8-mile section of the Lower Clear Fork between the Pleasant Hill Dam and the mouth of the Clear Fork, where it empties into the Mohican River. 

The Lower Clear Fork has easy access, cold-water springs, good pools and lots of riffles. Check the website of the Clear Fork River Chapter of Trout Unlimited for a hatch chart. You should be good to go with both dry and wet flies; start with woolly buggers and egg-patterned flies. Or better yet, check the fishing report page of the TU website to see what the fish are biting as well as how long they are surviving until summer die-off due to warm water. November to May are the most reliable months to catch rainbows here. If you just bought your fly rod, look for classes, events and outings at Public Lands; or find someone to teach you the ropes by reaching out to the Clear Fork TU Chapter or Mohican Fly Fishers of Ohio

In addition to trout, expect to find carp, bass and bluegill. Whether you’re catching anything or not, you’ll still find yourself in the 300-foot-deep Clear Fork Gorge, surrounded by a forest that includes hemlocks and white pines with a front-row view of the covered bridge that spans the river. Both the Clear Fork and the Mohican are state-designated Scenic rivers.

Fish a few steps from camp

For the ultimate convenience, this section of river is adjacent to the Mohican State Park Class B campground. Sites are reservable, in general, April through November; check online or call the park to get exact opening and closing dates. Camp here and you can roll out of your shelter to take just a few steps to the Clear Fork. This campground is primitive—just campsites with picnic tables, pit toilets and well water. But the location and peacefulness are well worth the lack of creature comforts. If you’re looking for full camping amenities year-round, a few miles downstream is the Mohican State Park Campground, which has cabins and full hook-ups. 

Hike the adjacent trails

Take a midday break and hike the 3.3-mile loop that combines Lyons Falls and Pleasant Hill trails. Starting at the covered bridge, hike upstream past Big Lyons Falls and Little Lyons Falls to the Pleasant Hill Dam. Return downstream on the other side of the river. Keep your eyes peeled, as this area is home to bald eagles and ospreys—aka your competitors. This area was also once home to Johnny Appleseed, who carved his initials into the sandstone by the falls, but that bit of graffiti has since worn away. Please don’t replace it with your own. 

Pan for gold, literally

As long as you’re here, you can try your hand at panning for gold. Contact the Buckeye Chapter of the Gold Prospectors Association of America to learn where and how to pan along the Clear Fork. Don’t get your hopes up, though; it’s unlikely you’ll score enough gold dust to cover the cost of your fishing gear. But here’s a local tip that’s as good as gold: Ask them about access to the Upper Clear Fork. 

More Info

Getting There

Mohican is less than 90 minutes from Columbus; take Interstate 71 north to state Route 97, head east 16 miles to a sign for the covered bridge where you turn left. 


You can harvest two 12-inch trout per day from the Clear Fork. If that doesn’t work out, Bromfield’s Dining Room at the Mohican Lodge (in Perrysville) has outdoor seating overlooking Pleasant Hill Lake. 

All articles are for general informational purposes.  Each individual’s needs, preferences, goals and abilities may vary.  Be sure to obtain all appropriate training, expert supervision and/or medical advice before engaging in strenuous or potentially hazardous activity.