Columbus, Ohio Super-Regional Preview

The River Bassin Tournament Trail is excited to host what may be the largest event of the year in Columbus, Ohio on July 25th, 2015.  This stop is hosted by Columbus kayak and is anticipated to reach over 75 anglers.

For this Regional stop on the trail, the rivers are going to be within a 1 hour 30 minute radius.  Please see the boundary map for the exact locations.  All boundaries will be cut-off at major highways throughout the Buckeye state. FB_IMG_1436283321679 For the people who do not want to venture far away from the check in, there are plenty of fishable rivers in the immediate area.  The rivers listed below are just a couple that are worth mentioning.  The Ohio Department of Natural Resources has begun to compile water maps for some of the rivers, including launches, take outs, obstructions, and distances between launches.  This information can be viewed at .  If you have any questions about any other rivers feel free to call Bret at Columbus Kayak (614-230-2428), or email Luke Buxton at

Scioto River:  Probably one of the best big smallmouth producing rivers in central Ohio.  The water is typical stained with about 1-2 feet of visibility.  Depending on where you fish it, the water level can vary from 2 to 6 feet with deeper holes.  When gauging the flow of the Scioto, a good site to use is the one below O’Shaughnessy dam.  The average flow is 525 cfs.  It is fishable up to 800, but it will be moving fairly quickly at that rate.  The bottom is usually made up of rock.  There is also an abundance of submerged cover like wood.  Pay special attention to the map and notice that Griggs and O’shaughnessy reservoir are not allowed at a certain point.  Above O’Shaughnessy reservoir the furthest south you can fish is the U.S 42 bridge.  20141018_081925Then you can fish from below the O’Shaughnessy dam to the 270 outerbelt bridge.  If you have a high profile vehicle you can park under the bridge, if not, there is a take out about a mile upstream that is fairly easy.  These are the only restrictions to the Scioto within the boundaries.   Most of the fish caught are small mouths, but there are also largemouths in there as well.

Olentangy River: Depending on where you fish the Olentangy it can be good.  Usually the stretch from U.S 23 until 270 is not good.  Water height is typically around a foot.  Fishing north from the Delaware State Park dam to U.S. 23 can be productive.  Then the 20150625_191210Olentangy can also be productive from 270 to the Northmoor park take out.  Be aware of the multiple low overhead dams and shallow riffles in this stretch though.  There is not as many spots to put in and take out, so it makes it a fairly long trip for fishing.  The average water depth is 2-3ft with some deeper holes.  Bret from Columbus Kayaks does demos at the Northmoor park access sometimes and he has seen multiple people pull out 15-16 inch fish.  The Wilson Bridge access is difficult with a muddy bank and steep drop off to the water.  At Thomas Worthington high school you can park down by the river making it a fairly easy access.  Water clarity is usually heavily stained since the makeup of the river is mostly mud.

Kokosing River:  The Kokosing is a natural scenic river located north of Columbus.  The typical water gauge height is about 3 feet, with some deeper holes and riffles.  The typical mean for the water flow is around 81 cfs.  DCIM101GOPROWater clarity is usually anywhere from 2-3 feet.  This river contains an abundance of small and largemouth bass.  The typical size of small mouths are 14-16 inches, but anglers have a good chance of hooking into a 18 inch fish or two.  The typical size of largemouth bass are 15-18 inches.

Big Walnut River:  This is another good producer of smallmouth bass.  This river does not get as much pressure from anglers due to the abundance of houses that back up to the river.  20150624_195553However, this also makes it a fairly longer float because of the distances between launches and take outs.  The typical flow rate for this river is 150 cfs, and an average height of 2 to 4 feet.  The bottom is mostly made up of sheet rock and sand.

Big Darby River:  Good option if Columbus gets a lot of rain before the event.  There are no dams so the water slows down and clears up much quicker than the other rivers.  A good gauge to watch for the water flow is the one at Darbyville.  Anywhere from 400-450 cfs is prime time for fishing this section.  Lots of good water down by Circleville, close to the confluence with the Scioto.  20150623_212905The launches south of Columbus can be fairly difficult, with steep banks or limited parking, so having a separate take out is a good option.  The creek gets deeper south of Columbus, and this is where people catch bigger fish.   Water clarity is usually fairly good since there are no dams on this creek, however, that also depends on how much rain we have gotten.  Typically this creek clears up and slows down about 3-4 days after a major rain event.  There is also a canoe livery on this creek, so during the summer months sections of this creek can be jam packed with people.  They run trips from the Big Darby and Little Darby confluence to the state route 762 bridge.

Great Miami River:The Great Miami River is a large, quick-moving river with the potential for large smallmouth.  It begins at the Indian Lake Dam and ends at the Ohio River. Almost all of the River and its watersheds are in play outside of Cincinnati. There are more than 60 low dams on the rivers and streams in the Great Miami River Watershed. The low dams create a pool of water upstream of the dam, providing great opportunities for fishing. IMG_20150605_135228-4 Also, be aware these dams can be dangerous and have strong back-currents so check the water levels and fish at your own risk.  The median river level is around 1,200 cfs at Dayton, Ohio.  The river and its tributaries are highly impacted by rain, and can be hazardous in areas when it rises above 2,000 cfs.  Check out this website for more information on the river levels.  Other smaller tributaries to consider that run-into the Great Miami River are the Little Miami River, Stillwater River, and Mad River.  Water clarity in all rivers mentioned is somewhat murky with visibility just over 1 foot in most areas.  There are plenty of public takeout areas to be had, just scout out your route before to ensure there are no obstructions hazards in your way.  Check out the ODNR website for more information at

So, that is the preview for the Columbus, Ohio River Bassin event.  Register at  and we will see everyone there!