Southwest Ohio Catfish Fishing

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Best Southwest Ohio Catfish Fishing Holes Dayton Middletown Cincinnati

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Below are my favorite Catfish holes in Southwest Ohio you can fish from the bank. When I take the time to go fishing, I do expect to catch fish. You don't need to travel to Tennessee or Arkansas for good catfishing. The best Catfish fishing is right here at home! If you see me (old guy with Steelers hat), make sure to say hello. You can copy the GPS locations, and paste them on Google Earth.
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    Acton Lake (Hueston Woods)
    There is something special at Acton Lake. During a new moon when the sky is dark, fish at the northwest boat ramp and marina area (GPS 39.583444, -84.759946). After midnight, the parking lot lights draw the Catfish in like a magnet. I must have caught over 50 channel catfish in 4 hours on chicken livers and night crawlers. I quit fishing only because I ran out of bait! Who says Acton Lake is just for sail boats? Fishing up by the Acton Lake dam is a good spot too (GPS 39.557291, -84.737925).

    Adams Lake
    Adams lake is north of West Union. It is only an 45 acre lake, but produces some dinner sized Catfish. Adams lake is a very well stocked with a good bounty of bluegills and bass. Good place to take the family fishing with toilets and picnic tables. Easy fishing from the rocky pier or up by the dam (GPS 38.813864, -83.522050). Very quiet place. You cat catch bluegills like crazy! Adams lake is a good place to stock up on bait fish before going to the Ohio river.

    Caesar Creek Lake
    There are reports of 60lb Flatheads in Caesar Creek lake. There are pictures of the giants in the store south of Caesar Creek lake. The Channel cats can get pretty big too. The point south of the Youngs boat ramp is a good place to night fish (GPS 39.549816, -83.976558). During the day your best bet is to fish at the Caesar Creek Lake dam where the water is deep (GPS 39.484514, -84.059984). With the rocky bottom, crawfish or shrimp above your weight works the best. If the dam is busy, fish the bank at the overflow (GPS 39.482312, -84.055628). The water is deep here too. The Caesar Creek dam is a good place to bring the kids.

    CJ Brown Reservoir (Buck Creek)
    CJ Brown Reservoir is known for good Bass and Walleye fishing. CJ Brown is a good Flathead and Channel Catfish lake too. I like to bank fish the point north of the CJ Brown dam as the water is deep (39.955300, -83.745457). Fishing at night near the boat ramp and beach, across the water from the dam is productive too (GPS 39.953056, -83.731456). Springfield residents are so lucky having a good fishing lake so close to home. Clark Fork Lake is a few miles east of CJ Brown. I have never fished Clark Fork, but I hear it has good catfishing.

    Cowan Lake
    Cowan Lake is famous for crappie and often overlooked for the great catfishing. About anywhere on Cowan Lake you can catch Catfish at night. The best fishing I have found is near the boat ramp on the north side of Cowan Lake. Fishing from the bank is easy, plus restrooms and picnic tables are close. Punch dogs are good for bait. The cove north of this boat ramp is productive too. Cowan Lake is a great place to bring your family (GPS 39.388614, -83.899316).

    Deer Creek Lake
    Dear Creek reservoir is located northeast of Washington Court House. You can catch big catfish anywhere up around the dam (GPS 39.619844, -83.218263). Funny; you see boaters fishing just 75 feet out from the dam....the same dam you can cast 100 feet from the bank! My favorite place to night fish is the point near the boat ramp on the north side of the lake (GPS 39.625790, -83.231888). I have caught a large number of huge Flatheads and Channel Catfish at this point. At the Deer Creek spillway, saugeye and Channel cat fishing is very good too. Deer Creek lake was made for fishermen. The fishing is great and access is easy just about anywhere on the lake.

    East Fork Lake
    East Fork Lake is one of the best catfish lakes in SW Ohio. The point northwest of the parking lot circle always produces a lot of Channel catfish and a few flatheads (GPS 39.018763, -84.142136). This part of East Fork lake gets very deep just a little ways from the shoreline. Fishing on either side of the beach are good spots too. I have never been skunked at East Fork lake. The spillway below the dam is a good hotspot when the water is flowing. Fish in the faster water by the wall.

    Grant Lake
    You want a 165 acre lake all to yourself? I never see anyone fishing here. I believe Grant Lake has better crappie fishing than Cowan. Easy fishing access along State Route 774. Just south of the pier is my hot spot for catfishing (GPS 39.000458, -83.933416). Fun place for the kids as crappie are everywhere. Grant Lake is south of Mt. Orab in Brown county. I have slept in my car until noon with no hassle!

    Great Miami River
    You can catch Catfish about anywhere on the Great Miami river. Below are the really good hot spots where I always catch fish.
    Shawnee Lookout Park Southwest of Cleves (GPS 39.125996, -84.801480). Bring heavy fishing tackle. I was fishing with a Bass pole and hooked a 38 pound Blue Cat that wanted to take me water skiing. I had to get in the river to land the fish. You are less than 1/2 mile from the Ohio river, and the big ones cruise this part of the Great Miami to feed. Good high water fishing.
    Lower Hamilton Dam South of Hamilton (GPS 39.378371, -84.566826 ). This is the first dam upstream from the Ohio river still standing, so the opportunity of catching big Catfish are great. There are some hybrid stripers here too. Leave your beer and weed at home, as you are in the city limits and the cops patrol this area. Nice parking lot!
    Seven Mile Creek Junction. North of Hamilton (New Miami). Cut through the Veterans Field ball park and fish the point where Seven Mile creek dumps into the river (GPS 39.426244, 84.543808). In late summer the brush is thick, but worth the trouble. Very good night time feeding hole.
    Middletown Dam off 9th ave. (GPS 39.507669, -84.416989). Good fishing spot that is never crowded. I always get enough Channel Cats for dinner. I have seen a guy catch a Flathead that must have been over 40 pounds! This is a rough part of town, so lock up your car.
    Great Miami and Clear creek southwest of Franklin (GPS 39.548801, -84.330946). This is a nice Channel Catfish hole where Clear Creek joins the river. Good winter time fishing spot if there is no ice. Park along Route 73 and there is a trail through the woods. Nice place to put out a trot line. I caught a 14lb Channel cat here last year.
    Chautauqua Dam north of Franklin (GPS 39.587363, -84.287607). You will see the yellow gate along Cin-Day (Dixie Hwy) road. Park across the road on the side street. This dam was breeched many years ago and the big chunks of cement make good cover for fish. Cast over the ripples and let your bait run down stream. Head down before dark so you don't break your neck. This is where I fish when there is a crowd at the Miamisburg dam.
    Miamisburg Dam south of town (GPS 39.607593, -84.285414) across from the power plant. I like to fish here during the week as on weekends it can get crazy with dope smokers and parties. During the day fish close to the dam. At night I like to fish the flats casting from the boat ramp area. Miamisburg dam is a hot fishing spot even with all the pressure.
    Taylorsville Dam southeast of Vandalia under route 40 (GPS 39.873214, -84.162158) This is one of the hottest Channel catfish holes on the Great Miami. During the week it is never busy either. For some reason the fish taste better caught below this dam. I have caught trout and smallmouth bass here fishing with night crawlers. This is the only place on the Great Miami I have ever caught a trout. See Huge Flathead
    Honey Creek Joins GMR, east of Tipp City. Fish upstream from the RT 571 bridge. The river is narrow and easy to fish. At night this is a great place to fish, plus the Catfish are good to eat! You are in the perserve, so no camp fires.

    Kiser Lake
    Kiser Lake is not very deep, but has a good bounty of channel catfish. I like fishing the rocky pier just south of the park office. Fishing anywhere along State Route 235 Kiser Lake dam is good too. Enjoy swimming? In the summer the water at the beach is bath water warm! Kiser lake is north of St Paris. (GPS 40.196117, 83.978943)

    Lake Loramie
    Lake Loramie is worth a family trip north. Fishing from the bank is very easy. The restrooms and close camping and picnic areas are another plus. Now for the Lake Loramie fishing. It is very good. The kids can catch some nice sized bluegill and crappie during the day, and you can have fun slaying the Channel Catfish at night. Anywhere on the west end of Lake Loramie is good fishing from the bank. (GPS 40.361497, -84.359262).

    Little Miami River
    During the night, Catfish run up and down this river to feed and fishing is good wherever you can get your hook in the water. This is a great stream for trot-lines too. See Little Miami Blue Catfish Video
    South of Corwin where Caesar creek meets the Little Miami (GPS 39.493397, -84.104498). Nice parking area off Corwin road. Walk the creek bank trail all the way to the river. During the day this spot is dead. After 3am this part of the Little Miami turns into a Catfish feeding highway.
    The Marrow Hole. This is the secret fishing and skinny dipping hole known only by the locals for decades. It is located at the east end of the ball park (GPS 39.359907, -84.120546). Another good hole in Marrow is where Todd Fork joins the Little Miami (GPS 39.355826, -84.130985). If you ask first, the people at the canoe rental will let you fish the point at the Todd Fork-Little Miami junction. Now the Marrow natives are going to be really pissed at me.
    Little Miami State Park. East of Landen. There is a good fishing hole about 90 yards downstream from the State Route 22 bridge (GPS 39.319893, -84.252516). Fish the rapids below the island and let your bait drift. Mostly channel cats, but I have caught a few blues. Once in a great while you will catch a flathead that will test your equipment. Cut bait or dead minnows works best. Access is easy with good parking. I never see anyone fishing here. Just kayakers. At night this park turns into lover lane. Bring your night vision!
    South of Milford where East Fork joins the Little Miami River (GPS 39.151888, -84.302156), Round Bottom Rd access. You are not far from the Ohio river so there are some very big Catfish to be caught. Fishing for the giants is awesome during high water. I always park in the drive by the railroad tracks. There is another good fishing hole at Riverside Park, just a mile downstream off Round Bottom road.
    Newton Rd Bridge and Kellogg Avenue Bridge. I have never fished under these bridges, but I hear both are really good fishing spots. This close to the Ohio river should be some king sized cats. Huge Monster caught under Kellogg bridge

    Mad River Downtown Dayton
    Fishing for Catfish anywhere on the Mad river up to the small dam in Eastwood park is productive. I like to fish about 150 yards from the Great Miami (GPS 39.767721, -84.185095). Access is easy with a nice bike path that follows the bank of the Mad river. I always park at the Patterson Career Center then walk down to the river. This is a prime night time feeding zone for huge Catfish. You can catch fish in the Eastwood Lake too, but I have better luck in the Mad river. A more quiet spot is below the small dam in Eastwood MetroPark (GPS 39.782572, -84.138452).

    Ohio Brush Creek
    Between Manchester and Rome (GPS 38.675525, -83.448605). You are fishing only 1/4 mile from the Ohio river and Brush Creek is a buffet for giant Catfish to feed. You can fish around the public boat ramp or next to the Route 52 bridge. The water in Brush Creek must be warmer, as this is a great winter fishing spot.

    Ohio River
    The Ohio river holds the state size record for Blue Catfish at 96 pounds. So there must be an 100 pound fish in this stream! Most Blue Cats caught in the Ohio river weigh less than 50 pounds. In fact a 30lb catfish will put up a bigger fight than light fishing tackle can handle. Use a salt water quality rod and reel with 50lb braided line and a 30+ pound monofilament leader. See what a 71 pounder does to heavy tackle. Big 20lb Channel cats and 60lb Flathead catfish are in the Ohio river too.
    You can catch Catfish about anywhere on the Ohio river. Below are my favorite spots. During high water, it may be better to go to the lake.
    Licking Joins Ohio. An awesome hot spot is in downtown Covington Kentucky where the Licking river joins the Ohio (GPS 39.091693, -84.504500). This is a Blue Catfish junction for sure! I always have success here any time of year.
    New Palestine: Very easy river access all along Palistine street. You are fishing northwest of New Palestine village out in the sticks. The deeper channel is on the Ohio side of the river. I have filled many stringers fishing from this bank. You can tell it is a good spot, because you see fishermen in boats drifting this area (GPS 39.012480, -84.309148).
    Grant Park in Point Pleasant village has a good feeding hole where Big Indian creek dumps into the Ohio (GPS 38.893472, -84.234112). Remember there are some big fish here, so don't let your kids fish with a Snoopy rod! A famous yankee general was born here.
    Neville Boat Ramp: The point downstream from the Neville village boat ramp is a good night time fishing spot with easy access (GPS 38.808279, -84.214334). I have seen boaters dump their unused bait (chumming!) and clean fish at the ramp. I am sure fish frequent this area looking for food.
    Meldahl Dam: The best place to fish during the day is below the Meldahl dam where the cement wall ends (GPS 38.798970, -84.179705). Since the shipping channel is on the Ohio side of the river, this is the deepest hole you can fish from the bank. This deep hole is over 90 yards long with room for 20 fishermen on the bank! This is a good Sauger hole too. For night time fishing, go 200 yards down stream from Meldahl to the point where Bear creek dumps into the river (GPS 38.800228, -84.188004). This is a prime feeding area. I always see fishermen at the sandy beach down stream from the Meldahl dam on the Kentuck side of the river. I have never fished there, but the fishing must be good. Note: With the construction at the dam, access may be difficult.
    Manchester Island. This island splits the Ohio river, thus the deep channel is closer to shore. If big water means big fish, this fishing spot is on the 95 mile long Meldahl pool and contains some monsters. The town of Manchester is close if you need to get supplies or snacks.

    Note: Your Ohio fishing license is good on the Kentucky side of the river!

    Paint Creek Lake
    Paint Creek is a nice clear lake with yummy tasting Catfish. Paint creek is my favorite place to go for the whole weekend. I like to fish under the Route 753 bridge (GPS 39.275358, -83.419045). This is a bottleneck on Paint Creek lake and you can see the current. At night this is a Channel Cat gateway. Up by the Paint Creek lower dam is a hot spot to fish day or night (GPS 39.244540, -83.354351 ). The area between the island and the harbor is deep and very productive (GPS 39.241120, -83.360038). I have also caught fish in the spillway below the dam. There are some giant carp here too! Low fishing pressure!

    Rocky Fork Lake
    Rocky Fork reservoir is over 60 years old and it could be holding a record Flathead Catfish. Fish anywhere on the southeast foot of Rocky Fork where the water is deep. Any of the points off Lucas Lane are great fishing (GPS 39.186501, -83.445711). I also like to fish the piers north of the dam (GPS 39.187347, -83.440935). Rocky Fork lives up to the reputation as a big Channel Catfish lake, and 10 pounders are common!

    Rush Run Lake
    Rush Run is only a 54 acre lake north of Somerville, but produces some good size Channel cats (GPS 39.595223, -84.611777). The Ohio DNR must stock Rush Run like a pay-lake. They stock trout here too! The coves are full of Bluegill and Bass, so Rush Run is a good place to introduce youngsters to fishing. The locals are going to hate me for posting this.

    Stillwater River
    Englewood dam under ST RT 40. Very easy access to the Stillwater river! You can catch dinner size Catfish in the spillway or in the pool on the upstream side of the dam (GPS 39.869564, -84.282532).
    Fredrick-Garland Road bridge south of W. Milton (GPS 39.936613, -84.301015). You can fish under the bridge at night. During the day, put on your waders go from hole to hole. If you use nightcrawlers for bait, there is a good chance you will also catch some smallmouth bass. The fish in the Stillwater are good to eat.

    Stonelick Lake
    Fish for trout at Stonelick Lake during the day. Have a nice trout dinner cooked on your camp stove. Now you are ready to go after the bottom feeders. My favorite spot is the point east of the Stonelick Lake dam (GPS 39.215994, -84.079834). With no gas outboards allowed, Stonelick Lake is nice and quiet. There is a good parking area too.

    White Oak Creek
    White Oak creek is located in Brown county east of Higginsport. Just like the Little Miami, huge Catfish feed in White Oak creek at night. You can fish near the public boat ramp by the Ohio river, but it gets crazy sometimes with all the boating traffic. I like to fish a little ways upstream anywhere off State Route 221 (GPS 38.797195, -83.956433). During a full moon, you can see the shadows of monster size fish in White Oak creek. Chicken livers, shrimp, and cut-bait works the best.

    Whitewater River
    Getting to the Whitewater River sucks. The state has done a poor job of Whitewater public access. You can fish two of the best spots on the Whitewater, but parking is difficult. Off Lawrenceburg road, the Whitewater river cuts a nice hole all along the bank at the horseshoe bend (GPS 39.225468, -84.798670). The best hole for big Catfish is on the upstream side of the Route 50 bridge (GPS 39.166901, -84.788338). The RT 50 bridge is near the Great Miami, and only a few miles from the Ohio River.

    Hamilton County Park District (Cincinnati)
    I list these three lakes because two of them are stocked with giant Flathead and Blue Catfish up to 60 pounds! Of course there are tons of channel cats to be caught too. Sharon Woods, Winton Woods, and Miami Whitewater are all great fishing lakes. Miami Whitewater and Sharon woods are the lakes with the giant catfish. Miami Whitewater is my favorite of the three. Check on the goofy rules before you start fishing at these lakes. At Sharon Woods, you must rent a boat to go fishing. The other two lakes have designated fishing areas. There are two more lakes in the district you must pay to fish, but you can't keep the big ones! These county pay-lakes are Lake Isabella and Campbell Lakes Preserve.
    Click here for information and park maps

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