One of the most pristine in Ohio, the Chagrin River winds throughout some of the most beautiful sections of Geauga County. [Overview] It's my home river, and I've tried to discover new parts of it every time I return to visit family.
In warmer months, it's a great river for smallmouth and rock bass, as well as sightseeing. During late fall and early spring, it's a haven for infamous Lake Erie steelhead runs. If you need gear or guide info, check out Chagrin River Outfitters, an awesome fly shop just up the road.
Most recently, I've been fishing a lovely stretch in Gates Mills, a small, secluded enclave of Victorian values and lowland riverside charm. Gates Mills is almost always silent, which makes it a great place to fish.
Early on the morning of Aug. 7, a family of white-tail deer stopped by for a lazy drink. Hounds from the nearby hunt club bayed in the distance. Steam rose steadily until the sun burst over the tree line.
Here's how to get the most out of your trip.
View larger image Enter the water beneath the Old Mill Road bridge, in the heart of Gates Mills. [Directions] You can park just west of the bridge in a small municipal lot along Chagrin River Road.
View larger image Fish the deeper sections beneath the bridge, then wade upriver for a few nice holes. Bass hold just downstream of a bottleneck riffle about 100 yards up. Hit that, then keep moving. The rocky bottom -- large slabs covered in places by gravel -- provide perfect terrain for many game fish. Bass there love hitting top-water lures, and the river is full of crayfish, so that's a good summer option.
View larger image Created by a concrete dam, the falls create a very deep pool where bass and other fish routinely hide. You can get good casts into the wash from a series of large stones. Careful: Things get really slippery.