10 Hidden Midwestern Fly Fishing Streams to Fish ASAP
There are a lot of hidden streams to fly fish in the Midwest, if you know where to look.
The Midwest isn't known as a fly fishing hotspot. When you come down to it, most states in this area aren't known as destination states for fly fishing at all, let aloe trout. Unless you fish for carp, which we do, the opportunities for all the famed fish of fly fishing world are housed in the states largely connected to the Great Lakes. However, there are hidden gems all over, if you know where to look. We posted something a while ago focusing on 5 rivers already, however, there are more. Lots more. Well, at least 10 that we are going to cover below if you are looking for rivers to fly fish in Midwest.
Time to grab your favorite 5wt, and lets go fly fishing.
Sugar Creek - Indiana
Found on the central-western part of the state, about an hour outside of Indianapolis, you'll find a body of water that is unique. There's no trout here, but the smallmouth bass fishery in Sugar Creek is pretty nuts. Big fish, lots of them, and they are all eager to eat. 20" fish are common and bigger fish are often see. One benefit of Sugar creek is that there are lots of access points all along the river so you can take your pick of where you want to fish. On top of that, it's also beautiful. It's easy to forget you are fishing in the middle of Indiana.
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Timber Coulee, Driftless area, Wisconsin
Yes, I know we just mentioned above about those other fish the Midwest has to offer, but the Timber Coulee in Southwest Wisconsin just might be one of the best trout streams we've ever fished. By and large, most trout in this body of water aren't very big compared to some other famous waters, but you can luck into some 20+ inchers from time to time. What the Timber Coulee does offer though is abundant trout. Some days are better than others, but it's easy to loose count of how many you caught.
Niobrara River, Nebraska
When you think of fly fishing, Nebraska isn't very well known. However, the Niobrara river offers scenery and fly fishing similar to streams you find in Colorado or Montana. Abundant stocks of rainbow and browns are found in pools all along the winding river. Sometimes the fishing can be so good that it's easy to miss all the beautiful scenery all around.
Wabash River - Indiana
The Wabash is a big body of water. Barges and flat bottom boats rolled up and down it when this county was just getting its start. Depending where you go, there are just not many places where wading is very good because of the size and the depth. However, in Logansport, it's pretty shallow and easy to figure out. Multiple bridges cross the river and looking off of them provide some great aerial recon when looking for carp, smallmouth, buffalo, and even shovelnose sturgeon that are found in this water in very high numbers.
Kankakee River, Illinois
Like Indiana, Illinois just doesn't have natural trout streams unless they are in the top corner of the state in the southern stretches of the Driftless, or a stream connected to Lake Michigan. What Illinois does offer though is ample opportunities of smallmouth, largemouth, catfish, and carp. If the fly fishing bug is biting and you live in Illinois, map out some access spots on the Kankakee and you'll be happy.
Hatchery Creek, Kentucky
The Blue Grass state has multiple areas to fly fish for trout and other species that can be caught on the fly. However, if you want a hotspot to fly fish in the Midwest, then Hatchery Creek is it. As a 1-mile manmade stream connected to the Wolf Creek Dam of Lake Cumberland, the fishing here can be insane. Huge browns and rainbows come up the Cumberland and stockers there can get giant.
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Whitewood Creek, South Dakota
There aren't many things much more cool than old cowboy stories from the West. One of the more famous of those stories originates from the town of Deadwood. Here, you can be a tourist and a fly fisherman at the same time. This creek flows directly through the middle of town just like the Blue River does in Silverthorne, Colorado. The Black Hills of South Dakota hold a great supply of large brown trout. Whitewood has a concentration of them enough, they'll keep you busy.
Solomon River, Kansas
Kansas is flat. There isn't much else you can say about it. There are some fly fishing opportunities for more than just bass and carp though. Trout do live here also in the Solomon river. If you find the Webster Reservoir and look for the Tailwater forming the Solomon river, you'll get your trout. As a tailwater fishery, they can get big too.
Killbuck Creek, Ohio
We all know Ohio has Steelhead Alley. Any of those rivers that touch Lake Erie have pretty incredible steelhead runs. However, if you'd rather get after some northern pike or bass, then head to Killbuck Creek. You won't find any trout here, but you'll find plenty of all the other fish that Ohio has to offer. If you kayak, you'll be hard pressed to find a prettier stream to float down.
Paint Creek, Iowa
When you think about it, Iowa is probably more known for deer hunting than what is is known for fly fishing. However, for those that know, they'd put up a hefty argument. Those same people arguing for fly fishing all fish Paint Creek. As a trib of the mighty Mississippi, they have a great supply of big brown trout. On top of that, the state stocks this river yearly for most of the year.
Even though there are just 10 rivers listed here, and 5 more listed here, the Midwest still offers an abundance of secret rivers that must be known through hard work and recon to really understand how great they are. We intentionally left out the state of Michigan also. Dang near every river there produces fish. One other thing, out of protection for the local anglers, some rivers and streams were intentionally left off. It's always important not to blow up small fisheries that are off the beaten path.