Dayton Kayak Fishing Experience
Dayton Area Rivers
EVENT COMPLETED - For Tourney Wrap-up and Pictures go HERE
For Event Trail and Event Standings go HERE
Stillwater River – This river definitely earned its name. This flow is almost entirely flat to very slow moving water. It also tends to have longer deeper pools of water than the other Dayton area rivers. A possible benefit is that the Stillwater tends to hold more populations of Largemouth than the other area rivers. You should be targeting all wood structure and any rocky structure available.
Little Miami River - This river is very similar to others located in the southern Ohio region in that it is primarily a mud bottomed river with short riffles and the occasional long deep pool. It is a narrow river (approximately 20 yards or less from one bank to the other in most sections) with numerous tree laydowns. This river is also popular to the canoe rental crowd and often gets more crowded as the day goes on, so plan accordingly. You will primarily be targeting tree laydowns, any current breaks, and all of the very few rocky areas.
Great Miami River - The first thing to know about paddling/fishing the Great Miami River are the dams that will need to be portaged, so check out the maps! The river offers a lot of different types of structure including rocks, bridge pilings, tree laydowns, weed covered banks, current breaks, etc. Early in the morning the weed lines produce nice fish and later in the day the current breaks will be the target especially those in rocky areas.
6:30-7:30 AM Whitewater Warehouse tent at
3:00 PM Whitewater Warehouse tent at
(Parking instructions will be given at check-in)
(1 inch deducted every 1 minute late)
THERE WILL BE NO SHUTTLES PROVIDED: YOU MUST PROVIDE YOUR OWN SHUTTLE OR CONTACT THE APPROPRIATE LIVERY TO SET ONE UP!
Eligible fishing waters
*This is a "River Only" event with designated areas:
(There are trips suggested below, but do not have to be taken)
*Great Miami River - MAP
From SR 571 (GM 99.1 on the map) downstream to Boat Ramp of Alex Road in West Carrollton (GM 72.2 on the map)
*Little Miami River - MAP
From Glenn Thompson Reserve (US35) downstream to Bellbrook Canoe Rental
*Stillwater River - MAP
The entire river from State Route 718 (SW 27.0 on map) downstream
*Mad River - MAP
From Woodman Drive (Midwest Outdoor Experience) downstream
***There are lowhead dams throughout sections of the eligible fishing waters!! Be sure to know what is on the section of water you are fishing. If you are unsure what water to fish use one of the trip suggestions below***
$20.00 entry fee with optional $5.00 big fish entry
You can pay at the Check-in location the day of the event or
You can pre-register by clicking HERE
*Bass only event (Black, Smallmouth, Largemouth; no
striped, hybrid, or white)
*Artificial bait only
*CPR event (Catch, Photo, Release) : Submit photos of your 3
largest bass at the"Measure-in".
*Anglers who use personal phones as cameras must bring the
appropriate cord to plug in to a USB port. SD cards must be
cleared before the start of the tournament to save time at
*Photo must CLEARLY show ALL of the following
*Length of fish
*Kayak in photo
*Tag given at check-in
1st place 100
2nd place 90
3rd place 80
4th place 70
5th place 60
6th place 50
7th place 40
8th place 30
9th place 20
10th-final place 10
Register & Attend Measure-in 10
Tourney Trail Bonus Points
If you catch either a crappie over 12" or a saugeye over 14" during this tournament you will be awarded 30 bonus Trail points and an additional 10 bonus Trail points if you turn in a photo of the angler in kayak holding fish. (Don't be afraid to ask another angler to take your picture holding the fish! This is the type of picture that usually makes publications we submit to.) These points are added to your total Trail points and DO NOT factor into this events final standings. (Only one bonus fish counts)
*All photos submitted are property of the BKFT and may be used on
The rivers that are available for this tournament offer a lot of choices on where to target fish. It highly recommended that you pair up into groups to fish any of the trips. This will provide safety, help at portages, etc. There are trip suggestions below the river descriptions that may help you determine what type of water you want to target. These trips are just SUGGESTIONS and do not have to be followed. If you venture out on other sections of river be sure to check out the maps listed above and make a plan. The plan should include put-in, take-out, easy or hard portages, and time management to make it to the measure-in on time. Most trips are very easy and require little to no physical effort and others require a bit more effort. Whichever trip(s) you decide to take make sure you are aware of your time constraints. Leave time to retrieve vehicles at the put-in (if necessary) and to get back to the Whitewater Warehouse tent at the Midwest Outdoor Experience for the measure-in at 3:00pm.
Will be available at Midwest Outdoor Experience...
for more information visit:
Here are trip suggestions.....they are only suggestions and do not have to be taken....
Trip Option#1: Mad River & Great Miami River (approximately 6.5Miles)
Put-in: Whitewater Warehouse on the Mad River: very easy access and plenty of parking (within 10 minutes drive time from the Midwest Outdoor Experience)
Take-out: East River Road Boat Ramp on the Great Miami River (Map item GM 74.5)
(within 10-15 minutes drive time of the put-in)
Obstacles/Highlights: Be aware this is a pretty long trip and will require some flat water paddling to make the take-out on time. This is not a trip for anyone that doesn't want to paddle long stretches (possibly into wind) and make a couple portages that can be as long as 100 yards around low head dams. If you were to float and fish the entire trip you may will be late to the measure-in, so you will need to pick your spots and paddle in other spots. The first half of the trip will be wide open to the elements (rain, wind, and sun), so plan accordingly. The upside is that you will have plenty of structure to target and the take out highlights a very large pool of water (2 miles+) that you can target if you make the take-out early. This trip may also take longer if there is any decent winds coming from the West or Southwest. There are 2 major portages. The first is a dam located immediately after the I-75 bridge and a little downstream of Dayton's Riverscape. The portage will be located on river right and requires carrying kayak/gear approximately 100 yards. The next dam is located soon after University of Dayton arena and Carrillon Park (also right after another I-75 bridge). This portage is located on river right and also requires carrying kayak/gear approximately 50 yards. Downstream from this dam the river gradually begins to deepen and offer A LOT of flat to slow moving water to fish. This long stretch frequently produces 18”+ smallmouth and a 20” smallmouth is not out of the question. It also sees an occasional saugeye or pike that could take your smallie baits.
Time Management: This trip will take the entire tournament time to complete. Since it is such a long trip you won't be able to fish everything, so you need to hit the best spots and then paddle on. The top spots on this section to target are the area near downtown Dayton, all the bridge pilings, and the large section of flat water below the last dam near the take out. If you arrive early at the take-out there is a long stretch of flat water (1-2 miles) that offers good fishing.
This trip is for: Those who are able to make long portages (100 yards) around two dams and then paddle for long stretches of flat water into possible wind/rain/sun. As is all trips, it is highly suggested you have someone helping you on this trip with portages, etc.
Trip Option #2 : Riverscape (Approximately 1 mile)
Put-in: Whitewater Warehouse (within 10 minutes drive time of the Midwest Outdoor Experience)
Option #1: Multiple locations downtown near Riverscape will offer a paved bike path to carry kayak and gear approximately 100 yards to vehicle. (Map items GM 80.4 & 80.7)
Option #2: Paddle upstream and portage around the dam (Map item 'J') to Map item GM 81.7. You will want to portage on the left side of the river if looking upstream.
(both are within 10 minutes drive time back to the put-in)
Obstacles/Highlights: This trip starts on the Mad River and within a ½ mile joins the Great Miami River. Once the Mad meets up with the Great Miami there is a very large pool near downtown Dayton and the large fountains that go off frequently (don't say I didn't warn you!) This section also has a dam located upstream on the Great Miami that you can easily paddle up to and fish. You can also portage upstream (on the left side of the dam if looking upstream) and around the dam to the Stillwater confluence and fish both the Stillwater & Great Miami upstream of the dam. The section upstream of the dam on both the Stillwater and Great Miami River is deeper and very flat to slow moving water.
Overall, this trip will offer many current breaks, bridge pilings, and weed covered banks to target. Once you are on the Great Miami you are out in the wide open and prey to the elements (rain, wind, sun) This trip will also feature some pretty cool photo opportunities (even without fish). This section will offer the best chance to land a 12”+ crappie for the bonus Trail points. Many 18”+ smallmouth are also present in this stretch of water with a 20” not out of the question. It also sees an occasional saugeye or pike that could take your smallie baits.
Time Management: This is easily the shortest trip (½ mile on the Mad River and another ¾ of a mile pool that is extremely wide on the Great Miami). It requires minimal effort with no portages and easy access at both put-in and take-out. It is essentially fishing one very, very large pool of water (and an additional large pool upstream of the Dam on the Great Miami River. Many 18”+ smallmouth are present in this stretch of water.
This trip is for: Those who like to hit every piece of structure or are looking for a trip very close to registration/measure-in with minimal paddling or portages.
Trip Option #3 : Great Miami River at the River Road Boat Ramp
Put-in: East River Road Boat Ramp (Map item GM 74.5) (within 20 minutes drive time from the Midwest Outdoor Experience)
Take-out: Same as put-in (Map item GM 74.5)
Obstacles/Highlights: This is a very, very large section of water highlighting tree laydowns, deeper water, weed lined banks, bridge pilings, feeder creeks, and a few current breaks. This area is very similar to lake conditions and vulnerable to wind. Further upstream from the put in will be more moving water and current breaks. If ambitious and don't mind a bit of a paddle upstream a ways, you can get to a lowhead dam (Map item N).
Downstream from the put-in offers very flat sections of water with weeds lining the banks. Be aware quite a ways downstream there is a lowhead dam that is very well marked and easily avoided.
This stretch frequently sees 18”+ smallmouth and quite possibly a 12”+ crappie for bonus Trail points.
This section occasionally sees motorboat/jon boat traffic, but nothing to deter anglers from fishing it.
Time Management: You could spend the entire day on this section and not fish all of it. If you are looking for flat water without having any portages and an overall easy paddling day this may be the spot for you. Anglers who have more success fishing flat lake conditions should consider this stretch of water.
This trip is for: Anglers who like to fish flat water and near lake like conditions for smallmouth.
Trip Option #4: Little Miami River
Put-in: Narrows Reserve Canoe Launch, 0.1 mile downstream from Indian Ripple Road bridge : very easy access and plenty of parking (within 20 minutes drive time from the Midwest Outdoor Experience)
Option #1: Mill Bridge Launch, Greene County Park District, river right just before Washington Mills Road bridge (within 15 minutes drive time back to the put-in). This trip is about 3.5 miles.
Option #2: Bellbrook Canoe Rental (within 20 minutes drive time back to the put-in)
They may charge a small fee to take-out, so you may want to call in advance. This trip is about 4.5 miles.
Obstacles/Highlights: This section of the Little Miami River features some deep pools, some small riffles, and plenty of tree laydowns. It will be a mostly mud bottom with very few rocks. There are no portages (except for possible low water spot to drag through) and is an easy float.
The spots to target will be the tree laydowns, any rocky areas, and the current breaks. The downside of this section is that it is also used by a canoe livery though traffic should be light so late in the year.
This section is very different from the Great Miami in that it is only 10 yards wide in most areas.
It has large populations of smallmouth and feisty rock bass that may take your smallie baits.
Bellbrook Canoe Rental may offer shuttle service.
Time Management: This trip should offer plenty of time to complete, but if you decide to take a long time fishing the longer pools you might want to keep an eye on your watch.
This trip is for: Anglers looking for typical Ohio creek/stream conditions. This section is a narrow, windy, mud bottomed river. It requires little paddling as the current is perfect for floating and casting.
Trip Option #5: Stillwater River - (~3.5 mile trip)
Put-in: SR 718 Riverside Access, Miami County Park District (Map Item SW 27.0) (within 30 minutes drive time from registration at the Midwest Outdoor Experience)
Take-out: Fenner Road Bridge (Map Item SW 23.4) (10 minutes drive time to the put-in)
Obstacles/Highlights: This section of the Stillwater features many laydowns and submerged structure. It also features the reason the Stillwater was given its name....very slow to no moving water! It also is a river that will give up an occasional largemouth giving an angler a bit of an advantage if they can hook into one.
Time Management: It is easy to get caught up throwing at many laydowns on flat stretches of water, so make sure you are watching the clock to make sure you get to the take out in time. This trip is the furthest from the registration/measure-in location so plan accordingly.
Trip Option #6: Great Miami River – Adventures on the Great Miami Novice trip (3 miles)
Trip Option #7: Great Miami River – Adventures on the Great Miami Intermediate trip (5 miles)
To setup a shuttle contact them at:
1995 Ross Road
Tipp City, Ohio 45371
Obstacles/Highlights:This section of river has numerous laydowns, submerged structure and the occasional current breaks that will hold fish. Contact Adventures on the Great Miami for any shuttle or trip details.
Time Management: the Novice trip will allow for plenty of time to complete. The Intermediate trip may require you to keep track of time to make the measure-in on time. It is about 20-25 minutes from the Midwest Outdoor Experience to Adventures on the Great Miami.