Steelhead Alley 2 min read

Vermilion River Steelhead Fishing Map and Guide

Ken Sperry

Posted by Ken Sperry

March 14, 2016

Vermilion River

As part of our mini-series on Steelhead Alley we are taking maps of the Lake Erie steelhead tributaries to a new level. Tonight we begin our journey with the Vermilion River.

The Vermilion River is a tributary to Lake Erie in western Ohio and winds through urban areas, rural landscapes, valleys, and gorges.

The ” V”, as it is known locally, gets excellent returns of spring run Manistee strain steelhead starting in late November thanks to the stocking efforts of the Ohio Division of Wildlife.

Portions of the lower Vermilion are characterized by high shale cliffs, which are present throughout the Vermilion River Reservation of the Lorain County Metro Park system. The upper reaches of the river navigate low rolling hills and end moraines through highly agricultural lands.

The Vermilion River has no industry along its banks, making it very scenic and especially rich in wildlife.

Vermilion River Steelhead Trout Fishing Map

As you may know, we at DIY Fly Fishing are a bit nutty about maps. We like to know where we are going and where to find good quality fishing.

Fortunately for us, the Ohio DNR has made life a little easier and created a map showing designated steelhead trout fishing areas and public access points along the Vermilion River.

Vermilion River Steelhead Fishing Map

While the Ohio DNR map is nice we wanted something digital. So we created and uploaded all the designated steelhead trout fishing areas and public access points to the DIY Fly Fishing Map and mobile app.

Included are the Municipal Boat Ramp, Jersusalem Road, Bacon Woods, Mill Hollow, Peasley Road, Gore Orphanage Road, Schoepfle Garden and Wakeman Dam access points.

map of fishing access sites on the Vermilion River in Ohio

Get Directions to the Fishing Access Points shown above with the DIY Fly Fishing Map

When is the Best Time to Fish the Vermilion River for Steelhead

Steelhead run up Vermilion River from Lake Erie in late November and stay in the river until late April or early May when they drop back to the lake. During this time the Vermilion River fishes best when the stream flow is between 100-250 cfs. The Vermilion River has an average run-off time of 3-5 days following a rain event which is the amount of time it takes for the river to return to normal flow levels.

Here’s a glimpse of what you can expect of steelhead fishing on Vermilion River.

Vermilion River USGS Flow Data

The USGS Vermilion River stream flow gauge near Vermilion, Ohio provides real-time stream flow data and is useful in determine when to ditch work and grab the rod. The graph below shows the stream flow for the past 7 days.

  • Ideal Flow (cfs): 100-250
  • Average Run-off Time: 3-5 days

Vermilion River Steelhead Fishing Report

Of course before you head out the door you’ll want to check the latest Vermilion River fishing reports.  Orvis and Mad River Outfitters publish reports that are updated regularly.

Best Flies for Vermilion River

Effective flies for catching steelhead in the Vermilion River include basic egg, nymph and streamer patterns.  If you are not having any luck switch up flies until you find one that works!

Check out our DIY Guide to Fishing Steelhead Alley for maps and information about other Lake Erie tributaries that steelhead like to visit.