American Fly Fishing

Old-Fashioned Summer Fun
By Nathan Perkinson

Auglaize River, OH - Bass

Largemouth bass are willing biters and tough fighters on the Auglaize during summer. Catch them with top-water bugs, streamers, and crayfish flies. ALL PHOTOS BY KYRA PERKINSON

I’ve always had a soft spot for lethargic, bathwater-warm rivers—the rivers other anglers drive past on their way to more alluring waters. I grew up fishing these types of rivers, the kind that humbly meander through farm country and foothills, off the fly-fishing radar. Perhaps I’m drawn to them because of my younger days, when I cast Mepps spinners and Rebel Craws with my trusty spinning rod for whatever kind of fish might be biting.

At any rate, I always keep an eye peeled for off-the-beaten-path waters, and northwest Ohio’s Auglaize River certainly fits the bill. The Auglaize is a typical lazily moving, modest-size Midwestern river. Its current is slow and gentle. It drains a lot of farmland and tends to run a little silty. Both smallmouth and largemouth bass inhabit the Auglaize, along with the usual accompaniment of panfish and rock bass. The Auglaize rises near Lima and flows for about 113 miles before joining the Maumee River in Defiance.

Trout fans turn up their noses at rivers like the Auglaize. Its stained water and slow currents don’t portend great fishing, so this little river remains an enigma to most Buckeye State fly anglers, or at least it would if they even bothered to consider it. If you subscribe to the stereotypical fly angler’s dream of crystal-clear water and an endless chain of riffles, runs, and pools, this probably isn’t the place for you. On the other hand, if your idea of summer fun is wet wading and catching a variety of fish in a river that everyone else drives past on the way to “somewhere better,” then keep reading.