River Fun


Rivers are water playgrounds

There are more than 6,600 miles of rivers and streams in the Great Miami River Watershed. Since the Clean Water Act was passed in 1972, regulations have limited the discharge of pollutants into waterways, so the water quality in the watershed has shown strong improvement.

These healthy waterways, in addition to the existence of several major lakes, provide many opportunities for water-based recreation. The cold-water habitat of the Mad River provides one of the few trout fishing streams in Ohio, and the scenic beauty of the Stillwater River attracts fishermen from all over the country. Boating, swimming, and fishing are a few of the many activities enjoyed on Acton Lake, Indian Lake and Lake Loramie.



Great Miami River Watershed Water Trail

The Great Miami River, Stillwater River and Mad River, along with Twin Creek, Greenville Creek and Buck Creek, make up one of only 35 national water trail systems (designated by the U.S. Department of the Interior) and the only one in Ohio. The three rivers are state-designated water trails, too. And the Stillwater River and Greenville Creek are state-designated Scenic Rivers.

Within the Great Miami River Watershed Water Trail, you can enjoy:

  • 291 miles of rivers and streams
  • 6 whitewater play kayak parks
  • 117 public access points
  • 100+ natural and urban parks
  • World-class fishing
  • Unique river cities and towns



Best smallmouth bass fishing in Ohio

These waters are home to some of the best fishing in the state of Ohio. In particular, the Great Miami River is an ideal spot for catching smallmouth bass. The Stillwater River has pristine fish habitats. The Mad River is renowned as one of the only coldwater fisheries in Ohio and a prime spot for fly-fishing. 

The rivers are home to an abundance of smallmouth bass, which are known for their strong fighting spirit and acrobatic leaps out of the water. These fish can grow up to 20 inches in length and weigh up to 6 pounds, providing a thrilling challenge for any angler.

More on fishing



Recreational Trails

Along the rivers, you can pedal for miles on the nation's largest paved trail network (340 miles). As you bike along the Great Miami River in downtown Dayton, just across from RiverScape MetroPark you can‚ don't miss the 1,000-foot-long mural featuring a variety of river activities.


Great Miami Riverway

Every great outdoor adventure needs some equally great places to eat, relax, and be inspired. With trails and rivers passing through the center of numerous great cities, visitors can easily cross back and forth between recreational and cultural attractions. Find your way with the Great Miami Riverway.


Flood Protection

MCD's first chief engineer, Arthur Morgan, championed the idea that the area around the five flood protection dams ought to be kept available for public park space. Over the years, many local partners joined with MCD to provide trails and parks along MCD levees in nearly a dozen Great Miami River cities. 

Available maps
 Great Miami River
 Great Miami River online interactive map
 Stillwater River
 Mad River