Step Outside - Ohio WELCOME TO STEP OUTSIDE! Find the best outdoor fun near you! en-us 30 Step Outside - Ohio 144 144 Mon, 23 Jul 2018 08:40:08 -0500 5 Beautiful Backpack Camping Spots in Ohio There is something very special about backpacking. To truly become one with the elements, pack up your gear and head into the beautiful natural spaces of Ohio. Across the state, you’ll find parks and forests designed for the avid backpacker. Here are five great spots. 

Burr Oak State Park is one of the most gorgeous spots in Ohio to take a backpack out into the wilderness and enjoy the sights. The rustic allure in its 2,593-acre scenery of wooded hills and valley farms will have you coming back again and again.

Caesar Creek State Park is full of shimmering waters, dispersed woodlands, meadows, and ravines in 3,741 acres of gorgeous outdoors. You can take a boat out on the water and go fishing, spend the day hiking, and pitch a tent to sleep under the stars. 

East Fork State Park is one of the largest state parks in Ohio encompassing over 4,800 acres of gorgeous greenery, rugged hills, and open meadows for one of the most scenic backpack camping trips you can find in the United States. 

Tar Hollow State Park is a twisting park passed through forest roads in over 600 acres of deep ravines and dense woodlands. The rich greenery and vast variety of tree and plant species is sure to give you some of the best views you'll get on a camping trip!

Shawnee State Forest makes for a backpacker’s paradise. Here, you’ll find a 40-mile backpacking trail that meanders through rough terrain. This trek can be quite strenuous, so it’s recommended that you have some experience before taking on this challenge. 

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5 Best Birdwatching Hikes in Ohio Ohio is a magical place to catch sight of some of your favorite birds. The state has dozens of great woodland areas to take in the beautiful sights and sounds of nature, and to observe some of Ohio’s various bird species. Get outside, get some fresh air, and enjoy these five beautiful birdwatching hikes in Ohio. 

Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge is one of the best places to go on a birdwatching hike because it's home to species of birds that are nearly impossible to see anywhere else. Bald eagles, yellow-rumped warblers, dunlins, and more, abound here! The refuge was established as a habitat for waterfowl and other migratory birds.  


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The Black Swamp Bird Observatory aims to inspire appreciation, enjoyment, and conservation of birds and their habits through education and outreach. At this lush observatory, catch sight of the gray-cheeked thrush, northern saw whet owls, and nearly 150,000 other birds! It’s simply incredible. 

The Walborn Reservoir comprises nearly 2,500 acres of terrain and open water. Dozens of species of birds are native to the area and make their home in this reservoir. If you're looking for a great place to have a nice hike and watch beautiful birds, this is it. 

The Birding Station at Jeffrey Point boasts almost 10,000 impressive acres of grassland, woodlands, wetlands, and more. The Birding Station features an immense array of bird species and serves as one of the most important birding areas in the state. 

The Metzger Marsh Wildlife Area in Curtice is 558 acres of marshland on Lake Erie located 13 miles east of Toledo. The water levels that create the marsh environment provide optimum vegetation for wetland wildlife and unique species of birds.

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10 Best Outdoor Festivals in Ohio Big rivers, Great Lakes, craggy hills and spreads of forest make getting outdoors in Ohio worthwhile. One of the best ways to enjoy all the Buckeye State has to offer with a bunch of other like-minded folks is to head out to one of the many festivals that celebrate the outdoors. These are our favorite outdoor festivals in Ohio.

Folks who love fishing or are interested in learning more about the sport can find out all they need to know with a visit to the Fishing and Outdoor Festival in downtown Fremont. Programs by Ohio DNR, the Toledo Zoo, and others are sure to inform you. Meanwhile live music and food trucks are certain to feed your souls. This annual family-friendly event is sponsored by Young’s RV Centers , Happy Days Boating, and Town & Country RV Center.

Every May, birders descend on the Oregon, Ohio area—the “warbler capital of the world”—for one of the nation’s largest birding festivals: The Biggest Week in American Birding. In addition to evening socials, “Birder Prom,” and a karaoke night, participants can take advantage of dozens of birding workshops and field trips. Local sponsors include RCO Law, William Vaughan Company , and KeyBank.

When the tall ships sail into Sandusky, you can get first-class passage for a onboard tours, day sails and reenactments at the Festival of Sail. Enjoy festival foods, live music, street performers and cold, refreshing beer from Great Lakes Brewing Company of Cleveland.

For four decades, Port Clinton has hosted an annual celebration of the the beloved walleye—The Main Street Port Clinton Walleye Festival. Participatory events include a fishing derby and a 5K run/walk, as well as educational programs and activities. The festival also features live music, carnival rides and a parade. Folks like SkipperBud’s, Bauman Auto Center, Crown Battery, and Jolly Roger Seafood House help to make the event possible.

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The biggest celebration of paddlesports in the United States takes place every August in Cinicinatti, on the Ohio River. Ohio River Paddlefest features a paddler’s party and camping the night before the put in and a finish line festival after the paddle. Rental vessels—kayaks, canoes and stand-up paddleboards—are available for those who need them. St. Elizabeth Healthcare is a major sponsor of the event. 

Cycling enthusiasts will definitely appreciate NEOCycle—the largest urban cycling festival in the U.S.—where y’all will find all sorts of things to do, including a night ride, a neighborhood tour, a mountain bike race and even velodrome racing, thanks to folks such as CoverMyMeds and Cleveland Clinic Sports Health. There’s also live music, thanks to IGS, as well as food and refreshments from the likes of Platform Beer Co.

Biking, hiking, paddling and drinking beer? Who wouldn’t be in?! And that’s what the River, Trails and Ales Fest is all about. Showcasing Southeast Ohio’s Appalachian foothills, events include a bike scavenger hunt, a paddlers riddle run, an adventure paddle, a family dun bike ride and a gnome hike. Thirsty adventurers can quench their thirst at Marietta Brewing Company, Harmar Tavern, Boathouse BBQ or Gator’s Easy Wind Pub

Every fall, the town of Rarden hosts a festival to celebrate the whitetail deer, deer hunting and the outdoors, in general. You can participate in a muzzleloader or bow competition, play a 3-on-3 basketball game, sign up for the cornhole tournament or hit the road for a 5K run. Live music and food from local restaurants round out the festivities.

CanoeGrass celebrates paddling, bluegrass music and the outdoor lifestyle over the course of a three-day weekend every August. In addition to several live music options, festival goers will find plenty of on and off-the-water activities to pack their weekends. Events include canoe jousting, a zip line, sand volleyball, blob bouncing, a tug of war contest and a “massive bonfire.” Prepare to camp; bring your own food or hit up the on-site food trucks for sustenance. The fine folks at Wagner Subaru, MastersOutdoor Retreat and Tomfoolery Outdoors make CanoeGrass possible.

There’s no better way to celebrate all the hiking opportunities that Ohio offers than to get out and hike the state’s trails. And that is exactly what the annual Buckeye TrailFest is all about. Encouraging hikers to get out onto the Buckeye and North Country Trails, the festival is a weekend of organized hikes and adventures that include caves, waterfalls and spring wildflowers. Stops at Brewery 33 and Jackie O’s Brewery will help to tamp down your thirst, and Orthopedic ONE is close at hand in case of trail mishaps.

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5 Best Fishing Holes in Oklahoma In Oklahoma, fishing is a way of life. Every fishing license purchased not only benefits conservation efforts in the state, it also helps bring fish species like striped bass, trout, and saugeye to the state. Getting a license is the easy part. Finding a great place to fish is a bit harder. We’re here to help. These are the five best fishing holes in Oklahoma.

This lake park is designated as a premier largemouth bass fishery. The use of gas-powered motors is prohibited, which makes this reservoir the perfect place for a quiet day of fishing. Currently, the lake is only open dawn to dusk from Friday through Sunday. It does have a boat ramp, fire rings, and picnic tables, but you won’t be able to camp on site. The town of Vinita is proud to have this lake open to the public for some excellent fishing. 

The Wildlife Department stocks Medicine Creek with rainbow trout in the winter months, but the fishing here is good all year long. It’s family friendly and easy for kids to access because granite rock lines the banks of the creek. For anyone that needs to pick up live bait, ice, and other supplies before hitting the water, the Little Dam Bait Shop right in Medicine Park is a reliable option. After your day of fishing is through, you can enjoy restaurants and shops within walking distance. 

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Lake Eufaula is one of the premier vacation spots in Oklahoma, but it’s also one of the most popular fishing destinations. It’s the largest lake in Oklahoma. You’ll find bass, crappie, sunfish, catfish, and walleye. There is a kid’s pond, perfect for when you have youngsters not ready for the lake, and there’s even an enclosed fishing dock for colder months. Fishing is so popular in the area, the park has a tackle shop and a marina. 

Grand Lake is one of the top bass fishing lakes in the country and it hosted the 2016 Bassmaster Classic. With more than 1,300 miles of shoreline, it might be difficult to figure out where to start, but the Bernice Area is a good place to put your line in the water and get a taste of what’s available. You’ll find smallmouth and largemouth bass, crappie, multiple varieties of catfish, and hybrid stripers. People fish off the bridge and on the banks at the park. Check the fishing reports to make sure the lake levels aren’t too high to get into the park.

Lake Tenkiller is a water paradise with year-round fishing. The lake has black bass, striped bass, crappie, walleye, bream, and trout stocked in the river below the dam. You’ll find three heated fishing docks if you like to fish in the winter. Field and Stream ranked Lake Tenkiller as one of the best fishing holes in the country. There are plenty of places to put your boat in the water or just fish from the shore. You’ll also find many local resources to help you figure out the best spots around the lake to catch the fish you’re hoping. If you are coming in from the Tahlequah, Oklahoma, area and you’re in need of some gear for catching crappie, stop in at S & S Spoons for handmade crappie spoons. 

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5 Best Dirt Motorcycle Trails in Ohio There are tons of outdoor activities available to enjoy in Ohio, whether you want something relaxing or a bit more extreme. For those adrenaline junkies, there are dirt biking opportunities galore in Ohio. From wooded trails with rough terrain to motocross parks with indoor tracks for winter racing, here are the five best dirt motorcycle trails in the state! 

At Briarcliff MX, riders will find three different levels of motocross track, so it’s suitable for even the least experienced rider! There are 2.5 miles of trail loop to explore. The facility has a gradual to moderate elevation change (30-40 feet) making it a nice, well-rounded track. 

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TV Land MX is a massive dirt bike track with regularly-scheduled races and demos for you to enjoy or participate in. With rough terrain through the woods including rocks, water crossings, and many difficult obstacles, this track is not for the faint of heart.

Pusheta Creek MX Park is a long winding track that's ideal for dirt bikers both new and experienced. With no annual membership fees and standard open practice every day from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., you can hone your skills or just have some fun here!

Route 62 MX was built off the feedback of real MX riders to ensure you get the greatest experience for your money. They have an indoor track for winter racing with pit stalls available. They have three outdoor tracks of varying degrees of difficulty, so there's something for everyone.

East Fork Motocross Park has tracks built through the woods as well as man-made dirt tracks of varying degrees of difficulty so there's something for every level of Motocross rider to enjoy and test their skills. Don't miss the East Fork MX Park!

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SPOTLIGHT: Things to Do in and Around Hocking Hills State Park Any time is the perfect time of year to hit the road and soak in the beauty of Ohio’s state parks. Whether you’re looking to book a cabin space or simply spend the day exploring, the scenic Hocking Hills State Park is an excellent site for adventure. Find towering cliffs, incredible caves, and exciting nearby attractions. Here are all the great things to do in and around Hocking Hills State Park. 

If you’re in Ohio and looking for a great weekend getaway, then make your way to Hocking Hills State Park, one of the most popular recreational areas in the state. This sprawling park features miles of tranquil trails and waterfalls, as well as caves and cliffs for the more adventurous thrill-seekers. 

Ain’t even gotta be Wednesday and im crushin on you @larissabauer

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Located in the Northern part of Hocking Hills State Park, Cantwell Cliffs is a remote hiking destination meant for more advanced hikers. It’s a challenging hike, but those who are up to the challenge will be rewarded with one of the most stunning views in all of Hocking County. The narrow trail winds through the deep valley, steep cliffs, and there is a rock shelter.

In the southernmost part of Hocking Hills State Park, visitors will encounter Ash Cave—the largest recess cave in the state. To get to the cave, visitors must make their way through a short but narrow gorge lined with incredible flora. Upon arrival at the cave, visitors can soak in the stunning views of the horseshoe-shaped cave and cascade. 

Campers can head to Happy Hills, a beautiful campground located near the state park attractions that features both spacious campsites and cabins for larger parties. A stay at Happy Hills includes access to a private fishing lake, playground, and modern facilities for showering and doing laundry. Wi-Fi and cable television are also available throughout the campground so you won’t feel like you’re far from home!

Just 20 minutes away from Hocking Hills State Park, a visit to the Logan Antique Mall is a must for any lover of antiques. Featuring over 100 vendors, visitors can comb through a variety of furniture, pottery, glassware, and memorabilia from every decade. Logan Antique Mall is also open seven days a week. 

Antique stores are the best

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Another place not to miss in the scenic Hocking Hills is a visit to downtown Nelsonville. Dozens of galleries and retail shops line the streets carrying everything them from unique gifts, fine art, handmade soap, fabrics, antiques, and more. Special events are also on the schedule every month, so be sure to check the calendar when planning your visit.

For a comforting meal after a long day of exploring, head to Rhapsody, a casual fine dining restaurant located in downtown Nelsonville. Rhapsody is famous for its comfort food prepared from locally-grown produce and ingredients, such as house-made cheese spreads and locally-raised chicken dishes.

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7 Best Cross-Country Skiing Spots in Ohio Looking for a great place to enjoy the rush of cross-country skiing in Ohio? You’ve come to the right place. Many of the state parks in Ohio offer cross-country skiing on hundreds of trails during the winter months and each park offers a unique experience. Here are seven awesome cross-country skiing spots in Ohio to check out this winter. 

Findley State Park covers a sprawling 838-acre forest of stately pines and gorgeous scenery all year round. The scenic hiking trails also make the ideal setting for cross-country skiing. Approximately five miles of trails are available for cross-country skiing when the ground is covered with snow. 

Eighteen reservations spanning more than 23,000 acres make up the Cleveland Metroparks. With more than 300 miles of trails of varying difficulty, this is also a spectacular place to cross-country ski during the winter months. Cross-country skiing is also permitted on the fairways and rough areas of the surrounding golf courses where you can catch golden sunrises over Lake Erie! 

At Lorain County Metro Parks, cross-country skiing is allowed for anyone who has their own skis and enjoys the scenic views during the winter. Additionally, cross-country skiing is also permitted at the Forest Hills Golf Course and the Schoepfle Garden when there is at least three inches of snow on the ground. 

Quail Hollow Park spans over 700 acres across rolling meadows, pine woods, and a marsh. Scenic trails and gardens provide a variety of natural experiences for outdoor enthusiasts of all experience levels. Cross-country skiers can enjoy the bridle trails of the park when at least four inches of snow is on the ground. Gear rentals are also available by the hour.

Skiing Fun! #skiing #hills #crosscountryskiing #saturdayfun

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There are plenty of opportunities to cross-country ski at Lake Metroparks. But to start, head to Chapin Forest Reservation, where skis and snowshoes are available for rent, and hit the trails any time of day—the park turns on the lights at night! Then, head to Girdled Road Reservation, where you’ll find nine kilometers of mostly flat, but a bit challenging, cross-country skiing terrain. Each area offers a different, but exciting, experience. 

I was the only cool one with a fanny pack 🤷🏽‍♀️

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Lake Milton State Park lies in the Appalachian Plateau in Ohio and is home to a great variety of plants, animals, and forests. For nature lovers, there are 1.25 miles of trails available for cross-country skiing when the ground is frozen and covered with snow. 

Headlands Beach State Park located near Cleveland is one of the most popular parks in the summer time. During the winter months though, the 1.5-mile Buckeye Trail is available for cross-country skiers to enjoy when there is snow on the ground. 

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10 Best Winter Cabin Camping Spots in Ohio In the dead of winter, a relaxing getaway in the great outdoors is always welcome. However, if the thought of roughing it in a tent gives you the chills, then a cozy winter cabin might be the way to go. Here are 10 of the best winter cabin camping spots in Ohio.

The Inn & Spa at Cedar Falls in Logan is the perfect alternative to winter camping in Ohio. Located in a peaceful setting, you’ll find several lodging cabins and cottages to choose from. Each cabin is designed so you can enjoy a dose of nature with modern amenities. 

What’s better than a cozy cabin to escape the cold? A cozy cabin with a hot tub! At Oakwood Cabins in New Plymouth, you can enjoy a large hot hub, gas log fireplace, and a fully-equipped kitchen to make your winter getaway a memorable one.

The view from Ash Ridge Cabins is wonderful any time of the year. However, it’s especially amazing during the winter months. At Ash Ridge Cabins, you can relax in a steaming hot hub, cozy up by the fireplace, or sit on the porch and enjoy a hot cup of coffee at one of the many gorgeous cabins available.

For another warm and cozy cabin option, check out Lazy Lane Cabins in Logan. These comfortable cabins are located right near Hocking Hills State Park, Old Man’s Cave, and Ash Cave so you can enjoy a winter hike to see the frozen waterfalls and still hike back to a warm bed in the evening.

Fireside Chalet

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There’s nothing like beautiful fresh snow and you can enjoy it with a stay at one of Cherry Ridge Retreat’s luxury cabins. Located on 140 acres, these cabins are secluded, and offer a fireplace as well as everything else you might need to relax and keep warm in style. 

Experience total relaxation in the beautiful woods at Evergreen Place cabins. These cabins are located near a number of Hocking Hills attractions and provide everything you—and up to seven of your family members or friends—need to enjoy a winter escape. 

Blackfork Cabins in Perrysville offers rustic, unique cabins that any outdoor enthusiast will appreciate. During the winter months, stay cozy in one of the many cabins while enjoying the beautiful scenery of Mohican country.

The Chalets broke ground in 1988 and are home to some of the first cabins in the Hocking Hills area. With over 50 beautiful and comfortable cabins, there’s plenty of space for you to relax while surrounded by nature. 

Mohican Pines Cabin Rentals is the perfect place to rejuvenate and reconnect with nature. Cozy up to the fire at one of the gorgeous cabins available for rent. Mohican Pines is an easy drive from Loudonville, Butler, Perrysville, and Ashland.

Buffalo Lodging Company offers a number of cozy cabins perfect for couples or small families as well as a few larger cabins that can hold 2-3 families. Every cabin is well-equipped with fresh decor, hot tubs, and outdoor fire pits, making this the perfect winter retreat.

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10 Best Hiking Retailers in Ohio Hiking is a favorite activity for many people in Ohio. Thankfully, there are a number of excellent hiking trails to enjoy, especially in Northeast Ohio, such as the Rocky River Reservation, Quail Hollow State Park, and Cuyahoga Valley National Park. If you’re thinking about hitting the trails but need to gear up first, here are the 10 best hiking retailers in Ohio to check out. 

For all of your hiking, climbing, and exploration gear needs, head to Appalachian Outfitters in Peninsula. As one of Ohio’s largest outdoor specialty stores, Appalachian Outfitters carries an extensive lineup of products, sportswear, and gear that hikers love. 

Outdoor Source is an independent outdoor retailer that specializes in the very best outdoor apparel and equipment for any hiking adventure. Based in Columbus, the dedicated staff can help you pick out the right gear from the best brands in the business, such as Patagonia, the North Face, Smartwool, and much more.

Benchmark is an independent outdoor shop located in Cincinnati that has been in the outfitting business since 1974. Beyond the extensive inventory and top-notch brands, Benchmark can offer hiking enthusiasts expert advice and help when it comes to finding tailor-fit gear that suits any outdoor needs.

Great Miami Outfitters is a premium supplier of outdoor and hiking gear, apparel, and supplies located in Dayton. This shop is conveniently located near the Twin Valley Backpack Trail and a vast park system so you can stock up on everything you need for a day out hiking. From trekking poles and water bottles to the best footwear and apparel, Great Miami Outfitters has it all.

Since 1932, Geiger’s has been the one-stop-shop for families looking for women's and men's clothing, footwear, accessories and gear for snow sports, hiking, and other outdoor activities. The locally-owned shop has expanded to three locations in Ohio and carries high-quality hiking boots and apparel in brands like Merrell, KEEN, Salomon, and more.

Kames Sports was founded in 1963 and provides Northeast Ohioans with a place to find high-quality outdoor gear for hunting, hiking, motocross, and everything in between. Be prepared for any hiking trip with apparel from brands like TRAILCREST, Rocky, and more.

Sun & Ski in Cincinnati specializes in making your outdoor dreams come true. This specialty shop offers the best in hiking gear, clothing, and shoes in brands like Salomon, Merrell, Sperry, and more. For friendly, personalized service and an easy shopping experience, make your way to Sun & Ski for everything hiking-related.

Delamere & Hopkins has been a Cincinnati staple among the outdoor community for over 23 years. This outdoor gear shop sells the best products and apparel for fishing, hiking, hunting, and any other outdoor pursuit. Not only do they provide the gear but they also organize a number of classes and trips for the local community to enjoy. 

One of the most important things anyone who loves hiking must have is a great pair of shoes. If you’re in need of some fresh, comfortable gear for your feet, then head to Vertical Runner. This friendly specialty store has everything you need for a quick race or longer hiking adventure. Find locations in Brecksville, Hudson, and Wooster, Ohio. 

The Backpackers Shop is a family-owned and operated shop that is well-equipped with the best in backpacking and hiking gear in the Cleveland area. The knowledgeable staff is always ready to lend a helping hand to help you pick out the right hiking footwear and accessories.

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SPOTLIGHT: 30-06 Outdoors Wed, 10 Jan 2018 00:00:00 -0600 Camping Done Right: 7 Best Outdoor Stores in Ohio Looking to buy camping gear and equipment in Ohio that will help you get the most out of your next trip? Ohio has a number of shops that will help both experienced and beginner campers stock up right for their next big adventure. Here are the seven best outdoor stores in Ohio for camping done right.

The Backpackers Shop started out as a small shop in 1966 selling backpacking and camping equipment. Today, it is a giant emporium of outdoor equipment. Everything you’ll need for a weekend trip can be found on the floors of the Backpackers Shop.

Are you an avid camper? Then head to Appalachian Outfitters, where you’ll find everything you need to prepare for your next outing. This shop focuses entirely on the best outdoor adventure gear, and you’ll find a huge selection of CamelBak, Black Diamond, and other excellent branded equipment.

The Outdoor Source is an independent specialty outdoor shop based in Columbus and the ultimate source for campers to be properly outfitted for each and every adventure. You’ll find items like tents, hammocks, kitchen utensils, and all the gadgets you could ever need or want.

Great Miami Outfitters is a family-owned outdoor specialty store that carries high-quality gear and apparel for all outdoor activities. It carries lots of camping gear and wear in top brands like Big Agnes, Jetboil, and more. 

Clintonville Outfitters is a specialty outdoor store in Columbus that carries essential products for camping adventures. From equipment and outerwear to tents and cooking gear, this shop strives to bring the latest the industry has to offer.

Fin Feather Fur Outfitters started out as a bait and tackle shop in 1985 and has expanded to a colossal space that will satisfy all of your camping and outdoor needs. The store carries camping equipment and accessories from all the big adventure brands. Find locations in Ashland, Boardman, Canton, Middleburg Heights, and Milan/Sandusky. 

To find all of your favorite brands at reasonable prices, head to Outdoor Recreational Equipment in Youngstown, Ohio. Your camping experience just wouldn’t be complete without tents, sleeping bags, backpacks, and more, from brands like Eureka, ENO, and Osprey

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A beginner’s guide: Ice fishing Vin T. Sparano, as excerpted from Complete Outdoors Encyclopedia: Camping, Fishing, Hunting, Boating, Wilderness Survival, First Aid



Ice fishing differs greatly from open-water fishing, and it is a demanding sport. It requires an understanding of and an ability to cope with winter weather, knowledge of the cold-weather habits of the fish, and the use of an unusual assortment of gear, most of it unique to ice fishing.

There are two basic ice-fishing methods: tip-up fishing and jigging. In general, tip-ups are usually used on larger fish—pike, pickerel, walleyes, trout, and such—that prefer bait and require the angler to play the waiting game. Jigging is usually preferred for smaller fish that tend to school up—bluegills, perch, crappies, and the like. But these are merely generalizations, not hard-and-fast rules. For example, jigging (sometimes called chugging) is often quite productive on big lake trout and salmon in the Great Lakes. 

Also called tilts, these come in various styles, but they all perform two basic functions: they hold a baited line leading from a revolving-type reel spool, and they signal the bite of a fish. The most common type of tip-up consists of three strips of wood, each about 18 inches long. Two are cross pieces that form an X as they span the hole. The third piece is an upright; at its bottom end is attached a simple line-holding spool, while the upper end holds the signaling device. The signal is usually a piece of very flexible spring steel with a red (some anglers prefer black) flag on the end. After the hook is baited and lowered to the desired depth, the steel arm is “cocked”—bent over and down and hooked onto a “trigger.” When a fish strikes, an arm on the revolving spool releases the steel arm and it flies erect.

In this type of tip-up, the reel is positioned underwater. In other variations, the reel is positioned above the ice. Each type has its advantages. The above-the-ice reel can be more sensitively adjusted for light-biting fish, but the line tends to freeze on the reel once it gets wet. The underwater reel largely eliminates the problem of freezing, but the fisherman must remove the tip-up from the hole before he can grab the line.

Baits for tip-up fishing are usually live. In general, it pays to match the size of the bait to the size of the fish you’re after. Baits range from tiny maggots (often called mousies) and grubs for panfish, to worms and small minnows for walleyes, and up to 6-inch baitfish for pike. 

As done by ice fishermen, jigging is simply a method of imparting an up-and-down movement to a lure or bait. Jigging can be—and is—done with any sort of line-holding rod or stick. 

Some jigging rods—more appropriately called sticks—are simply pieces of wood 18 inches or so long, with U-shaped notches in each end. The line—10-pound-test monofilament is very popular—is wound lengthwise onto the stick around the U-shaped notches and is paid out as needed. There are other types of jigging sticks of varying designs, and many ice anglers use standard spinning or spincast rods or the butt half of a fly rod. 

Rods made specially for ice jigging are simple affairs consisting of a fiberglass tip section that is 2 or 3 feet long seated in a short butt. The butt may have a simple revolving-spool reel or merely a pair of heavy-wire projections around which the line is wound. The tip section may have two to four guides, including the tip guide. The shortness of such a rod lets the user fish up close to the hole and have better control over the lure or bait at the end of his line. 

There are many and varied jigging lures and baits, but flashiness is built into most of them. Others produce best when “sweetened” with bait. Two popular jigging lures are: an ungainly looking critter with a heavy body shaped and painted to resemble a baitfish, a hook at each end and a treble hook in the middle of its underside, and a line-tie ring in the middle of its upper surface; and a long, slim, three- or four-sided, silvery model with a treble hook at one end and a line-tie ring at the other. 

Jigging methods vary with the fisherman and with the fish being sought. However, a productive way to fish many jigging lures, especially flashier types, is to twitch the lure slightly and then jerk it suddenly upward with a quick upward movement of the arm. The proper interval between jerks is learned with experience. 

Popular jigging baits include a single perch eye (either impaled on a small hook or used to sweeten a tiny hair or rubber-bodied ice fly), worms, grubs, maggots, insect larvae, minnows, and cut bait (pieces of skin or flesh that are cut from the tail or body of such fish as smelt and perch). 

Jiggers tend to move around more than tip-up fishermen, boring holes in different areas until they find a productive spot. 

Like most other forms of fishing, ice angling requires some auxiliary equipment. Most ice anglers prefer to keep such gear to a minimum, for they have to haul it with them wherever they go on the ice. 

If you’re going to fish through holes in the ice, you need something to make those holes. The ice auger is a popular tool for this job. Augers come in different designs. One has a long handle with a U-shaped bend at the top, and a rounded cutting blade at the bottom. The handle is turned much like that of a manual drill, and the blade cuts a round hole through the ice. Another type looks like a giant ice drill with sharp, widely spaced threads. It is used in the same way. Gasoline-powered ice drills are also available. 

Then there’s the ice spud or chisel. This is a heavy metal handle with a large, chisel-type blade at the bottom. The spud’s weight helps the angler punch down through the ice, but the user must shape the hole once he has broken through. 

An indispensable item of accessory gear is the ice skimmer, a ladle-type device that is used to keep the hole clear of ice chips and chunks and to skim ice. A heavy sinker will serve the same purpose. 

Many ice anglers like to use an attached spring clip. It is attached to the fishing line and used to determine the water depth—an important factor because in winter most game fish are found on or near the bottom. 

Winter is the time of year when ice fishermen venture out onto frozen waters. Most will have fun, but a few will get into trouble because they don’t know how to make sure that the ice is safe. The first rule is never take chances. There are two periods when accidents are likely to happen: early in the season when slush ice doesn’t freeze uniformly and late in the season when ice melts at an uneven rate. It takes prolonged periods of freezing to make ice safe. Here are some rules to remember: 

Be cautious of heavy snowfalls while ice is forming. Snow acts as an insulator. The result is a layer of slush and snow on top of treacherous ice. 

Clear, solid river ice is 15 percent weaker than clear lake ice. 

River ice is thinner midstream than near the banks. 

River mouths are dangerous because currents create pockets of unsafe ice. 

When walking with friends, stay 10 yards apart. 

Lakes that have a lot of springs will have weak spots of ice. 





About the author:

Vin T. Sparano is the author of Complete Outdoors Encyclopedia as well as three other guides for Rizzoli

He has been an outdoor editor and writer for more than fifty years. He is editor emeritus of Outdoor Life, and has written and edited more than fifteen books about the outdoors. In 2013, he was inducted into the Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame.

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10 Best Ski and Snowboard Stores in Ohio When it comes to planning a winter adventure, skiing and snowboarding are right at the top of outdoor enthusiasts’ lists. The best way to experience skiing and snowboarding is with top-of-the-line gear and Ohio’s awesome local shops have just that. Not only will you find your favorite brands from Burton to Salomon, but you’ll be welcomed by an expert staff who will guide you to start your adventure off right. Here are the 10 best ski and snowboard stores in the state! 

Village Ski & Snowboard is Northeast Ohio’s premier ski and snowboard shop that carries all of the merchandise you need to get the most out of the winter season. Stop in to upgrade your gear and get some expert advice.

Aspen Ski and Board is a premier skiing and snowboarding shop with many years of experience and countless customers served. Not only does the shop offer gear from all of the top brands, but they also offer repair, installation, and tune up services.

Family-owned Ferdl Aster Ski Shop in Chesterland carries clothing, accessories, and all of the equipment you might need to go skiing or snowboarding in Ohio. Feral Aster Ski Shop carries name brand gear like Blizzard, Head, LINE, Salomon, and many others.

A birthday surprise from @jpcjuice! New ski boots 😍🎿 #timetoshredbro

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Buckeye Sports Center in Peninsula carries one of the largest selections of ski and snowboard equipment in the country. This ultimate outdoors store carries all of the accessories and gear you need to hit the slopes. They also provide complete ski and snowboard repair services.

Snow Trails is only a short drive from Cleveland or Columbus, and is Ohio’s first commercial ski resort for skiing, snowboarding, and snow tubing. In addition to its parks, Snow Trails also features rentals and a gear shop in case you need or forget anything while you’re enjoying some time on the slopes! 

The Ski Chalet & Treasure Cove Scuba, a local shop in Niles owned by a skier and a diver, provides everything lovers of skiing, snowboarding, and scuba diving need to participate in these sports. Brands they carry include LINE, Burton, and Roxy. The Ski Chalet also offers tune ups and other repair services.

Valleywood Ski and Snowboard Shop has been in operation for the last 25 years. This family-owned and operated business specialized in providing you with the right equipment and clothing for skiing and snowboarding. 

For anything related to skiing, without the hassle of visiting a big store, make your way to Tolerton Ski Shack in Alliance. This friendly local shop provides top skiing gear at affordable prices.

Got new twin tip skis, pants, mittens and glove liners! Thanks Aunt Joyce!

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Mountain Man Sports in Toledo is any skier’s ideal destination for high-quality snow sports gear and accessories. Come in for a great selection of gear or rent your own downhill and cross-country ski sets.

Swap shop today from 1-5:30!!!

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At Colorado MTN Sports in Hilliard, the selection of ski boots, bindings, and gear is excellent, but moreover, the staff is extremely knowledgeable and friendly. Make this locally-owned ski and board shop your first stop before hitting the snow this winter!

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10 Best Bait and Tackle Shops in Ohio Ohio is dotted with bait and tackle shops where you can pick up everything you need for a fun and successful day out on the water. These shops know what’s biting, and what bait or tackle you need to make the catch. Here are the 10 best bait and tackle shops in Ohio to visit before your next fishing trip!

Pick up all the bait you’ll need for your next fishing outing at Hamilton Bait & Tackle in Fairfield. This local shop carries live, frozen, and packaged bait as well as gear, rods, reels, and a variety of tackle.

Our custom Abu Garcia rocket is here!! Pre-Order now to guarantee yours as soon as they arrive!! #abugarcia #fish #fishing #catfish

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For all kinds of bait and tackle, head to Harbor Bait and Tackle in Painesville. This shop carries all of the best bait for any fishing trip on Lake Erie and its surrounding tributaries.

At Mark’s Live Bait-Tackle and Ammo in Ravenna, you’ll find live bait and tackle and you can even get your fishing license before you head out for a day on the water. Mark’s Live Bait-Tackle and Ammo is also well-known for its large seasonal ice fishing inventory.

Go Fish & Go Hunt is your one-stop-shop for all fishing and hunting supplies. The shop is loaded with a variety of live bait and tackle for any type of fish you’re after.

Mary’s Bait Shop is a local shop serving Central Ohio for more than 40 years and specializing in fishing, hunting, and archery gear and supplies. Mary’s Bait Shop carries a large stock of specialty and staple fishing items, including hard and soft bait, lures, and more.

As a family owned and operated business, Rickard’s Bait and Tackle has you covered with all of the fishing supplies you need for a day out on Lake Erie. Whether you’re fishing walleye or bass, Rickard’s Bait and Tackle carries every type of bait for a catch.

I don't touch the bait...or the fish....yep...I'm a wimp. Lol.

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Pozzie’s Lakeside Bait & Tackle in Lorain is a full-service fishing bait and tackle shop specializing in live bait. They also stock an extensive tackle inventory so you can be sure you have everything you need for great fishing on Lake Erie. 

Head to Geneva Bait and Tackle for live bait, such as minnows and nightcrawlers, as well as fishing tackle, ice, and beverages. Find other supplies such as K.O. Wobblers, Tite-Lok rod holders, Hula Poppers, and more. 

Centrally located in the walleye and smallmouth bass capital of the world, Hi-Way Bait, Tackle & Lodging is the best place to pick up fishing lures, live and frozen bait, ice, and more. Make sure to schedule in a stop at Hi-Way Bait, Tackle & Lodging when you’re planning your perfect fishing retreat. 

'Merica #ohio #portclintonohio

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On The Way Live Bait & Tackle in Cincinnati carries plenty of bait and tackle for a day or weekend out on the lake or river. If you’re a fishing enthusiasts, you’ll find worms, nightcrawler, crickets, and plenty more.

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10 Best Archery Outfitters in Ohio Whether you’re a novice or beginner, archery isn’t a one-size-fits all sport and you’ll need to stock up on high-quality gear that fits your needs in order to truly enjoy the sport. Thankfully, there are plenty of local archery outfitters in Ohio that carry a wide range of top archery gear to fit all budgets and levels of experience. Find a professional archery shop near you by checking out this list of the 10 best archery outfitters in Ohio.

Geauga Bow & Outdoor Sports in Middlefield is a great choice for all of your archery, hunting, and outdoor needs. With an expansive selection of hunting equipment, you can stop in to test out a new bow, or bring in your own to brush up on your game using their 20-yard indoor shooting range. 

Mike’s Archery Inc. in Ironton started as a retail shop serving archers with top quality products and extremely knowledgeable service. Today, Mike’s Archery serves more than 200 dealers and archers worldwide with their large warehouse which stocks products from all of the top brands in archery. 

30-06 Outdoors bring high-quality products at affordable prices to outdoor enthusiasts, including a number of archery products. From bow packages to storage systems, archers can find everything they need from this archery manufacturer online! 

Detty Outdoors is a small family-owned and operated archery store in Chillicothe. Detty Outdoors features top-of-the-line archery services ranging from replacing string to tuning bows. They carry a fine selection of high-quality bow brands, including Mission, Elite, and Bear

Bett’s Archery in Arcadia has something for every level of archery and bow hunting enthusiast. This local shop features plenty of products designed to fit your needs and they can even custom build or special order items that they might not have in the shop.

Specializing in pro series bowlines, including compound and crossbows, Broken Rack Archery in Batavia carries all of the best brands in the hunting and archery world. Whether you prefer hunting or target shooting, stop in to Broken Rack Archery to give your gear a boost.

It's always a good day to shoot some spots 🎯

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For a great selection of new and used bows of all types and sizes, make your way to Bad Boy Bait, Tackle, & Archery in Vermillion. This one-stop-shop also features an indoor archery range with 10 lanes for archers to practice the sport. They also offer introductory archery lessons for students ages six to 106.

This might be all we do...

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Looking for high quality archery gear? At Big Bucks Archery Shop in Saint Henry, you’ll find all of the latest bows and accessories to pursue your archery passion. The shop also has an indoor range and provides archery lessons for beginners. 

Whether you need new archery gear or just some helpful advice, Hard Nocks Archery in Englewood provides both. The store owners are certified archery technicians as well certified archery instructors. They carry and work on all brands of bows, specializing in PSE, Elite and Oneida

D&J Archery Shop in Hubbard provides top-notch service and repair work done by a master bow technician. For custom options, D&J Archery Shop specializes in Easton and Beman arrow shafts in both carbon and aluminum. 

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