Information for fly fishing the Grand River in Southern Ontario. The Grand River is a massive river found in southern Ontario. It begins in the Dundalk area and flows south through heavily populated areas of southern Ontario before entering into lake Erie. It is the largest watershed in southwestern Ontario and includes all of the land in the drainage of the Grand River and its major tributaries – the nith, conestogo, speed and eramosa rivers. It originates in the highlands of dufferin county. The river winds its way over 300 kilometers to lake erie. Along the way, the Grand rive flows through picture perfect country sides as well as growing cities. The population in the grand river watershed is over 800,000.
The Grand river’s main tributaries include:
- The Speed River
- The Conestogo River
- The Eramosa River
- The Nith River
- Whitemans (Horner) Creek
It is the largest watershed in southwestern Ontario and includes all of the land in the drainage of the Grand River and its major tributaries – the nith, conestogo, speed and eramosa rivers. It originates in the highlands of dufferin county. The river winds its way over 300 kilometers to lake erie. Along the way, the Grand rive flows through picture perfect country sides as well as growing cities. The population in the grand river watershed is over 800,000.
A system of dams and reservoirs stores water in the late winter and spring for release over the dry summer months. This is important in regulating the available water for the communities downstream that rely on the river for water. Up to 95% of the flow in summer months comes from these reservoirs. Fishing downstream of these dams on the grand river is particularly good due to the amount of food that is discharged with the water coming out of the dams. Be sure to check the fishing regulations for any areas that may be deemed fish sanctuaries.
Both the Grand River and the Conestogo River have seen tremendous effort in stocking of Brown Trout. The stocking of brown trout in the Grand River began a little over 20 years ago. Twenty to twenty-five thousand brown trout are stocked each year in the river, so the fishing can be good at times. The conestogo river stocking began about 8 years ago. The grand river around the Fergus and Elora area has special regulations, and trout possession is a big no-no. The river is deemed catch and release in this area, and the size of some of the trout are proof that catch and release works in developing a fishery with large specimens available.
As the river winds downstream through Kitchener and Cambridge, the fishery turns to a warm water fishery, with the main species available being smallmouth bass and carp. Interest in fly fishing for carp has grown dramatically in the last few years, and the Grand River is an excellent place to try fly fishing for them.
Further downstream still, through Paris and Brantford, the river once again gives the option to fish for trout. Again, this area is under special regulations, and is classified as “Exceptional Waters”. Steelhead moving up from lake erie find their final barrier on the Grand River in Paris. If they make it this far, they must turn around and continue their journey up one of the tributaries downstream. There is a small population of resident rainbow trout that inhabit this section of the river, but for the most part the main attraction for fly fishing when the steelhead arent in is smallmouth bass.
The lowest stretch of the Grand River has an abundance of both warm and cold water fish species depending on the time of year. Steelhead and salmon migrate upstream, as do walleye/Pickeral. Mooneye also make their trip upstream each season and dry fly fishing can produce some great action from these fish when timed right.
Accessing the Grand River
Communities and access points on the Grand river include:
- Port Maitland
It is also recommended that you contact the Grand River Conservation Area to find more information about other access points along the river.
The main branch of the Grand from Kitchener to Port Maitland provides excellent fly fishing for both warm and cold water species. Species include Small Mouth & Large Mouth Bass, Pike, Brown Trout, Rainbow Trout, & Carp.