Grey and Bruce counties in southern Ontario provide some of the best fly fishing available in Ontario. From tiny brook trout streams to massive rivers such as the Saugeen, the Grey/Bruce area is your ticket to some great fly fishing adventures.
Our first trip to some of
our favourite rivers in Southern Ontario kicked off on Thursday night as
we headed for Owen Sound, which would act as our base camp. Having
grown up in the area, I am lucky to know of countless rivers and access
points within several hundred square kilometers. The campground that
we stay at each year is located right on one of these rivers, and is truly
a fly fishers dream! Several species of trout are a possibility on
this river, and it is very difficult to get skunked here.
Even at 7 am, after very
little sleep, its a real beauty. After a little breakfast of bacon
and eggs, we were in our waders and
ready to roll. The fish in this
river are always very co-operative, making it a great river for the
beginner. One other aspect that is good for those just getting
started is the size of the river. It is rather small,
and it allows the opportunity to tweak your casting abilities as you must
really pick the right holes and seams to get at some of the bigger fish.
There are always a few
surprises along the way. I had a great
surprise on just the second cast I took using a hares ear nymph. The
‘chocolate bunny’, as I call it has been my go to nymph for several years
now. It always produces, and in nearly any situation.
This was my surprise!
That plump Borwn
came in at about 19". It put up a great fight, as it was mad as hell
that it didn’t get any real breakfast.
After a 5 or 10 minute fight, Kerry netted the beast, and after a couple
of quick shots he was released to be caught another day.
This river runs through the
Niagara Escarpment after tumbling over Inglis Falls, south of Owen Sound.
The current can be very swift and extreme caution must be exercised at all
times. In some areas, once you have clambered down to the river,
there is virtually no way out easily. You must navigate the stream
and find ways that are easy to navigate, moving around large obstacles and
Kerry likes a challenge, and
always gets herself into some of the best spots available. She had a
nice rainbow comin to the top after emergers
one little run.
We spent most of Firday on
this river, heading back early in the afternoon.
There was a cold front
moving in, and we wanted to make sure our campsite was prepared for the
rain that we knew was coming. We took a little drive to scope out
some other areas we’d be fishing in the next couple of days.
We rose early on the next
day, gobbled up some bacon and eggs and headed for the first location of
the day. A branch of the Saugeen in headwaters country.
We would be hitting two separate tributaries of the Saugeen today, one of
my favourite rivers. The headwaters of the Saugeen river offer great
fishing for Brook and Brown trout. Access is available at many of
the bridges that cross over the rivers. Respect landowners and don’t
We started off with dry
flies on this river. It was moving at a nice slow pace, allowing for
some long, uninterrupted drifts. We got into a few smaller brook
trout, and as we moved down stream we noticed some larger fish chasing our
flies, but no takes. We switched over to green streamers, pretty
small (size 10) which quickly got us inot some bigger fish.
Kerry got her biggest
Brookie to date. It came up from under a log to nail what it assumed
was a minnow or a leech. After a couple of hours on
this river, the sun was directly overhead and it was nothing but smaller
fish that were interested in our flies. We decided to head off to
another branch of the Saugeen that was more forested and likely to be much
cooler. The great thing about being in headwaters country is that
there are so many streams within a very close proximity to eachother.
This stream is a gem in my
books. I started coming here over two decades ago. Now there
is a spring sanctuary on the river as the MNR brings steelhead up from
Denny’s Dam and Walkerton to allow easier spawning in the cool clear
waters here. The sanctuary also helps to keep alot of pressure off
the river, as people tend to pass by areas with no fishing signs without
taking a closer look at dates printed on the signs.
We were lucky to arrive late
in the afternoon on Saturday, and to our surprise, a great hatch of
cahills and blue winged olives. Fish were rising all around us, so
we sat and watched for several moments before tying on some bi-visibles.
It wasn’t long before we were hooking into many brookies, several over
12″, and the odd Brown.
The fish continued to rise
steadily, but we were pooped and decided it was time to head back to camp
for some grub and brewskies. The day had been hot and we were all
but dead from hiking up and down streams for many hours.