Last week I made a quick trip back to Southern Ontario,The Province where I grew up then left when I was 18 Years Old.It’s a great place to fly-fish because the region has a great mix of Warm and Cold Water species consisting of LM and SM Bass,resident Trout and migratory Pacific Coast Salmon and Steelhead that have taken up residence in The Great Lakes.My goal on this trip was to re-visit some trout streams from my mis-spent youth and with an invite from my good friend John Valk ,float a famous Lake Huron Tributary – The Saugeen River for Steelhead.
Before arriving I watched the weather closely,despite the above average temps. we where going to experience John reassured me that plenty of rainbows where moving up into the system and that there where still a lot of drop -backs which are Steelhead that entered the river in the Fall and finished spawning.They where now moving out to Lake Huron,he was right.
I was really looking forward to fishing with John Valk -owner of Grindstone Angling a Guide Service and Fly-Shop located in Waterdown (Hamilton) Ontario.Not only is he a great guy and good friend,John was the first Ontario Fly-Fishing Outfitter to bring in Drift Boats to use on some very cool Ontario rivers.
Currently John runs 4 boats per day,easily making John the largest Outfitter in the Region.Largest does not always mean” best” however from what I witnessed via watching and talking to a couple of his guides who where also floating the same stretch of river i am sure they would earn this “kudo”also.John and his Guide’s know the river,the tactics,how to instruct and they get along great with their clients.They have their fingers on the Pulse of what the conditions are like on their advertised rivers.
Once the rods where rigged off we went.The tactics we used where a mix of swinging streamers through tailouts and other holding water and “light nymphing”with yarn indicators and Stone Fly Nymphs hung 4ft underneath which was used to fish to sighted fish that where holding just of the main current seams.
Given the warmth of the day we ditched the waders for shorts and flip flops and waded wet which is a rarity but a treat when it comes to either Great Lakes or West Coast Steelhead Fly-Fishing.
As we moved down river John would anchor up so I could swing flies thru a run or cast to sighted fish,both produced a good amount of hook -ups despite the warm conditions.On top of shots at Steelhead,I saw several bedded up SM Bass that pushed the 5 LB. mark.It was easy to see why Fly-Fishing Icon Lefty Kreh has commented that “this is the best BIG SM Bass River in North America”.Although out of season an incidental 4 LB Smallmouth crushed my streamer the tore it up before landing,all of which re-kindled my love of these great sport fish.
The fresh Lake Huron Steelhead that I finally managed to land ate a #10 Pheasant tail,we held our breath when he moved about 4 inches to eat it,then it was game on.The fish fought hard,jumping several times before I was able to land in on my 6wt.John figured the fish weighed in just shy of 10 Lbs. a decent fish indeed.We where off the river by 4 pM .I then drove up river to a tributary, the Rocky Saugeen where I caught the tail end of a Hendrickson hatch and a couple small Brookies to boot.
John and his Guide’s focus in on this river and it’s tributaries offering visiting Fly-Rodders a variety of species to fish for.In it’s upper reaches The Saugeen River is home to brown,rainbow and brook trout.
It gets a Spring and Fall run of Steelhead,the bonus is the lower river which we floated is home to a great population of SM Bass and Muskie.The Saugeen River is definitely on my radar screen for a return trip next season targeting SM Bass.Want to go ? Contact Me.
To Learn more about Grindstone Angling Click Here.
[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]https://flyfishingandwingshooting.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/IMG_1667.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Author Dave Brown Likes to Fly-Fish and Bird Hunt.He does it a lot,both in Canada and The USA [/author_info] [/author]
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