20 years experience
Fishing The Grand
Maybe the best brown trout river in Ontario.
Fishing the Grand River
The Upper Grand River
This is the premier brown trout river in Ontario and is a fly fisherman’s dream. Big brown trout will rise up for size 18 to 22 dry flies and will gorge themselves on nymphs 10 feet from you. This is a stocked river so the fish here don’t spook as easy making it a great destination for beginner fly anglers.
On average about 30,000 brown trout around 6 to 8 inches are stocked from the Belwood lake dam to just up river of West Montrose. This works out to about 1000 trout per kilometer. Some of this stretcth of trout river flows through the scenic Elora Gorge with it’s 100 foot cliffs as seen in the picture above. There are large deep pools in this stretch and some experts believe there are brown trout in this section over 30 to 32 inches.
The town of Elora is a small touristy town with many places to stop for some food and drinks.
The river runs through the town of Fergus and there is a local fly shop in Fergus that backs onto the river. They can outfit you with the best gear and best flies for this river so check on-line for there location. The are known as the Grand River Outfitting and Fly shop ( http://ontarioflyfishing.ca ). There are also a ton of guides that guide on this river but be careful some are not very good so I highly recommend searching out the few veteran guides that know their stuff and avoid the newbie guides if you really want the most successful day on the water.
This upper section of the Grand river is about 15 minutes from Orangeville and of the many rivers that I guide, this is the most popular river for fly anglers and probably the most productive river for resident brown trout. Many anglers love this river for the easy access, the easy and plentiful trout and the wide open river which allows for lot’s of back-cast room. The average width of this river is about 50 feet.
This is the only river where my clients can routinely hook 3 or more brown trout over 20 inches in just a few hours on the river with some of them getting lucky with a monster sized brown trout over 25 inches.
This river is also suitable for float fishing and spin fishing as long as you know the special fishing regulations in the area and know what sections are best for this style of fishing.
This is known as a tailwater fishery. What a tail water fishery is and what keeps this section fishing so good is the cold water outflow of the Belwood lake damn. Unlike many damns the water on this dams flow out from the bottom and stays cold long into July. Above the dam the lake and the upper river can get very warm and are much better for bass, pike and carp. In fact there is almost no trout up river of Belwood lake.
The section of the Grand River near in Fergus is said to be the best tail-water brown trout fishery in Eastern Canada and is arguably the most popular fly fishing destination in Ontario.
Unfortunately being this popular can mean that at times it can get a bit busy, but the good thing is there is tons of water to fish and loads of fish in every spot and if you avoid the more popular spot it’s not hard to find a spot all to yourself.
Regardless of the fishing pressure we know how to find un-crowded sections that have lots of big, scrappy and numerous brown trout over fourteen inches for our clients to enjoy.
Some big brown trout in the 25″ to 27″ size are caught every season here. Ten to fifty brown trout a day is not uncommon for our clients and days of three to seven brown trout over twenty inches is very possible, but only if you know where the big ones are and how to fish for them. Otherwise many anglers struggle with catching the big ones consistently which is why I stay so busy.
This tail water section has about 30 km of accessible brown trout water to fish and is mainly a walk and wade section and I guide it all.
The best months to fish this river is in May and June. Later in July it can start to get to warm to fish which is when I focus on other rivers that stay cold fish well for the rest of the summer.
This river get huge and sometimes very predictable hatches. You can google search grand river hatch charts and get some pretty accurate hatch charts. The best hatch charts come from one of the longest running guides on the river Ken Collins on his website here https://www.grandrivertroutfitters.com/river/grand-river
Most methods of fly fishing will work on this river. At times streamer fishing can be fantastic, and during a hatch the dry fly action can be awesome but for consistent success with the bigger fish the advanced nymphing tactics I use have had my clients hook up to 9 trout over 20 inches in a day.
Some angler even do well with a traditional wet fly swing methods, but mostly for the smaller trout.
I provide my clients with a summary of the methods I use and some of my most productive patterns for this river. Sorry, this is for paying clients that I guide only.
The two pictures below show how predictable the big brown trout can be. I told my client there would be a couple big fish in a spot no bigger then 6′ x 6′. After he landed the fist one that was around 23 inches I said there was another one bigger in that spot. Less than five minutes later he was hooked into it and shortly after I was taking a picture of that one to. I’d known where these two fish were for weeks, in fact the same spot had been producing large fish up to 26 inches for years for me and my clients. This is not uncommon for a guide that fishes everyday and knows the river and the fishes habits like very few ever will.
Special Regulations –
Anglers need to beware that this section of the grand river has special regulations that apply on most of this trout water section. – it’s mostly a No Kill Zone on all trout with single barbless kooks only and No organic bait rules in place. These regulations along with heavy stocking in mid May is the reason the trout are so big and plentiful and a great example of why catch and release works. I caught the same big brown trout over 10 time in a year and I can routinely go to many spots along the river and know exactly where the big fish are sitting and hook them on many days.
There is also some very good bass and pike and carp fishing through out the river for anglers interested in fishing during the hotter summer months. Some of the upper an middle sections of the grand can produce dozens of bass a day.
Due water levels we can on;y guide you in these sections by foot.
The lower sections of the Grand river are know for the exceptional steelhead and bass fishing with some resident rainbow trout mixed in. There are a few tributaries that also have trout and steelhead. Because the lower river is so far for us to go and because we are so busy on other preferred rivers we do not guide the lower Grand river below West Montrose.