Saugeen River Steelhead

Host Bill Spicer fishes for fall steelhead with Grindstone Angling

There are only a few places in the Great Lakes region where steelhead purists can swing a fly.

One of the best areas for big fish is the Saugeen River in Bruce County in Southern Ontario. This long, winding river is blessed with some wonderful hotspots for steelhead, but you need a boat, a good guide, and the right flies to be successful. One of the best guides in Southern Ontario is John Valk, owner of Grindstone Angling.

grindstone angling guide john valk with saugeen river steelhead

John and his staff have been guiding anglers on the Saugeen and other fabled rivers such as the Grand, Maitland, and Bighead, which all possess good quality runs of steelhead. Plus, they have resident brown trout, smallmouth bass, and even musky! Best of all for the travelling angler, there are lots of affordable and comfortable accommodations in the area.

The New Fly Fisher visited the Saugeen River in late October, joining John Valk on a drift down the river. Swinging flies on sink-tips worked very well in deep water, as did a fly swung with a floating line in shallow water. This river is perfect for two-handed fly rod waters or even ideal for switch rods.

john valk and bill spicer with saugeen river steelhead

The flies that worked effectively on a swing included the Black & Blue Intruder, Sunburst Marabou Spey fly, and the General Practitioner in a tube fly tie. Bill Spicer tackled large and explosive steelhead with lots of energy, so quality equipment is absolutely necessary. Usually, 8- or 9-weight rods are necessary coupled to reels with strong drag systems.

netted saugeen river steelhead

Grindstone Angling is located on Mill Street in Waterdown, Ontario, and features a full fly shop that can meet all your equipment needs. Whether you enjoy topwater smallmouth bass fishing, dry flies for brown trout or swinging flies for fresh-run steelhead, John Valk and his staff can help you enjoy a quality fishing trip throughout Southern Ontario.

Check out their website or give them a call to find out more about what they offer.

Phone: (905) 689-0880

(All photo credits: The New Fly Fisher TV Show)
About Colin McKeown

Colin McKeown is the producer of The New Fly Fisher Television Series, and several documentary series for the Outdoor Life Network, the Discovery Channel and the History Channel. With a passion of fly fishing, Colin's goal is to help both novice and veteran fly fishers everywhere by giving them a top-quality fly fishing series that will make them better anglers. Known for his keen sense of humour, Colin has two wonderful children and is married to the most understanding and patient woman in the world. 

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