Grey County, your angling destination for all seasons. With literally hundreds of inland lakes, rivers and streams to explore, you’ll be hard pressed to fish them all in one lifetime.
To Fish in Ontario, you’ll need an Ontario Fishing License. Two options are available for the visiting angler. A sport fishing license and a conservation license click the link for more information www.mnr.gov.on.ca/en/Business/LetsFish/2ColumnSubPage/STEL02_164832.html
The rivers and streams of Grey County are home to Brook trout, Brown Trout and Rainbow Trout. Trout Season opens the last Saturday in April, closing the Last Saturday in September giving anglers plenty of time to explore the Rivers and streams. In early spring, when the water temperatures are cold, trout fishing with spinning gear and fly-fishing can be awesome. The Beaver, Bighead, Rakin and Saugeen River systems are just a few to wet your line. Cast small spinners or large stone fly nymphs and Streamers in deeper pools and runs where the fish will be holding. For the Fly fisherman, the hatches of Mayflies, Stoneflies and caddis are prolific, bringing out the biggest of trout to feed in the evening. Be mindful of Private property, respect landowners by asking permission to access the Rivers and streams will ensure you can come back to enjoy the Fishing to the fullest.
Also in the spring, Steelhead (Migratory rainbow trout) move into rivers to spawn. These hard fighting, excellent eating fish can be caught with spinning gear, float fishing gear and fly fishing equipment. Steelhead can also be angled with downriggers or long line trolling at the river mouths. Be prepared for some angling company in the Rivers though, as the Rivers are accessible only to the upper limit of the “extended fall season” sections. After the last Saturday in April, the rivers are open to the Regular trout season Regulation. Please be aware that some smaller Saugeen tributaries remain closed to angling (for spawning) until the end of May. The run can last well into May, leaving plenty of opportunities to catch a trophy fish. Please be aware that these fish are spawning, if you see a pair on gravel in shallow water, leave them to finish. Allowing the spawning to happen un-interrupted will ensure we have health strong runs of these fish for years to come. Be sure to check the OMNR’s website for extended closed season rivers.
As the Lakes, Rivers and Streams warm, Grey County comes to life with Smallmouth bass, Largemouth bass, Pike and even Muskellunge! The aquatic life in the River’s includes many minnow species, crayfish and Mayfly nymphs. Growing Smallmouth to large size. Spin fisherman do very well cast spinners and Rapala’s for Bass. Fly fishermen can take advantage of popper flies and streamers to tie into a hard fighting Smallmouth or Pike. Fishing for Muskellunge in Grey County is a unique and rare opportunity. Not for the faint of heart, Musky anglers should be prepared to cast heavy large artificial baits with stout rods and heavy lines with steel leaders. Remember, these large predatory fish are very sensitive to temperature. Prolonged battles with these fish can be deadly for them. Fight them quickly, use a cradle when landing and release them quickly. Doing so will ensure the health of this very special fishery. Again, Check the Regulations for angling Musky and all other species for limits and special regulations.
The inland Lakes and Rivers have public access points to launch your Canoe or boat. Some Lakes have “no Outboard Motor” restrictions in place. Renting a Canoe is also an option at one of many Outfitters in the area. You can check the river conditions /Flow rates through the Saugeen Valley Conservation Authority’s website at; www.saugeenconservation.com/riverreport.php
As the leaves start to turn, and the days grow short, Grey County’s Migratory season begins. Starting early to Mid September, Chinook Salmon move into the River mouths preparing for their spawning runs. The Sydenham, Saugeen, Bighead, and Beaver Rivers to name a few, have decent runs of these large fish. Casting Spoons and Plugs at river mouths or along the Harbors of these rivers in the evening is best to tangle with a giant fish Owen Sound hosts one the best Salmon Derbies in Ontario. Thanks to the Sydenham Sportsman Association, www.sydenhamsportsmen.com this Derby is not to be missed. The trout season closes the end of September (last Saturday), leaving the upper sections of the Rivers closed to angling. Select Rivers in Grey County have “extended fall angling seasons” for these beautiful hard fighting fish. Check the OMNR’s website for these special regulations www.mnr.gov.on.ca/stdprodconsume/groups/lr/@mnr/@letsfish/documents/document/mnr_e001335.pdf
Migratory Rainbow trout, (Steelhead) also ascend the rivers in October to prepare for the spawn in the early spring. Casting spoons and spinners can be very effective during this time Float fisherman do very well drifting roe and artificial nymphs and baits. Fly Fishermen can also enjoy successfully angling these fish with Yarn flies, nymphs’, and streamers or with 2 handed/Spey rods and traditional Salmon flies swung in deeper pools and Runs. Whatever you favorite Fish or technique may be, Get away to Grey to enjoy all this beautiful County has to offer the angler.
As winter sets in, and Ice forms in the inland lakes in preparation of the “hard water season” Ice fishing begins. Perch and Pike, Whitefish, Lake trout, Chinook salmon and Rainbows are all available thought he ice. The Inner Bay’s of Owen Sound and Wiarton could have safe ice in late February, depending on the weather. Jigging spoons in the inner Bay’s produce catches of Whitefish and if timing is right, Rainbow trout and Chinook salmon along with Lake trout can also be caught thought the ice. Be sure to check ice conditions before you head out for the day.
Everyone should enjoy a meal of Grey County fish, but please remember to limit your catch to only what you can eat right away. Fish is best fresh; take only what you can eat without having to freeze your catch. www.ene.gov.on.ca/environment/en/resources/collection/guide_to_eating_ontario_sport_fish/STDPROD_075994.html
Other location hot spots:
Fishing the Harbour Wall: The most popular time to fish off the Owen Sound Harbour Wall is in the late summer and fall when Chinook Salmon are running upstream. The most opportune time of day to catch this type of fish is late in the evening through to early morning. If it is Trout you are interested in, the best time is late in the spring and fall.
Fishing the Beaver River: Along this river, the sport fishing opportunities for rainbow and brown trout are good. There are ample sites for fly fishing along the river's upper reaches.
Fishing the Rankin: For sport fishers, there are opportunities abound for bass, northern pike, pickerel and perch. There have been improvements to the spawning beds of the lower Rankin River making it a supreme spot for trout and salmon species during their spring and fall spawning times.
Fishing the Saugeen: Upstream from Lake Huron you will find one of Ontario's best chinook salmon and rainbow trout runs. The Saugeen River, consisting of naturally sheltered feeder streams and spring fed lakes, is an angler's haven for large and small mouth bass, brown and book trout, and northern pike. Fly Fishing Information on the Saugeen River
Grey County has plenty of tackle shops, boat lauching facilities and guided fishing adventures:
Lochanbec Fly Fishing School
Ken Chandler Fly Fishing Adventures
Action Fishing Charters
U Catch 'Em Charters
Wilmer Pond Trout Fishing
Fish 'n' Lodge Charters
Also - the Owen Sound Salmon Spectular brings in fisherman from all around to try their luck in the Owen Sound Harbour each year around end of August.
Provincial Info: Ontario boasts some of the finest freshwater sport fishing in the world, with special packages and resort accommodations available for the avid angler. Visit www.ontariotravel.net/gofish for more information on Ontario's fishing experience.
To fish in Ontario, you must have a fishing licence, which is available at most sporting goods stores, bait and tackle outlets, tourist outfitters and fishing lodges. If you're a resident of Ontario, you must have an Outdoors Card before you can buy a fishing licence. Outdoors Card applications are available from licence issuers and offices of the Ministry of Natural Resource.
If you're a Canadian resident from outside Ontario, you must also buy an Outdoors Card and a fishing licence. Licences for non-residents of Canada can be bought at most licence issuers; and you don't need an Outdoors Card.
You'll find more information about licences and regulations in the Fishing Regulations Summary, available from most Ontario Travel Information Centres