Hunting and fishing are valued heritage activities for many Grey County residents and visitors. And if you’re lucky enough to live in an area where nature, forests and open spaces are abundant, it simply becomes a way of life. In Grey County we are nestled along the southern shorelines of Georgian Bay and home to many inland lakes and rivers, dotted with fishing hot spots.
In the fall, as the leaves turn and the days grow shorter, the migratory fishing season begins. Starting mid-September, Chinook Salmon and Steelhead move into the river mouths preparing for their spawning runs. The Sydenham, Saugeen, Bighead and Beaver Rivers have annual runs of these migrating fish. Casting spoons and plugs at river mouths or around the harbours in the evening often produce a good catch.
As winter sets in, the “hard water season” begins. Try fishing the inland lakes for Perch/Pike or maybe a Trout! Try Georgian Bay for Whitefish, Lake Trout, Chinook salmon and Rainbow Trout. Jigging spoons in the inner bays produce catches of Whitefish and Lake Trout. Be sure to check ice conditions before you head out for the day, and monitor the weather closely.
Please check the Ontario Fishing Regulations Summary before you head out. It contains information about recreational fishing licences, open seasons and catch limits, as well as up-to-date fishing regulations for each fishing zone.
Owen Sound has been hosting one of the best Salmon Derbys in Ontario, starting in late August each year, thanks to the Sydenham Sportsman Association. It was cancelled this year due to COVID-19, but many fishermen were out fishing the Owen Sound Bay and along the mouth of the Sydenham River this fall.
Since the derby and associated fish tent weren’t able to happen this year, The Sydenham Sportsmen are sharing their famous beer battered fish recipe so you can get your fix right at home. It is excellent with both Salmon or Trout. You can do this easily at home with your fresh catch, or some locally sourced trout from Springhills Trout Farm or Kolapore Springs. Don’t forget to source out local ingredients for your favourite side dishes!
Owen Sound Salmon Spectacular Fish Fry Recipe
- 2 boneless fillets of fresh Salmon or Trout (approx. 2 Lbs.)
- Cube into 1 inch pieces
- First Bowl mix 2 eggs beaten, 1 bottle of Rickards Red (Molson Coors), 1 cup of water – let your cubed fish soak in this mixture for 10 minutes
- Second Bowl open package of your favorite Fish Crisp Coating Mix “Produced by McCormick Canada” we use Original Fish Crisp
- Remove Cubed fish from first bowl and allow fish to drain using a strainer
- Put Cubed strained fish in second bowl and mix with the dry Original Fish Crisp until coated
- Use Canola or Vegetable oil
- Preheat oil to 375 F or 190 C
- Remove coated fish within 2 minutes and place in deep fryer
- Allow cubed fish to cook 3 to 5 minutes or until it turns golden brown and the fish should float to the top, indicating the fish is done
- Remove fish with large strainer spoon to drain the grease
- Put Fish in stainless steel bowl
- Serve fish fresh as soon as it is in the bowl
- Serve with real lemon and tarter sauce
Grey County is also home to a lot of natural areas, dense forests and open fields that allow for a healthy and safe hunting environment. Cooking with local game, whether hunted or farm raised by a local producer, is a tasty alternative to beef. Try this venison stew recipe from Foodland Ontario.
Before you hunt, always check the annual Ontario Hunting Regulations Summary for the rules and regulations for hunting in Ontario. It provides information about hunting licences and fees, as well as up-to-date regulations and seasons for each game species.
When you choose a hunting or fishing spot, please be mindful of private property. Getting landowner permission will ensure everyone can come back to enjoy for years to come.