A view of some of Southern Ontario's many rivers

For those of you who have yet to have the pleasure of visiting southern Ontario, here's four galleries of images of some of our better known rivers.

Some of these images date back over 20 years and a few are scans of prints. The eagled eyed amongst you will note that in some of these photos, my gear doesn't always match my current pro staff affiliations, for I used a broad spectrum of brands before joining the business side of the industry in 2006.

If you're thinking about visiting our area, use these galleries as a sample of what to expect during your visit. Please feel free to contact me regarding access, licence requirements, fishing seasons, tackle and guiding.

Grand River Gallery

  •  Early fall between Caledonia and York.

    Early fall between Caledonia and York.

  •  The runs between the islands in Brantford.

    The runs between the islands in Brantford.

  •  Beautiful steelhead hen caught  on a little wet fly.

    Beautiful steelhead hen caught on a little wet fly.

  •  A nice buck caught below the dam in 2006.

    A nice buck caught below the dam in 2006.

  •  A foggy Autumn day on the river.

    A foggy Autumn day on the river.

  •  Since we are close to the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum, we are often overflown by vintage aircraft, in this case one of only two flying Avro Lancasters in the world, the Andrew Mynarski VC memorial aircraft. This photo was taken while I was standing in the middle of the river, fishing.

    Since we are close to the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum, we are often overflown by vintage aircraft, in this case one of only two flying Avro Lancasters in the world, the Andrew Mynarski VC memorial aircraft. This photo was taken while I was standing in the middle of the river, fishing.

  •  A nicely coloured steelhead buck taken on my B&C Thingy.

    A nicely coloured steelhead buck taken on my B&C Thingy.

  •  A rather unhappy smallmouth bass.

    A rather unhappy smallmouth bass.

  •  A quiet section of bass water.

    A quiet section of bass water.

  •  Another nice steelhead, photo courtesy of Wayne Vierhout.

    Another nice steelhead, photo courtesy of Wayne Vierhout.

  •  A beautifully coloured Grand River smallmouth bass. If you have never caught a smallie, these fish are seriously powerful fighters and a joy to catch

    A beautifully coloured Grand River smallmouth bass. If you have never caught a smallie, these fish are seriously powerful fighters and a joy to catch

  •  A fishing buddy with an upper Grand brown trout

    A fishing buddy with an upper Grand brown trout

  •  A fishing buddy working a dry fly in a stretch of the upper Grand

    A fishing buddy working a dry fly in a stretch of the upper Grand

  •  A quite stretch of trout water in the upper Grand

    A quite stretch of trout water in the upper Grand

  •  A photo from the late 90's, my son with a nice Glen Morris smallie

    A photo from the late 90's, my son with a nice Glen Morris smallie

  •  A cold day below Wilkes Dam.

    A cold day below Wilkes Dam.

  •  A very nice carp taken at York. This stretch of water contains quite a few species, including Gar and Sheephead.

    A very nice carp taken at York. This stretch of water contains quite a few species, including Gar and Sheephead.

  •  A view of the water running through York.

    A view of the water running through York.

  •  Early season swinging a fly for steelhead in York.

    Early season swinging a fly for steelhead in York.

  •  Some quiet water between the islands upstream of York.

    Some quiet water between the islands upstream of York.

The Grand River is southern Ontario's premier river system. The river begins its path in the Luther Marshes and after winding through farmland and city, it empties into Lake Erie at Port Maitland.

The river drains over 7,000 sq. km. and is home to a diverse collection of fish and invertebrate life.

The river is primarily a smallmouth fishery in its headwaters, turning into a tailwater brown trout fishery below the bottom release Shand Dam. As the water gradually warms, the fishery turns back to smallmouth.

Once we get below the dam in Paris, the river is home to a run of steelhead (migratory rainbow trout) that starts in Lake Erie. Through this section and on down through Brantford, the river has a number of cold water sources that provide homes for a small population of resident rainbow trout.

Below Caledonia, the river is strictly a warmwater fishery having smallmouth bass, carp, sucker, channel catfish, sheephead, gar, walleye, northern pike, and various smaller fishes.

Credit River Gallery

  •  Here’s a lovely lake run brown trout caught on a swung fly in a section where the river flows through a golf course. The fish was caught on my B&C Thingy, while the rod is a Loomis PRO4x 11’ 6” 9 wt. switch rod and the line is a 510 gr. Airflo Skagit Switch. Photo courtesy of Eric Belanger.

    Here’s a lovely lake run brown trout caught on a swung fly in a section where the river flows through a golf course. The fish was caught on my B&C Thingy, while the rod is a Loomis PRO4x 11’ 6” 9 wt. switch rod and the line is a 510 gr. Airflo Skagit Switch. Photo courtesy of Eric Belanger.

  •  This is an old picture from the late 90’s of a nice chinook hen, from the Erindale Park section, caught on an old West Coast pattern, the Van Luven. My son took the picture. but he forgot my head.

    This is an old picture from the late 90’s of a nice chinook hen, from the Erindale Park section, caught on an old West Coast pattern, the Van Luven. My son took the picture. but he forgot my head.

  •  The lovely upper section of the river where it tumbles though a high gradient section. This stretch is home to brook trout and migratory fish.

    The lovely upper section of the river where it tumbles though a high gradient section. This stretch is home to brook trout and migratory fish.

  •  A nice little brookie taken from a tiny pool on a Henryville Special dry fly

    A nice little brookie taken from a tiny pool on a Henryville Special dry fly

  •  The waterfall in Bellfountain.

    The waterfall in Bellfountain.

  •  A view of the river below the waterfall.

    A view of the river below the waterfall.

  •  A view of the river below the waterfall.

    A view of the river below the waterfall.

  •  Slow pools below the Forks.

    Slow pools below the Forks.

  •  Below the Forks

    Below the Forks

  •  Below the Forks

    Below the Forks

  •  Erindale Park

    Erindale Park

  •  Erindale Park

    Erindale Park

  •  Erindale Park

    Erindale Park

The Credit River starts its path north of Toronto in the Caledon area. It then flows through a part of Canada’s largest metropolitan area, passing through Mississauga and entering Lake Ontario at Port Credit. The river drains a watershed of 1,000 sq. km. and the river plus its tributaries are 1,500 km. long.

It its upper stretches, the river supports a self-sustaining population of brook trout. The river is also home to a brown trout population plus runs of steelhead, chinook salmon, and coho salmon. The river has also be used to stock Atlantic salmon in an attempt to restore Lake Ontario’s extirpated population of these fish.

The lower stretch of the river is mostly known for its steelhead and salmon fishing, but the occasional smallmouth bass can also be caught.

Maitland River Gallery

  •  Nice steelhead taken on my Emerald Shiner tube fly, G. Loomis 13' 8/9 wt. and Airflo Skagit 570 with T7 Airflo FLO-tip. Photo courtesy of Mark Zuzarte

    Nice steelhead taken on my Emerald Shiner tube fly, G. Loomis 13' 8/9 wt. and Airflo Skagit 570 with T7 Airflo FLO-tip. Photo courtesy of Mark Zuzarte

  •  A good example of the Maitland’s clarity.

    A good example of the Maitland’s clarity.

  •  Lower Maitland River

    Lower Maitland River

  •  Beautiful Maitland steelhead taken on my Brown Trout Weamer fly in 2006, below the Highway 21 bridge.

    Beautiful Maitland steelhead taken on my Brown Trout Weamer fly in 2006, below the Highway 21 bridge.

  •  A nice Mailtand smallmouth caught in 2003 on a tube fly version of my Brown Trout Weamer. this fish was an incidental catch while fishing for steelhead. The line in the photo is an older model Airflo Type 3 full sinking shooting head.

    A nice Mailtand smallmouth caught in 2003 on a tube fly version of my Brown Trout Weamer. this fish was an incidental catch while fishing for steelhead. The line in the photo is an older model Airflo Type 3 full sinking shooting head.

  •  A nice Maitland steelhead caught by my buddy Mark.

    A nice Maitland steelhead caught by my buddy Mark.

  •  Crowded Highway 21 bridge section during steelhead season. (2)

    Crowded Highway 21 bridge section during steelhead season. (2)

  •  Crowded Highway 21 bridge section during steelhead season. (2)

    Crowded Highway 21 bridge section during steelhead season. (2)

  •  Low water exposes the rocks.

    Low water exposes the rocks.

The Maitland River flows into Lake Huron at Goderich, having started its path in Arthur Township. The river is 150 km. long and was named after a Governor General of Canada, Sir Peregrine Maitland.

The river is best known for its fall and spring runs of steelhead, plus its excellent smallmouth fishery. It also receives a small run of salmon, though this appears to be in decline.

The Maitland is a spate river that runs very clear between rainfalls, but it can suffer from low water in the summer. The lower stretches can get quite busy during steelhead season.

Saugeen River Gallery

  •  Lovely fall day on the Saugeen

    Lovely fall day on the Saugeen

  •  A huge Saugeen smallmouth bass that was 24 ¼” long. This was potentially a fly caught world record, but I didn’t realize it at the time so it was not properly documented. The fish was taken on a deer hair popper. The photo is courtesy of John Valk and the fish was caught from his drift boat.

    A huge Saugeen smallmouth bass that was 24 ¼” long. This was potentially a fly caught world record, but I didn’t realize it at the time so it was not properly documented. The fish was taken on a deer hair popper. The photo is courtesy of John Valk and the fish was caught from his drift boat.

  •  My friend Mark fishing a fast run in 1999.

    My friend Mark fishing a fast run in 1999.

  •  My buddy Dave and John Valk with a nice steelhead, caught during a guided trip.

    My buddy Dave and John Valk with a nice steelhead, caught during a guided trip.

  •  A nice chinook salmon caught near Paisley on a guided trip in 2002. Photo courtesy of John Valk.

    A nice chinook salmon caught near Paisley on a guided trip in 2002. Photo courtesy of John Valk.

  •  Fighting a powerful chinook in high and off colour water while on a guided trip. The photo was courtesy my buddy Dave.

    Fighting a powerful chinook in high and off colour water while on a guided trip. The photo was courtesy my buddy Dave.

  •  Fishing the section below the dam.

    Fishing the section below the dam.

  •  John Valk fishing a side channel just before we trailered the boat.

    John Valk fishing a side channel just before we trailered the boat.

  •  Drifting the Saugeen, photo courtesy of John valk

    Drifting the Saugeen, photo courtesy of John valk

The Saugeen River starts out in the Osprey Wetland Conservation Lands and flows into Lake Huron at Southhampton. The river is 160 km long and has two main tributaries, the North and South Saugeen, plus numerous smaller tributaries such as the Beatty and the Rocky.

In the smaller tributaries, the river supports a self-sustaining population of brook trout. In the main stem, we find smallmouth bass, musky, and brown trout. The river also receives runs of steelhead, with declining runs of chinook salmon.

The river runs quite clear between rainfalls, but can rise and dirty up quickly after a heavy rain. The stretch below Denny’s Dam can get quite busy during steelhead season.