Anglers that want to fly fish Ontario have many options and Southern Ontario is a great place to start. There are hundreds of rivers and streams that hold all kinds of species of fish for fly anglers that want to fly fish Ontario.
Most rivers in Southern Ontario will have species like brook trout, brown trout, rainbow trout, steelhead, as well as a few different kinds of salmon. There are also many good places to fly fish Ontario for warm water species like bass, pike, musky, carp, and even walleye.
If you know where to look chances are you are not far from a little trout creek. Thanks to cold clean groundwater, there is an abundance of cold clear rivers and creeks for fly anglers to cast a fly.
There are also some good local pounds and lakes in Southern Ontario that anglers can fly fish and this is my list of some of the places that I think are the best.
Fly Fish Ontario – Saugeen River
A lot can be said about the Saugeen River with its miles of clear clean water and its beautiful scenery and its many different species of fish. This may be the best fly fishing river in Ontario.
If you want to fly fish Ontario this is a great place to start. Not only does it have all that but it has good access and is pretty central in Southern Ontario with the river starting close to Flesherton and ending up in Lake Huron at Southampton.
In the lower river below Walkerton, anglers can experience some of the largest runs of steelhead in the province. I’ve heard annual numbers of over 30,000 steelhead running up this river and they can be big and really hard fighting fish.
There is also a run of Chinook salmon that enter the river in September and October.
The brown trout, brook trout, and resident rainbow trout fishing on the upper Saugeen River above Hanover and Durham can be very good. If you want to fly fish Ontario for trout, this is one of the nicest stretches of river you will find in Southern Ontario.
For the warm water fly anglers, this river is a real treat with a large population of smallmouth bass. Some of them are over 5 pounds and I heard the famous fly angler Lefty Kreh once say the Saugeen was one of the best bass rivers on the east coast.
If you think the bass is fun, there is also a good population of river musky with some of them over 50 inches long. These big fish can be targeted by fly anglers and this is one of the best rivers for fly fishing for musky. Musky can be found from Walkerton to the mouth of the river.
Anglers can also find pike a from Walkerton down to Lake Huron. The above picture is me with a nice pike from the Saugeen River near Walkerton.
Saugeen River Fishing Guides
The Saugeen River is a massive river and it can be a little overwhelming for some anglers. The guides at A Perfect Drift Guide Company offer guided trips on the warm water and cold water sections of the Saugeen River for steelhead, trout, bass, pike, and musky.
The Saugeen River also has a dozen tributaries that anglers can fly fish for trout and maybe steelhead, bass, and pike.
The Grand River
The Grand River is another massive river that almost starts in the same area as the Saugeen River around Dundalk but winds its way south and enters Lake Erie.
The is by far the best river flowing into Lake Erie and is one of the best fly fishing rivers in Ontario. The lower end of the grand is like a moving lake and can be fished by motorboat, canoe, or from shore. The lower section is a warm water section known for its walleye, bass, carp, pike, and musky fishing.
The Grand River is also a growing destination for fly fishing for steelhead and is a large river that is a favorite of Spey fishing anglers. The steelhead runs are growing now that the steelhead can get past some of the old dams and up into good spawning tributaries.
If you want to fly fish Ontario on a large river the Grand River in the Brantford, Paris, and Cambridge area is a great spot for steelhead, walleye, bass, brown trout, and resident rainbow trout. There are also great opportunities to fly fish the abundant large carp of the area.
The grand river is best known for its trophy brown trout section located between Fergus and West Montrose. Thanks to stocking efforts this part of the Grand River is said to be the best brown trout fishery on the east coast.
Huge browns up to 30 inches can be caught in this stretch of river and it is a favorite river for anglers that like a lot of back cast room and lots of action. This section of Grand River gets stocked annually with about 25 to 30 thousand brown trout between 6 and 10 inches
There is good access to this river and I hope to have a page on fishing the grand river soon listing all the access points.
Grand River Fly Fishing Guides
This is a favorite river of the guides at A Perfect Drift Guide Company who report catches of over 5 brown trout over 20 inches on some guide trips.
They know all the water in this stretch and know where the big brown trout are. Days of 3 or 4 big brown trout over 20 inches is not uncommon for clients out with their guides.
Fly Fish Ontario On The Beaver River
If you want to fly fish in Ontario you should consider a trip to the Beaver River near Thornbury Ontario. The beaver river is known for its large steelhead runs but it also has good fishing for salmon, brown trout, brook trout, and smallmouth bass.
The Beaver River is one of the best fly fishing rivers in Ontario with its fast clean water sections, its slow meadow stretches which are great for streamer and dry fly fishing, and its wooded smaller sections full of brook trout.
Most of the steelhead fishing occurs in the lower river near Thornbury.
The upper river above Heathcote can be good for brown trout. Much of the middle river is slow and flat and doesn’t get fished much but there are some big browns in that section of the Beaver River.
The far upper section of the river is good for rainbow trout, brown trout, and brook trout. There are a few small creeks that are also good for brook trout and brown trout.
Beaver River Fly Fishing Guides
The guides at A Perfect Drift are the top river guides for the Beaver River and offer walk-and-wade trips to the upper river and walk-and-wade and boat trips in the lower Beaver River.
The Beaver River is the best fished in late April, May, early June, and in September.
Fly Fish Ontario – The Nottawasaga River
Fly Fishing on the Nottawasaga is best done in the lower part of the river near Wasaga Beach. This is the best area for fly fishing because the river is faster and is suitable for fly fishing.
Much of the middle part of the river up to Alliston is slow and flat and it’s a hard river to read and fly fish without the proper knowledge. Once you learn how to fish this slower water the Nottawasag can be excellent fishing for steelhead, salmon, pike, and bass. You may even get a musky in this stretch between Alliston and the mouth of the river.
The upper Nottawasaga is mostly private property and fishing access is limited for brook trout and Brown trout.
The reason I mention the Nottawasaga River as a great river for fly fishing in Ontario is because of its many tributaries. Anglers can catch brown trout and brook trout in the Mad River, the Noisy River, the Pine River, the Boyne River, and in Willow Creek. This makes the Nottawasaga River one of the best fly fishing rivers in Ontario
You can get more details on this river on my page The Best Rivers In Ontario For Trout And Steelhead
Nottawasaga River Fly Fishing Guides
There aren’t very many river guides on the Nottawasaga River and its tributaries, and the best river guides on that river since 2006 are the guides at A Perfect Drift Guide Company. They guide the steelhead and salmon sections and all of the tributaries for brook trout and brown trout.
Last year one of their clients caught over 70 brook trout in one day and they have had many clients hook more than 50 steelhead a day.
Bighead River Fly Fishing
The Bighead River is one of the best rivers to fly fish for steelhead, salmon, and smallmouth bass.
The Bighead River has a lot of fast runs, pockets pools, and gets a big run of steelhead. Most of the fishing on the Bighead River is done in the lower river near the town of Meaford.
Much of the upper river is private property and can not be accessed for fishing but if you look hard enough you may find some access with lots of brook trout.
This is a favorite river of many fly anglers and that makes the Bighead River one of the best fly fishing rivers in Ontario.
Bighead River Fly Fishing Guides
The Bighead River is guided by the guides at A Perfect Drift Guide company in the spring and in the fall. Part of the Bighead River has an extended fall season that runs until December 31st. Check the fishing regulations before you fish.
Fly Fish Ontario On The Credit River
The entire Credit River is good for fly fishing. It is one of the best fly fishing rivers in Ontario for many reasons. The Lower Credit River has some of the largest runs of salmon in Ontario. It gets Chinook salmon, Atlantic salmon, and Coho salmon that enter the river starting in September.
Fly fishing for these big salmon is a lot of fun. The salmon can make it as far as the Norval dam but can’t get further up the river than that.
Most salmon can’t get past the Streetville dam so the best salmon fishing is done below that point but be warned. there are special regulations on the Credit River for fish sanctuaries, and also for extended fall fishing and for year-round fishing so check before you go.
Be sure to check out our Ontario Salmon page for more information on Ontario Salmon Fishing.
The Credit River is also known for its steelhead fishing which also takes place below the Norval Dam. Steelhead can be good in both the spring and fall.
The Upper Credit River is known for its brown trout and book trout fishing and is an excellent area to fly fish. There are special regulations in this area so check before you go. (all trout must be released in the upper river)
Credit River Fly Fishing Guides
This is the home river for some of the fly fishing guides at A Perfect Drift Guide Company. They know this river better than any other fly fishing guide on the Credit River.
Fly Fishing The Ganaraska River
This is one of the best steelhead and salmon rivers that flow into Lake Ontario on the Canadian side. This river is clean and cold and has good brook trout and brown trout populations in the upper river.
The natural reproduction on this river is excellent and in years past this river has had spring runs of up to 18,000 steelhead which is very impressive considering this is not a huge river like the Saugeen.
That makes the Ganaraska River is one of the best fly-fishing rivers in Ontario.
Most of the fishing on the Ganaraska takes place on the lower river near Port Hope and it can get busy at times.
It’s an easy and fun river for fly fishing and can be good in spring, summer, and fall. Check out the section around the Sylvan Glen Conservation area.
Duffins Creek Fly Fishing
Another good river for fly fishing for steelhead in the spring and fall and for salmon in September.
Duffins Creek splits into two rivers and it can be good fishing up both rivers. There is good access through the trails that run along the river and through the parks.
Duffins Creek is also only a short drive from Toronto which makes Duffins Creek one of the best fly fishing rivers in Ontario for a lot of anglers.
There is a dam on West Duffins Creek that the steelhead and salmon can’t get past. Above the dam can be a good place to try for brook trout. There are not many brown trout in the river but there are some. The river is loaded with small rainbows to keep you busy.
Fly Fishing Bronte Creek
Bronte Creek sits just southwest of Toronto and is well known for its big runs of steelhead, salmon, and migratory brown trout.
There is a large waterfall in Lowville Park that the migratory fish can’t get past so all the best fishing is below this point.
The upper sections of the river have brook trout and brown trout.
There is a lot of trout in the river which makes for an exciting day of fly fishing and that makes Bronte Creek one of the best fly fishing rivers in Ontario
This is a fast-flowing river with much of it set in a deep valley and it’s an easy and fun river to fish. The best fishing is in the fall in the extended fall fishing sections and in the spring once the trout season opens.
More Great Ontario Rivers For Fly Fishing
There are lots of great rivers that anglers can fly fish. I list many of them on my page The Best Rivers In Ontario For Trout And Steelhead