Fly Fish Ontario – 8 Best Fly Fishing Rivers

Fly Fish Ontario - Anglers fishing on the Saugeen river

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

Fly Fish Ontario - An angler fly fishing on the Saugeen river
An angler fly fishing on the middle Saugeen river for steelhead while on a guided boat trip with A Perfect Drift Guide Company.

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.

An average size Saugeen River steelhead
This is an average size Saugeen River steelhead caught in November. There was over 20 caught on this day.

In the lower river below Walkerton, anglers can experience some of the largest runs of steelhead in the province. I’ve heard annual numbers over 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.

A nice brown trout caught on the Saugeen River
This is a nice brown trout caught on the Upper Saugeen River on a guide trip with A Perfect Drift Guide Company

The brown trout, brook trout and resident rainbow trout fishing on the upper saugeen river above hanover and Durham can very 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.

Fishing for river pike in Ontario
Fishing for river pike in Ontario

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 of 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 guiding 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 angler can fly fish for trout and maybe steelhead, bass and pike.

The Grand River

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 know 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 growning 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 know for it’s 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.

A large brown trout caught on the grand river
This is a large brown trout caught on the grand river and was one of 2 this big caught withing 10 minutes on a guide trip with A Perfect Drift.

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 on 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

An angler fly fishing the Grand river in the Elora gorge
An angler fly fishing the Grand river in the Elora gorge while on a guide trip with A Perfect Drift Guide Company

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 here 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.

A grand river Brown trout, 1 of 6 that day
A grand river Brown trout, 1 of 6 that day
An angler with a big Grand river Brown trout
A client of A Perfect Drift Guide company with 1 of 6 he hooked over 20 inches this day.
A lucky angler with a huge 24 inch Grand River brown trout
This lucky client of A Perfect Drift caught 2 in the 24 inch size in 10 minutes

Fly Fish Ontario On The Beaver River

Fly fishing on the lower Beaver river
Fly fishing on the lower Beaver river can be great for steelhead and salmon.

If you want to fly fish 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 it;s fast clean water sections, it’s slow meadow stretches which are great fro 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 Thorbury.

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 upper Beaver River
Fishing the upper river for brown trout, brook trout and rainbow trout can be good on the upper Beaver River

The far upper section of the river is good for rainbow trout, brown trout and crook trout. There are a few small creeks that are also good for brook trout and brown trout.

Beaver River Fly Fishing Guides

Beaver River Fly Fishing Guides
The guides at A Perfect Drift Guide company guide the best parts of the lower Beaver river for steelhead, salmon and brown trout. Guide trip to the lower river are best in late April and May.

The guides at A Perfect Drift are the top river guides for the Beaver River and offer walk and wade trip to the upper river and walk and wade and boat trips in the lower Beaver River.

The Beaver River is best fishing in late April, May, early June and in September.

Fly Fish Ontario – The Nottawasaga River

Fly Fishing 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 excelent fishing for steelhead, salmon, pike, and bass. You many 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 these river on my page The Best Rivers In Ontario For Trout And Steelhead

Nottawasaga River Fly Fishing Guides

Best fly fishing guides for Ontario steelhead
Head guide Cody guiding teaching fly fishing methods for steelhead on one of the best steelhead rivers in Ontario.

There aren’t very many river guides on the Nottawasaga River and it’s 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

Anglers on a guided trip on the Bighead River
A couple of anglers on a guided trip on the Bighead River with the guides from A Perfect Drift Guide Company

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

Fishing on the Credit River in the Middle section.
There is great water in the middle section but fishing on the Credit River in this section is difficult due to warm water and a lack of fish.

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.

An angler fly fishing the Upper credit river in the brook trout section
An angler fly fishing the Upper credit river in the brook trout only section- Catch and Release is mandatory here.

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

Fly fishing on 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 Saugeen river one of the best fly fishing river 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 spring, summer and fall. Checkout the section around Sylvan Glen Conservation area.

Duffins Creek Fly Fishing

Duffins Creek is a good river for steelhead and salmon

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 the 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 a lots of great rivers that angler can fly fish. I list many of them on my page The Best Rivers In Ontario For Trout And Steelhead

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