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Mighty Steelhead on the Nottawasaga River

A mighty steelhead plucked fron the Nottawasaga River. • Credit: Colin McKeown
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Mighty Steelhead on the Nottawasaga River

The New Fly Fisher offers tips for fly fishing this river



Not far from Orangeville, Ontario runs the Nottawasaga River. It twists and turns through various areas until it flows into Georgian Bay. The river is famous for its healthy runs of steelhead. These chromed fish are super aggressive and average 5 to 7 pounds in this river. A big fish is 12 pounds or larger.

One of the best guides I know of is Graham Bristow who runs A Perfect Drift Guide Service. Graham guides for trout, bass and muskie as well. But he loves to take people out for big steelhead. He will set you up in great and reasonably priced accommodations in a nearby hotel, then pick you in the morning. Graham literally has four great rivers all within less than 30 minutes from his Orangeville location. These rivers are The Grand River, The Credit River, The Humber River and the Nottawasaga River. He can provide all equipment and he loves doing drift boat trips down the Credit and Nottawasaga river.

Recommended Gear and Flies

Recommended rods and reels for steelhead: we really like 9 1/ 2-foot to 10-foot, 7-weight rods for casting and nymphing for steelhead. These rods make it easy to mend and drift a nymph or egg pattern without drag. We strongly recommend you use a good quality large arbour reel with a solid drag as these fish will definitely test your gear. Leaders are usually 8 to 12 feet in length and bring tippet is 0x to 3x sizes. Water clarity will dictate tippet sizes.

Flies to use are egg patterns like the Blood Dot, stonefly patterns and egg-sucking leeches in black or purple. If you want an exceptional fly fishing experience with a great guide, contact Graham Bristow. We also recommend you contact him early as he is popular and his calendar can fill quickly.

Visit aperfectdrift.com for booking details and more information about Graham's guide service.

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