stevekunnath writes "I have just recently returned from another fun, exciting, organized group trip by the Flymart Flyshop on the Saugeen River.
We were fishing for Kings on Ontario?s Saugeen River with guide John Valk. The Saugeen is on the east side of Lake Huron about 3hrs north from Port Huron?s Bluewater Bridge, near Georgian Bay. This was my first experience on the Saugeen, and what a beautiful river!!! It reminded me much of the rivers I miss that I had fished when I lived in Montana (but they don?t have salmon or steelhead). All in the same kilometer or so, we had fast riffles, rapids, deep runs, slow deep holes, long stretches of gravel and picturesque banks. And John Valk guides on about 70 miles of river like this.
The trip was for 2 nights and 2 days, and we were staying at Gar-Ham Hall, a bed and breakfast in Paisley Ontario. This was my first experience at a bed and breakfast, as I am used to the Best Western or a sleeping bag under the stars. Boy have I been missing out! There is nothing like staying in a Victorian style atmosphere, feeling like it was 100yrs ago except for electric lights and a TV set in the living room. Waking up in the mornings to the smell of fresh coffee and a hot breakfast making its way up the stairway. And it is a great way to spend the evenings in the comfortable atmosphere with other anglers telling fishing lies from that day, and sharing techniques and methods.
The Saugeen still had a good number of active, aggressive, king salmon with a few fresh fish still making their way up the system. Everyone hooked into a good number of drag screaming fish, causing increased heart rates and adrenaline rushes. And we all landed some nice salmon! One customer hooked into a real brute that he had to chase hundreds of yards downstream and put him well into his backing. This fish had no intention of slowing down and soon broke the tippet, but what an exciting few minutes even for those of us watching. There were 2 customers that were a father and son team and this was their first fishing experience! They each landed some nice fish, talk about some happy faces. I can?t imagine my first fish being a 20lb+ king salmon!!!!!!! What a great way to start out.
Trips like this are perfect for anyone from beginner to expert. Besides the great fishing, we all learned a lot from guide John Valk. His wealth of knowledge of fly fishing and of the Canadian rivers he guides on is outstanding. We often found ourselves resting from fishing and getting plenty of expert tips and information. I had brought along my fathers 14? spey rod and John and his guide Rob gave me some great spey casting pointers. And I am now definitely HOOKED on this fishing method. It was worth the trip just from the knowledge I picked up. And on the 2nd day I landed my first salmon on a spey rod.
This was on the first fly I ever tied which was an ugly wooly bugger that had been getting over looked in my box. To my surprise the normal egg and nymph patterns where not the flies of choice on this river. Wooly worms in black/red and wooly buggers in brown and black/green seemed to be doing the trick both days. I hope to give these a try on this side of the border. The Saugeen is a very clean and clear river so we were using flourocarbon tippets at 8lb test. We were using 8 weight rods set up with 9ft leaders with strike indicators about 4-6 ft up from the fly.
The fall run for steelhead is just starting on the Saugeen. We saw a few chromers moving up the river and I am sure there were a few hiding in the deep runs but I didnt have any success in hooking up on any. I love salmon fishing but steelhead is the ultimate and I am anxiously awaiting for that to kick in very soon. The Saugeen is a river I will never forget and definitely will be returning to again. John Valk is very spoiled to have this river in his area. And after my experience here my fishing back in Michigan will not be the same
Our 2 day trip ended and we started to head home with sore arms, big smiles, and some great memories.
By Steve Kunnath
You can also check out more on the Saugeen in a previous story posted by the netdoctor when he accompanied the Flymart on an identical trip 2 weeks prior.
24 Mill Street North
Waterdown Ontario, Canada LOR 2HO
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