As the summer begins to wind down, my good friend Mitch decided it would be a rad idea to take a camping and fly-fishing trip in Elora, Ontario which holds the famous Grand River (well, famous for fly-fishing…). With the weather looking solid, my hunger for trout fishing and having never explored this area of the province before, Kayley and I were stoked for the weekend.
Kay and I arrived at the campsite mid-afternoon after getting minimally lost to find this massive campground that seemed to have a million sites that were beginning to fill up fast, and we started to worry our spot was going to be shoved in-between a group of noisy families. But, luckily my campsite booking skills paid off and our spot was pretty pristine, tucked into this nicely wooded area, blocked off from all craziness going on throughout the conservation area.
Mitch didn’t join us for the first night since he was having a couple brews back in Barrie for his end of the season work party, so we had a free night to kill. The site was fortunately right up against the Elora Gorge, we grabbed the cameras and took in the stellar scenes, leaving the remainder of the night to be filled with beer drinking, stories and campfire cookings!
The night was the perfect temp for sleeping and with Mitch not arriving till 11am, it gave us some time to sleep in, wake up, getting the fire going, coffee brewed and enjoy some breakfast.
Just as we were all cleaned up from cooking, Mitch rolls into the site and it was now time to get the weekend started!
Since trout fishing isn’t a viable option during mid-day we decided to take a trip into the small but very cool town of Fergus. Mitch and I needed to make our first stop be the Grand River Outfitting & Fly-Fishing Shop (I recommend this place to anyone who is in the area for fishing, the owners are awesome people and provide great advice and stories.) to grab some trout flies, find out river conditions and chat up the owner on anything fly-fishing related. After grabbing what we needed, our stomaches were communicating that they were hungry, so we stopped in at the Brewhouse on the Grand which provided us with some radical eats. With full stomachs, Mitch mentioned that there was a mini-ramp somewhere in town, even though I had just begun to skate again after bruising my ankle a few weeks back I was down! We drove around, flipping through our phones for 20 minutes trying to find the place, and just before we were about to give up, Kayley spotted it! To our misfortune, the ramp was pretty gnarly, my ankle wasn’t feeling great, scooter kids and high school teens everywhere, that skate session lasted about the same amount of time it took us to find the place, but skating is always worth it.
Before heading back to camp, finding an access point for our trout hunt the next morning was in order. Within minutes we found the perfect place below this massive bridge, providing us pathways down to the beautiful river flow. And from up above we spotted what seemed to be the most massive brown trout I’ve ever seen which filled up our stoke levels.
Back at camp we got the fire going, chilled out for a bit, had some snacks and got ourselves prepared for some evening fishing at the end of the Gorge which was conveniently right in the campground we were stationed at. Earlier, the owner of the fly shop had told us a friend of his caught this massive brownie in the area not too long ago, and we were committed to finding one!
Suited up and ready go, we searched for the area the guy talked about. After finding a barely bush wacked trail, at the river we were, in we stepped and the search began.
Mitch and I moved up and down the river, with little luck. This was just a precursor for the next morning meaning we didn’t expect much but it’s always fun to get out on the water and give it a go. After going through a couple fly choices, we both snagged what looked to be mini Carp.
A couple hours went buy, the sun began to set, Kayley’s camera died, and nothing worth noting caught, those all being signs to pack it in for the night. The rest of the evening was spent chatting, fire watching, and kraft-dinner eating, and no complaints were given. An early night was needed if we were to get the real trout hunt on at 5am the following morning.
The night gave some more great temps for sleeping, and as Mitch’s alarm rang, we were all feeling mighty rested and ready to get the day started. As quietly as we could, we got the fire started quickly to get some food and hot coffee into our stomachs (No 5am wakeup can go well without coffee).
With a packed car, out of the campsite we went before the sun even began to rise. Mitch pulled up to the access point just as the sun was beginning to show itself and the true hunt began!
The flies were tied and casts were made before 6:20am, both of us hoping for the best.
We searched this specific section for hours, Mitch covering one area and myself another each time we moved around, couple bites were had but no real luck. After putting in some time within this one big section, having gone through much of our fly selections, frustration was setting in, we had to move on….
It was our best bet to move upstream, hoping the trout had positioned themselves up there. Through the forest we trekked. Finally we came across a very sketchy access point. The area looked somewhat promising, but with trout, you never really know and they aren’t called buck nasty brown for nothing. Covering multiple areas again gave us no more luck than before and mid-day was approaching. With our backs aching, arms tired and no motivation, it was time to call it a day and admit defeat.
Our site checkout was 12pm, so we trekked on back to the car and get on our way. (Side Note: As we were on the bridge that was above the main access point, we saw those big browns we had witnesses the previous day right where we were casting but they didn’t want anything we were giving them, just wasn’t meant to be I guess.) We arrived back at camp, packed up, said our good-byes and went on with our Sunday.
It was very unfortunate that we didn’t find the trout we were looking for, but that’s how fishing works, fish don’t care that you travelled for hours or that you woke up at 5am or that you just bought a new fly rod, but the search for them successful or not is always worth it. I had an awesome weekend, it’s always rad to chill with Mitch “The Pizza God” Girard, to get some camping, skating and fishing in, probably the best way to end the summer. Thanks man!!