Not a classical trout stream, the Grand river provides exciting fishing opportunities. The building of Shand dam in 1942 contributed to lower and more stable water temperatures in the first 30km below it, which helped in establishing an excellent brown trout fishery. The section above Fergus is for the most part shallow, which makes it ideal for fly fishing. Once it enters Elora gorge, the Grand forms some deep pools in places that are hard to reach without a boat. There is good fly fishing water below the gorge as well. Small browns are plentiful, and occasionally fish of 25" or bigger are caught. There have been rumours of big pike in the area, although I never encountered one of them.
Some of the many tributories also have populations of small brook trout supported by upwelling cold water
In the area below Paris the diversity of fish is incredible. There is a huge carp population as well as an abundance of suckers, bass, mooneye, pike, catfish, walleye to name but a few. Bass respond well to small jigs, flies and spinners. The run of mooneye provides a good fly fishing opportunity around Brantford in May while pike and walleye are less frequently caught. The main attraction of the Grand though is its lake Erie steelhead run estimated at 10,000+ fish/year. Since the dam built in Paris is impassable to them, they spawn in tributary streams below it, mainly the Nith river and Whitemans creek.
The waters between Paris and Wilkes dam in Brantford are designated artificial fly and lure only waters. This is a great section but one can expect grass floating down the river in September that would stick to the fly or lure. Open to fishing till the end of December, the Grand rarely remains fishable throughout the season. November rains quickly raise its levels and reduce water clarity. After passing Brantford, the Grand slows down before enterring Caledonia dam. The dam itself is a popular place with steelheaders in fall and winter, since migratory fish stay around for a while especially in low water conditions. Water visibility is usually not very good but this does not affect fishing.
There are other steelhead spots in the area of York and Dunville. When the Grand is high and dirty in fall a couple of small creeks in the area of Simcoe remain in descent fishing condition.
Whiteman's creek is a beautiful little creek to fish in April through September. It meanders through farmlands and mixed forests and flows into the Grand river above Brantford. There are resident brown trout, some of them quite large as well as a run of Grand River rainbows 16-18" in length in late August and September. Lake Erie Steelhead of 25" and above also enter the creek in late fall and winter. Steelhead can be caught in the first weeks after trout opener (usually the last weekend in April) right before they return back to the lake.
The summer run fish can appear in the Grand river system as early as July but September is the time when they show up in fishable numbers. Each year there will be a few brown trout coming from the lake and on very rare occasions - chinook salmon. Considering its proximity to big industrial centers, the fishing opportunities, the Grand river provides are hard to beat by any of the Toronto area streams.
Nice size catfish can be taken on corn, minnows or properly presented spinners. Carp will fall for corn but can also be caught with worms or pieces of bread. Float fishing for them in the hot days of summer is a blast. Smallmouth bass will attack poppers, flies, spinners and jigs.
The majority of anglers at Caledonia dam and other spots on the river target steelhead with float fishing techniques, using cured salmon or brown trout eggs, thin fluorocarbon leaders and tiny size 12 hooks. Other methods like spin casting with spinners, spoons or flatfish lures as well as fly fishing can be also effective.