The section that is usually fished in this creek is below the dam in Vittoria conservation area. The dam is impassable to migratory fish, so salmon and steelhead end their migration at its wall. Young's creek is quite small and shallow and can be waded across at most points. It has runs of Coho, Steelhead, brown trout and a few chinook. It flows into lake Erie at Port Ryerse, west of Port Dover. Because of its usually clear water and shallow character, the creek is tough to fish. With the many anglers visiting it daily, fish are spooked early in the morning and luring them during the day is a matter of luck as well as skill. Getting connected to a fish here is far from winning the battle. No matter where a steelhead is hooked, it is always just a meter or two away from submerged trees. If not subdued quickly, the steelhead typically runs under the logs and breaks off. Using stiffer, shorter rods and stronger lines is a must. Even then fish manage to throw the hook or find other ways to escape.
In the cold winter days of December, Young's creek becomes a quiet place where few (if any) anglers go. There are still good fish that can be caught, both steelhead and resident brown trout. The steelhead shown to the left was caught on one of these days when the temperatture hit the minus 20'C mark, maybe the coldest day I have ever fished. Cars can be parked at the dam in Vittoria or a kilometer further downstream where the dirt road crosses the creek and then reaches a small parking lot in the forest. The latter place is difficult to get out of with a few inches of snow on the grownd. The mouth of Young's creek is also a good place to fish.
This small piece of water provides opportunities for exciting steelhead fishing, which is as close to hunting as it ever gets.
When I lived in Brantford, I fished Young’s creek a lot. An October rain made the water levels in the Grand river rise overnight. Higher water meant low visibility and dangerous wading conditions . In December, when the temperatures plummeted well below zero, the Grand was often slushy and unfishable. Young’s creek , however, had more stable water level and ice was never a problem. It is a tiny creek, rarely blown.
From Brantford there are a couple of alternative routes down south to Vittoria conservation area, the shortest of them going through Waterford. It is a 40 minute drive that I did on some cold Saturday mornings before first light. I had to keep my eyes peeled for black ice.
One time, I arrived at the dam in wintertime conditions and a lot of snow around. Prudence took over, so instead of driving another kilometer down to the forest parking lot, I decided to leave the car right at the dam. As it turned out, this was a good decision. The moment I pulled over, there was that unmistakable drop, telling me the car had just sunk into the snow. Deep snow! At 6AM there was no soul around so any rescue efforts seemed pointless. What should I do?
Go fishing, of course! I went down by the creek with a rod in hand, the car instantly forgotten. The temperature was sitting at minus 10 which partly explained the lack of rescue teams; fishermen I would have otherwise viewed as competition on a normal day. If you have the creek to yourself, chances are you will do really well. By 1PM I had 3 small steelhead (up to 20”) and a brown; a good catch by any standards.
Now was the time to take care of the car. I went back to it, but nothing that I did helped in any way. At 2PM I had gained about a meter and a half by mostly pushing the car through the snow. The engine was beginning to overheat and I was getting exhausted. Just then an SUV came around with a lady and her grandson. It took us 5 minutes to pull the car back on the compacted snow and declare a happy ending to a memorable day.