The last couple of years have seen a very strong resurgence on the Grand River Tailwater with some of the best fishing anglers have experienced in over a decade.
This past 2013 and 14 not only yielded an unprecedented number of trophy trout but also saw the return of the mid range fish or what we often refer to as ‘second year’ fish to the mix making for a good deal of fun. It would seem that there is a correlation between the severe winters and the return of the second year fish. During the mid 2000’s when everyone was scratching their heads and wondering where all of the 11 and 12 inch trout were, we experienced very light winters, precipitating base flows to remain well below the 5 cms out of Shand Dam.
With flows dropping as low 3 cms and remaining there for days and sometimes weeks at a time, the winter kill from frazzle and anchor ice could have been substantial as with low flows comes concentrations of fishing.
As oximoronic as it seems, the severe winters that we have seen over the past three years have allowed for flows on the tailwater to remain over 5 cms for the majority of the winter, mitigating fish concentration and winter kill. Winter survival of stocked fish is absolutely vital to the quality of our fishery as it makes for greater size diversity and obviously more fish. It goes without saying that a trip to Fergus to fish is a good deal more enjoyable with a nice mix of fish along with numbers but we often forget the mitigating factors for the river performing poorly.
Fortunately, for the last two seasons and the foreseeable future the ship has righted itself and fishing on the tail water is back to or at least close to its former glory. Flows have been above average but that should turn around this season as the melt and resulting run off has been near perfect. Despite heavy snow in 2014-15, it has left us gradually and Belwood Lake is where it should be two weeks before the season. What this means to us trout bums is there is enough room in the lake to take a heavy hit of water without blowing out the tail water. So with our fingers crossed, we are anticipating another outstanding season on the Grand River.