Selecting the right gear for trout fishing is easy

Quality equipment and patience go hand in hand for fly fishing anglers

The most successful anglers I ever met were also the most patient types I knew, and I wondered if that was a coincidence. What wasn’t a coincidence, though, was the quality of their gear, i.e. the rods and reels they used. It wasn’t the most expensive equipment, but they were very attentive in cleaning, repairing and storing them carefully.

You don’t need to spend thousands buying tackle but investing in quality brands like Shimano rods is a good start. It might cost a little bit more but this gear tends to last longer and deliver a better performance. Also for anglers just learning to trout fish, using a well-designed rod makes learning to cast that much easier.

For selecting rod, reel and line, here is some guidance for getting it right:

Rod weight, length, feel

The icon of fishing all around the world, the purpose of the rod is to absorb the tension created by the fish on the line, but it also provides stability and control. I’ve already mentioned quality, but the weight and length of fly fishing rods are also essential features that affect your ability to catch fish. Aside from this, the rod also has to feel comfortable in your hands – easy to grip tightly when there’s weight on the line. Fly fishing rods for sale at the moment are made from really light graphite but some of the most beautiful vintage rods I’ve seen are bamboo, which is unfortunately a fragile material and so they’re not made much anymore.

 Well-balanced reel

When choosing a reel, the first consideration is size, by which I mean the reel should be big enough to hold sufficient backing line for the size of the fish you’re pursuing. Size and weight go hand-in-hand, but it’s important that the weight of the reel balances the weight of the rod and that the weight is sufficient to hold the line you’re using. There are some good machined reels made from polymer composites or aluminum alloys available at the moment, but an important thing to look out for are gaps between reel and spool as the fly line will jam itself in there at every opportunity!

 Light line

Like reels, selecting your line is dependent on the fish you’re after. Fly fishing line weight is ranked from 1 to 15 (lightest to heaviest). Some fly fishing veterans recommend never using any line heavier than a six-pound test i.e. the line at its weakest point can withstand 6lbs of pressure. Because trout are usually found in cold, clear water, the line is often visible to the fish. One way for beginners to choose the line is to match it with the weight of the rod and reel – so a 5 weight reel with a 5 weight rod and 5 weight line (5 line size is the most popular for trout fishing).

These are just a few of the fly fishing tackle tips that are important to have in mind. Buying proper gear is the start of what could be a lifelong pastime, but there’s only one way to get better at fly fishing and that’s by going out on the water!

Using the right gear with lots of patience is a great plan

Using the right gear with lots of patience is a great plan

Grindstone Angling – Fly Fishing Open House

Fly Fishing Open House

The events for the day will include, A BBQ put on by Grindstone Staff from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Donations will be accepted for Trout Unlimited area projects.

This is the day we offer a 15% off sale to Trout Unlimited members and for individuals who sign up for membership at this event, if you are not a member this is a fantastic opportunity to join.  Trout Unlimited reps will be with us for the event, signing up new members and sharing information on local projects including Bronte Creek, and how you can help!

There is a new chapter of Trout Unlimited forming in Niagara, for those who live in the Niagara peninsula, we will have information on hand for meeting times and how you can get involved.

This year’s open house will be focused on the future of fly-fishing. We will have a fly-tying table for any-one who would like to try tying a fly, kids included and fly casting on the lawn to sharpen your skills or to try a fly-rod, weather permitting. Bring the kids along for some flyfishing activities.

Grindstone pro-staff, Guides and fly-tiers will be on hand to share their secret patterns with every-one. Some Manufacturers Reps will be here with the new product line-up for this year.

Learn the art of fly-tying

Fly tying presentation, Nov 27th 9:30 am-12:30 p.m.

Grindstone guide, Sean Patterson will be keeping with the Fall Steelhead theme and will be tying some of his late season Steelhead Nymphs and guide patterns for those cold water situations that require a slow presentation. Sean will be at the podium from 9:30. Until 12:30 p.m. sharing these patterns and the methods of fishing them for success. All are welcome to observe and ask questions.

In The Classroom Saturday November 27th 9:30am-2:30pm

Introduction to Fly-tying

Learn the art of fly-tying with Bill Spicer of Grindstone Angling

The introductory course is for those who are just starting, we will cover the basics teaching all aspects of fly-tying and the tools needed. You will begin tying simple patterns and learn the techniques of applying materials to the hook. By the end of the course you will have progressed to tying a dry fly for trout and will be ready to move into all levels of intermediate fly tying. Grindstone will supply all tools and materials needed for this class. Seating is limited. Please call or e-mail to hold for cost and to reserve your spot at the table.

Fall Steelhead Outings,

As I stated in the e-mail last week, we are now receiving the late fall precipitation and water levels have risen greatly in our Migratory Rivers. As we suspected, great runs of fish are running the rivers now. The smaller tributaries to the lakes are settling down a little with some coloring still in the waters but good for Steelhead fishing. The Larger waters are still high but gradually coming down to fishable condition. Next week will be a great week out with not a-lot of precipitation in the forecast and reasonable temperatures hovering between 4 and 6 degrees every day.

Saturday December 4th

Grindstone Anglings annual Christmas open House And Sale


-Fly-tying demonstrations

Flyfishing product Representatives and much More…..

Grindstone Angling,

24 Mill Street North, Waterdown, Ontario, Canada 905-689-0880

Fly Fishing River Report

Grindstone Angling Fly Fishing Report

The rain could not have come at a better time and the amount that fell was almost perfect if not on the light side. Having said that, some rivers fared better than others as the precipitation was widespread and varied but just about everywhere was positively impacted. If nothing else, the rain was consistent and just steady enough to have added a good water layer to the ground and that will pay off for the rivers with subsequent rain fall.

John’s rundown on local rivers.

Bighead– The Bighead got some water and some fish but having fished it on the 27th and seeing it first hand, my sense is it will drop fast. Look for the next rain to really turn it on.

Beaver– The Beaver fared about the same as the Bighead. A little spike with a fresh run of fish. It will hold its levels longer than the BH.

Bronte and Credit– My early report indicates that a good number of Browns came into both systems and I would be looking for good numbers of steelhead as well, as the salmon should be nearing the end of their run. Don’t expect them [the rivers] to hold their water for long.

Grand– The Grand has been fishing well all season and with the current spike in flows, I would seriously recommend taking advantage of the fine weather. The water through Brantford will be in great shape but the lower section around Caledonia may still be off colored. I do not have good data on that area, but history tells me that it will be stained.

Maitland– The Maitland did receive some rain but is still on the low side. It is currently fishing well.

Saugeen– The Saugeen may have been impacted the most by the rain and should be in the best shape after it settles down. It did not get too high as to make it dangerous but the lower river, from Paisley to South Hampton did go off color on Monday, making for poor visibility. It should be in good shape by Sunday and expect next week to be epic.

Sauble– no report as it looks like it didn’t take enough rain to have really affected it.

Water temperatures have been hovering around 50 degrees so the fish are active. Take advantage of this to fish the swing before the weather gets too cold. Another advantage to the higher than normal water temperature is the bass fishing has been uncommonly good. We have been successful with large Clouser minnows fished slowly on sink tips.

This is the time of year that smallies will start to feed heavily after getting used to the colder temps, prior to winter conditions.

This all may last just a few more days as we seem to be experiencing a late Indian summer so get out while the getting is good.

Tip of the week.

Most of our steelhead water is unrestricted in terms of bait usage so during slow periods, try a tandem rig (two fly rig) until you have established a pattern. To do this, simply clinch knot a piece of 12 inch mono to the turn on your original fly and add a second fly. Some common combinations that I use are stones, princes or buggers up front, with an egg trailer.

Happy hunting and fishing,

John Valk Grindstone Angling

Grindstone Angling Fall Fishing Report

News from Grindstone River Reports and News Oct 5th 2010

John Valks report

The rain events of the last ten days or so have really jump started the steelhead season and just about every watershed in southern Ontario is fishing well. From Georgian Bay to Lake Erie, you can expect good angling for the upcoming weeks on all of the larger systems like the Grand, Saugeen, Nottawasaga and Maitland. Smaller systems will still be reliant on hits of rain, but if timed properly, one should expect outstanding fishing as these rivers recede.

To highlight a few of the rivers;


-The Sauble came up just enough to have brought some fish in but it has dropped almost too low again. Watch for another good rain event to get this river really going.

-The Saugeen will have good numbers of steelhead and will only continue to get better. Flows will remain consistent and as long as it’s not too high, it will fish well.

-The Maitland will also have good numbers but will still rely on precipitation to some degree to maintain the flows. Watch the rainfall and try to time your trips accordingly.

-The Grand has had great flows over the last 10 days and a good number of fish came in. Her flows will remain consistent and will continue to fish well until the end of the season.

Georgian Bay

-The Nottawasaga will remain consistent until the end of the season

-The Bighead will fish well after spikes in water levels but be prepared for a surprise. If you know this river, it has changed greatly; in fact, more than I have seen in ten years. New runs have opened up and runs that held fish in the past will look very different. Have fun re-learning it.

-Bearing the crowds, the Beaver should remain consistent till the end.

Lake Ontario

Most of the Lake Ontario tribs fall into “spate” category but will continue to receive fish on the rain.

-The Credit, being a bit larger will hold fish in the deeper runs and pockets even on lower flows so be diligent and fish where you can’t see the bottom.

-Bronte, Bowmanville and Wilmot are more reliant on precipitation but will also continue to receive fish on the rain.

-I’ve been informed that Sixteen Mile Creek has an extended season for 2010. Check the regs to be sure. It will fish much like Bronte.

The Home Pool tip: Take advantage of higher water temperatures and try more traditional wet fly tactics (or swinging) but as the temperatures drop, slow things down. When the water temperature is above 45 degrees F, steelhead will be more apt to move to take a fly. Below 45 degrees F, look towards the more deliberate presentation of an indicator and nymph.

On September 23rd, John returned from the Bonaventure River on Quebec’s Gaspe Peninsula after hosting a group for four days of Atlantic salmon fishing. The trip was a brilliant success and everyone had a great time. For those unfamiliar with the Bonaventure, it is one of the top salmon rivers in the world and really should be on everyone’s bucket list of rivers that need to be fished. As one of the clearest salmon rivers on the planet, sight fishing is the norm and although the temperatures didn’t allow much of it on this trip, it is also considered one of the top dry fly rivers.

(Even in the 49 degree water, John Valk managed to coax one salmon to a bomber, proving even the blind squirrel gets the odd acorn. Way to go Valk!) Four anglers ended up landing 6 salmon and two grilse, with several large fish lost at the net and several more brief encounters.

Grindstone’s fall guiding season is in full swing but there is still some space available.

For information on local guiding, contact the shop at 905 689 0880

or email at [email protected]

Fly-tying and Fly-casting Saturdays in February 2010

Elliott Deighton, The Deer hair specialist will be teaching a class using deer hair and the appropriate materials for Muddlers,

Deer hair Sculpins and Minnow patterns for Trout and Bass. Elliott, a long time member of the Izaak Walton fly fishing club has been teaching and demonstrating his skills in fly tying for many years and has specialized in the use of deer hair for much of his creative work. For those of you who have some time at the vice and would love to learn the art of spinning deer hair, this class and Elliott’s instruction will be a rewarding experience. Grindstone will supply all materials and tools if required. Please call or e-mail the shop for cost information and to hold your spot in the class.

Upcoming Fly tying classes for Feb, 2010

February 13th. Mark this date on your Calendar. We will have a panel of fly tying experts at the shop to demonstrate methods and techniques answering all of your questions about fly-tying and any problems you are having applying material to a hook. Please come out with your notebook in hand.

February 20th– Introduction to fly-tying

February 27thJim Wenger, Tying saltwater flies. Jim will take you through the process of tying some great saltwater patterns for fly fishing in the tropics and fishing the east coast of North America. The patterns will include Crazy Charlies to the Tabory snake. A great pattern for Stripers on the east coast but also can be used for Barracuda and Permit.

If you are interested in any of these classes please e-mail or call the shop for more information

905-689-0880 or email [email protected]

Fly Casting Classes now offered at Grindstone Angling

Fly fishing instructions for beginners in fly fishing techniques and basics

Beginning on Saturday January 30th 2010, we have acquired an Indoor sports facility with ample room for indoor fly-casting instruction. Grindstone will offer classes through the balance of the winter months to teach and improve your skills as a fly angler by honing your fly casting technique. The classes will run from 2:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. each Saturday until April 3rd.

We will schedule a series of clinics through this time for all aspects of fly-casting. The clinics will include:

Introduction to fly casting: This class is based on the new angler or those who have never taken an instructional course from a professional instructor.  We will start with a brief breakdown of the components of a flyrod and reel, how and why everything matches and work together to give the angler a balanced outfit.  As well, understanding the mechanics of how the rod and line work to perform a well executed fly-cast. We will be performing a series of casts in this program, the pickup and lay down cast, false casting, mending fly line and the reach cast. Anglers will be ready to advance to the next skill levels of fly-casting once you have completed this program.

Casting Tune-ups: This Class is for the individual who is striving to become a better fly caster. The instructors are going to concentrate on your skill level and work with you and the mechanics of your cast to make you more efficient. You will have a better understanding of the proper load of the flyrod to execute a better cast with greater accuracy and also allowing you to achieve control with greater distance in your cast.

Casting for distance: This is for the angler who has some experience fly-casting and wants to achieve greater distance with control of the cast. We will work on the single and double haul. These casts maximize the load of the flyrod with increased line speed and timing to present a fly while achieving greater distance from your fly-line. This clinic is great for the angler who wants to cover a-lot of water and still maintain control of their cast for those wary fish that will often spook on a sloppy presentation. The instructor will work with the skill level of each angler advancing your level to achieve the required goal.

John Valk has been fly fishing and guiding for more than 30 years and can teach you anything from the beginner levels of casting to advanced stages of double hauling. He has the ability to work any casting situation to produce a positive outcome for his clients or students.  If you like destination fishing or travel abroad and are planning to go fly rod in hand, John’s expertise can help make your trip a success by covering some of the casting situations you will encounter. 

Fly-tying with Grindstone Angling


Learn how to tie trout flies.

Saturday November 21st at 9:30 a.m. John Hoffmann, Well known fly angler and tyer, will be at the podium demonstrating some new variations of the old traditional soft hackle patterns. John is using the tying methods for soft hackles to tie patterns to match the hatches of our local trout streams and rivers. He will also share with you the methods of fishing these flies for trout on our home waters.

Fly tying tips for beginners and experts.

All are welcome; Coffee is on at 9:00 a.m.

In The classroom

Saturday, November 21st 9:30-1:00

Rob Heal, Well known guide and fly-tyer with Grindstone Outfitters will be teaching a class, “Tying Flies for Steelhead”. The patterns for the class will consist of a collection of Rob’s favorite guide patterns that are proven to hook and land some of these great fish. The flies for the class will consist of Rob’s Simplified Egg pattern, a highly productive fly, a couple of his great Steelhead Nymph patterns, the “Well Healed Wet Fly” and Rob’s Steelhead Leach for those of you who love to swing flies.

If you prefer to tie on your own tools please bring them along or if you need tools we can set them up for you.

Grindstone will supply all the materials needed for this class. Seating is limited. Please call or e-mail the shop for cost information and to reserve your spot.


email [email protected]

Saturday November 28th, Bill Spicer will be teaching a class on tying the Hairwing salmon flies.

Learning the art of fly-tying at Grindstone Angling

Learn the art of fly-tying with Rob Heal of Grindstone Angling

The  fly-tying season starts on Saturday. We will do our best to offer as many classes and programs this season to cover all aspects of the art. If you have any requests for classes or demonstrations please ask.

Saturday March 6th 9:30 am

Tom CrawfordTom is a unique and innovative tyer. We rely on some of his flies to help us through the guiding season. Come this Saturday and be surprised at what you can learn about his flies and the techniques for tying and fishing them.

Introduction to Fly-tying

Saturday, March 6th 9:30-1:30

Learn the art of fly-tying with Rob Heal of Grindstone Angling                                                         fly tying 008 -web

The introductory course is for those who are just starting, we will cover the basics, teaching all aspects of fly-tying and the tools needed. You will begin tying simple patterns and learn the techniques of applying materials to the hook. By the end of the course you will have progressed to tying a dry fly for trout and will be ready to move into all levels of intermediate fly tying. Grindstone will supply all tools and materials needed for this class. Seating is limited. Please call or e-mail the shop for cost information and to reserve your spot.

905-689-0880 or email [email protected]


Rob Heal will be teaching a Steelhead fly tying class with the patterns you can use for the fall and spring season.

Saturday March 6th is our last Saturday for indoor fly-casting which we have dedicated for women only. This class will run from 2pm-4pm, hosted by Bill Spicer and we still have a few spots available. This is an excellent opportunity for beginners and experienced casters alike. Wednesday morning clinics (9:30am-noon) are running until the end of the month and we have some space available for the remaining sessions