From Caledonia to Cayuga, explore where to Fish, Stay and Eat
By Tara Shannon
The early bird catches the worm as the saying goes. Turns out the same can be said for those who fish, like my husband who has us up good and early to get going. I’m slightly less than enthusiastic but I’m hoping some good strong coffee will help.
My husband has been studying the Haldimand County Fishing Spots Publication for weeks now. Enough is enough, I say, so I booked us into a local B&B for a night. A short escape nearby will be a great way to explore the area, get some fishing in and do something fun. It’s interesting how we can live in a place for so long, thinking we know all the ins and outs of it but still have so much to discover.
Haldimand County has many lovely spots to fish from Lake Erie to several locations along the Grand River. We chose to focus on the area between Caledonia and Cayuga. While I like to fish, I equally like communing with nature by taking a walk or reading a book among the trees. I won’t lie, I also like to check out small towns, their local history and food scene. So, while my husband is focused on the fishing aspect of our little getaway, I’m rounding things out by making sure we know what to see and where to
eat before laying our heads down for the night. Our first stop is York Park right at the corner of River Road and Front Street. When we arrive there’s only one other fisherman on scene, quietly and quite beautifully actually, fly fishing in the river. I watch him for a while as my husband sets up our gear in just the right spot (for him, lol) on the banks of the river.
We’re practicing catch and release today and have some luck catching a few carp but not near as much luck as the fly fisherman. My husband stops him to chat on his way out and he tells us that the trick to it is patience and not overthinking. Fly fishing looks like a combination of yoga (or ballet), meditation and fishing to me; just the kind of thing my husband and I can agree to try together, on our next trip after a bit more research and with the proper gear.
From York we head to Cayuga where we stop in at The Carolinian Cafe where we order lunch and coffee. I can’t wait to dive into The McSorley, a turkey sandwich made on sourdough bread with roasted red peppers, greens, mayo, mustard, and cheddar cheese. Yum! They had me at sourdough bread to be fair. Before we eat though, we make our way to the Grand River Vista Trail and find a bench right in the middle of the bridge facing upriver toward Caledonia. Between the sandwich, the view, and my latte, I’m not sure which is more beautiful.
With our bellies happy and full it’s time to try our hand at more fishing, this time at the Bob Baigent Memorial Park, walking distance from Cayuga’s quaint downtown. The water here is deeper than at York making it a great spot to launch a boat if you have one. And because it’s deeper we have great luck catching catfish and even a couple of pike. I must admit, having a big fish on the line, well any fish really, is a thrill.
My husband is ready to head over there now but I distract him with some of the great things I’ve heard about the menu over at The Argyle Street Grill, where we have reservations for dinner.
The Grill, as locals call it, has a relaxed but upscale feel and its chef is always looking to work with local ingredients to create new and tasty dishes for the restaurant. Tonight, we get started with Lobster & Crab Dip and a couple of pints by Haldimand’s own, Concession Road Brewing. Then, after all that fishing today, I just had to order the fish and chips and when it comes, it was everything I’d hoped it would be. A crispy deep-fried beer-battered outside and a flaky and delicious inside. It’s what dreams are made of and there’s so much! I can’t eat it all, so I get a doggy bag to go. My husband on the other hand probably would have licked his plate clean if I’d let him. He went with the Two-Way Poutine which consists of pulled chicken and shaved sirloin, topped with white cheddar cheese curds and green onion. All I have to say is that it was a good thing we walked over.
Between the adventures of the day and the comfortable bed and surroundings, sleep came easy to us both. Before we knew it, the alarm was waking us up to get going again.
Coffee in one hand and my reel in another, I find myself once more ready to fish. This time there are several other people casting their lines from either side of the Grand River. It’s a sight to see at Kinsmen Park between the people watching, views of the Old Mill, the Caledonia Bridge and the downtown.
Luckily my husband has his head a bit more in the game than I do. No sooner had I looked over to see someone reeling in their catch than my husband yelled out, “Fish on!” After a bit of a fight, he pulled in a lovely Rainbow Trout. It was a keeper and I think he might be too.
***And please note: Before taking part in any activity near, on, or in water, make sure you and your family are prepared., Visit Canada.ca for water safety facts and tips., Visit Ontario.ca for information pertaining to fishing licenses and Zone 16 fishing regulations.
Haldimand County gratefully acknowledges the support of FedDev Ontario for tourism businesses in Ontario’s Southwest.