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Fish Ladder & Fishing

Fish Ladder Location 

Highway 26 (between Mill Street and Bruce Street), Thornbury, ON

This passive fishway consists of an open channel with a relatively natural appearance that allows for excellent fish viewing opportunities. Rainbow trout and chinook salmon are readily visible as they swim or jump over each of the steps and pass up through the pools of the main portion of the fishway. The fishway retains the capability for fish capture, sampling and automatic counting to help monitor the health of fish populations. While allowing better fish passage, the fishway has been designed to exclude lamprey from entering the Beaver River watershed.

Fish passage to suitable spawning grounds is critical to the survival of rainbow trout and chinook salmon. The location of physical barriers, such as dams, may prevent the upstream movement of adult fish to spawning areas. The fishway provides migrating salmon and rainbow trout with access to several kilometers of cold water streams in the Beaver River watershed. Upstream, the migrating trout and salmon pass through three other fishways located at the Clendenan and Slabtown Dams. Easier access to the spawning areas results in greater numbers of rainbow trout and chinook salmon in southern Georgian Bay. This allows increased opportunities for sports fishing and viewing.

The fishway is owned and operated by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) Owen Sound field office. For more information about the fish ladder, please contact MNRF Staff directly at 519-376-3860 or visit the field office located at 1450 7th Avenue East in Owen Sound

The fishway is active with fish migration in the Spring and the Fall. From late August to late October, adult spawning Chinook Salmon begin showing up in the area rivers. They are aggressive jumpers and provide exciting viewing as they migrate up stream and make their way up the fishway to find suitable areas in gravel river beds. The adult Chinook die after they have spawned. After the eggs hatch the young salmon return to the lake the following spring.

The exact time varies but usually during April, watch for Rainbow Trout making their way up the fishway. Adults enter the streams in early spring to spawn in clean, rapid water.

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry has installed an underwater camera and sensor at the fishway to track the type and number of fish, along with data on the peak times of fish passage through the fishway.

You can watch live streamed video of fish travelling through the fishway by visiting the Biotactic website.

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry has installed an underwater camera and sensor at the fishway to track the type and number of fish, along with data on the peak times of fish passage through the fishway.

You can receive 'real time' and archived information about the number and type of fish travelling through the fishway by visiting the Biotactic website.

Fishing

General Information

The Town has some excellent fishing opportunities ranging from small streams and rivers to the expanse of Georgian Bay. For more information, please contact the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry at 519-376-3860 or visit the field office located at 1450 7th Avenue East in Owen Sound.

Fishing Licences

In order to obtain a Fishing Licence you first need to get an Outdoors Card. Both are available locally from Gyles Sales & Marine in Thornbury. 

Fish Cleaning Station

An indoor fish cleaning station is located at the Thornbury Harbour (41 Bruce Street North, Thornbury) and is available for public use. In order to protect the disposal equipment from vandalism, access to the facility is controlled by key access. Keys are available from the Harbour Office at a cost of $10.00 deposit each (including HST).

Boat Launch Ramp

A seasonal boat launch ramp is located at the Thornbury Harbour (41 Bruce Street North, Thornbury) and is available for public use. Launch ramp passes are available for purchase from the Harbour Office.

Day Pass $10.00
Seasonal Pass $60.00

Prices include HST