November 4, 2012 Grande Ronde Steelhead Report
After a good snow on the Wallowa and several days of heavy rain the river peaked at 4,000 cfs last Monday. The river has been dropping and clearing since. Fishing conditions had been tough with the fishing slow and the weather all over the place. After a week of tough conditions the steelhead on the Grande Ronde have begun to bite again. I just came off the river after a 4 day guided trip and each group I talked to whether they were gear guys or fly guys reported tough conditions since Monday . . . that is until today. Everyone I talked to today began catching fish after a week long hiatus. Conditions are finally good now. We have had a nice jump in flows, the river got high and dirty but is now dropping and clearing up. The floating is easier and the fishing better. Although the weather has been fantastic on the river over the past few days, go prepared for cold and wet weather. Take adequate rain gear and warm clothes because it is bound to get cold at night soon. If you have been waiting to do a trip don't wait any longer, call the store (541-437-1111) to arrange your raft rental or shuttle. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to inquire about a guided trip where you can have top of the line camping gear provided, flyrods that can cover the Grande Ronde, flies that catch fish provided, and a heated tent to sleep in at the end of the day.
October 22, 2012 Grande Ronde Steelhead Report
Flows are beginning to hold steady above 800 cfs which makes the rafting much easier and should be sending steelhead up the river in droves! Well, we will hope for the fish in droves part. Temperatures are dropping at night. Be prepared for cold weather on the river. Full trip report from last weekends float and pictures here.
October 15, 2012 Grande Ronde Steelhead Report
Just off the river from a weekend float and although the river was running in the low 600 cfs range when I left, the rain over the weekend made the rafting much easier. As of today the river peeked a little over 1,000 cfs. The fishing was a little slow over the weekend and I only landed a few steelhead over this past weekend's float. There is nothing for certain when it comes to steelhead fishing, but the jump in flows has the potential to really turn the fishing on this coming week. You have to be on the river to experience the good days of fishing so call the store (541-437-1111) to arrange your shuttle, rent a fishing frame raft, or book a guided trip. We are entering the prime fall steelhead season so plan now and don't miss out. The BLM has also lifted the fire ban, so don't forget your fire pan when you head down the river and please be sure to leave the campsites clean (pack out your ash and all waste) and have a great time on the river!
September 23, 2012 Grande Ronde Steelhead Report
With the river running at 550 cfs at the Troy guage, Lottie and I headed down the river to catch a few early steelhead this past weekend. First off, low water trips are not for everyone. Below 750 cfs the Grande Ronde is difficult due to the many exposed rocks and shallow gravel bars. You can make it down the river in a raft by packing light so your raft rides higher in the water and leaving the tubes and floor of the raft slightly underinflated. Underinflating the floor makes it easier for it to push up and slide over rocks near the surface. There will be spots that are simply too shallow and you have to get out and walk your raft through the shallow gravel bars.
Steelhead are in the river, we hooked 5 steelhead between Sheep Creek and Powwatka bridge. For full trip report and pictures click here.
If you are thinking about a guided trip, now is the time to get it planned. We can customize your trip from all inclusive trips where you simply show up and we take care of everything or if you like to do more of the camping/cooking chores yourself and simply need an experienced guide to lead you down in low water and show you the best spots and tactics to catch steelhead on a fly, we can do that too. Send me an email email@example.com for inquiries.
August 20, 2012 Grande Ronde and Wallowa River
The Grande Ronde as of this writing is running at 660 cfs at the Troy guage and the general whitewater season is over. With the majority of rafters done for the season we made a 3 day family trip this past weekend. Float time for the 39 miles between Minam and Powwatka bridge was around 16 hours behind the oars. The Wallowa was relatively skinny and we had to get out of the rafts to push them over shallow gravel bars and barely submerged rocks quite a few times between Minam and Sheep Creek Rapids (about 12 miles downstream from Minam). The floating was substantially easier from there downstream but excellent water reading skills and rowing is needed to identify the deepest channels and avoid the many rocks that are just below the surface, but high enough to hang a raft up. Low water trips are a lot more work behind the oars and are recommended only to those who are willing to pack light to keep their raft floating high and those willing to walk their rafts through a lot of shallows.
The benefits of a low water trip is having a river canyon nearly to yourselves. A bald eagle or golden eagle was almost constantly in sight as we floated and we spotted 7 black bears riverside as we floated by. Our boys fished from the rafts and they did quite well landing lots of rainbows on stimulators or a nymph dropper fly (copper johns, prince nymphs, etc.). Most fish were 12" or less, but Brenden fought a hog that ran 16"-20". This large fish exploded out of the river multiple times before finally breaking off after a hard fought battle.
If you can pack like a backpacker, an inflatable kayak makes an excellent choice for a river trip this time of year. If you pack like a backpacker, a light raft is a good option as well.
We are now booking guided fall steelhead trips. Call the store (541-437-1111) or email Grant at firstname.lastname@example.org for pricing and best trip dates. Some steelhead will show up as early as late September with a fair number of fish being found by mid October. As November aproaches more fish will be found each day, but nights are getting shorter and the weather colder. By early November nights can get downright cold so plan your fishing trips according to your own personal balance between fish numbers and tolerance for cold.
July 19, 2012 Grande Ronde and Wallowa River
We have recieved several good rain showers over the past week that have continued to bump flows up. Conditions could not get much better for a float right now, the flows are still holding out and the weather is great. The flows won't hold out much longer so get a trip in now before it is too late.
July 12, 2012 Grande Ronde and Wallowa River
The flows have been holding out better than we had hoped given the slow start to our snowpack this past winter. Now it looks like the Grande Ronde may stay above 1,000cfs through the end of July. Many boaters find 800-1,000 cfs to be the bottom of end of what they like to float. Below 800 cfs the first ten miles requires plenty of rock dodging until you get to Rondowa and get more water from the Grande Ronde. The good news is you have 2 weeks left to get in that easy floating raft trip if you haven't gotten one in already.
Here are some brief trip reports and pictures of some Grande Ronde trips from last summer and fall.
May 2012 Grande Ronde River
River flows have been great this past month with the river not getting too high and we have seen lots of sunshine and warm days.
March 2012: Packrafting and Kayaking Joseph Creek Trip Report
Click Here for trip report
4/13/2012 through 4/15/2012 Wallowa & Grande Ronde River Report
We took our kids on a 3 day raft trip to enjoy the end of the steelhead season and the beginning of the rafting season. Flows were right around 7,000 cfs and it was easy sailing from Minam to Powwatka Bridge. Easy floating flows will continue into July. I put the kids to work on the last ten miles and had them row us out to Powwatka Bridge. The sun was shining and Saturday it felt plain hot at 76 degrees. Wildlife viewing was good. The action began with an Osprey dropping out of the sky and catching a fish right in front of us. Good weather on Sunday was accompanied by more osprey sightings, bald eagles, two mountain goats on a bluff just above the river, as well as the usual elk, deer, and bighorn sheep.
3/8/2012 Wallowa & Grande Ronde Steelhead Report
Conditions on the river are good right now. If you haven't been out on the water, get out there. I took our kids rafting/camping/fishing a few weekends back and we enjoyed having the river to ourselves between Rondowa and Powwatka bridge. For a full trip report click here.
3/4/2012 NRS packrafts on the Wenaha River
If you like to hike in hard to reach places and float out, stay tuned for more information about our new NRS packrafts. For a first trip report click here.
2/20/2012 Wallowa & Grande Ronde Steelhead Report
We have recieved a report of good steelhead fishing from a group of five fly fisherman who came off the water today. They did a 4 day float from Minam to Powwatka bridge and reported playing 23 steelhead and landing 19.
2/1/2012 Wallowa & Grande Ronde Rivers
With better weather a freind and I decided to run down the Wallowa yesterday to check things out. We took a couple of inflatable kayaks, paddled to Rondowa, and then hoofed it out to Palmer Junction. The Wallowa river was running pretty clean and most of the fisherman we saw on the way either had a steelhead on the bank or had one on the line as we passed. We had a late start and with a hike out at the end, we only had time to fish one run. Two fish on the line but none landed for the one spot we fished. The Grande Ronde was a bit brown but will probably clear some as the flows drop. There are a lot of steelhead in the river and for those prepared for winter camping there is plenty of opportunity. For those who like to look at birds as well, I was able to get a couple decent pictures of a bald eagle as he flew from a tree. For a more detailed trip report click here.
11/16/2011 Grande Ronde Steelhead
Winter is coming and there has been almost no one floating between Minam and Troy over the past week. Fish are there in decent numbers now, but if you plan a trip this late in the year be prepared for winter camping. I hiked down yesterday and the fishing was decent. Up until last week steelhead were not showing a preference for any particular fly style or pattern, but with the cold water temperatures a Simple Egg dead drifted is about as effective as anything. Around this time each year the steelhead begin to show a preference for egg patterns. You don't need anything fancy, a glo-bug or simple egg will work great. You simply need to get your fly in front of the fish. Here is a link to a picture of one of the fish I caught yesterday on the Simple Egg.
11/2/2011 Grande Ronde Steelhead
Weather is turning colder but the fish are bighting. I just got off the river after a four day float. Nearly everywhere I stopped to fish there were steelhead willing to come to a fly including one spot that had five steelhead willing to come to the fly. Fishing was good all the way through, so there seems to be plenty of fish in the river. River was flowing right around 800 cfs and floating is still fairly easy if you pay attention. Temperatures are getting down right cold at night so be sure to bring proper equipment for overnight stays on the river.
10/23/2011 Grande Ronde Steelhead
What a beautiful time of year to be on the river. All kinds of red and yellow colors are beginning to appear in the canyon and steelhead are getter more abundant each week. The river is running at 848 cfs at the Troy guage today and still pretty easy to float. If the rower pays attention you can make it through without getting hung up anywhere. I spent Saturday and Sunday floating and fishing the 39 mile roadless stretch between Minam and Powwatka bridge and the steelhead fishing is picking up. Two days is not enough to get in a lot of fishing but I was able to land two steelhead and lose a few more. Everyone I talked to on the river seemed to be catching something although not big numbers from any one group. I spotted steelhead resting in several tailouts as I floated by on the raft. We are now getting into the prime fall season for our roadless section of water from Minam to Powwatka bridge.
10/17/2011 Grande Ronde Steelhead
I took our 3 boys for a quick overnight trip this past weekend. The river was up around 970 cfs which made for relatively easy floating. I did not get much time to search for steelhead because I was rowing, but the boys were quite succesful fishing large Stimulators and Hedge Hog (large stonelfy/october caddis fly pattern). The boys had several 16" plus trout on and even landed a few of the bigger ones. I did manage to land a few nice rainbows caught on streamers. We talked to a group of three who had just come off the river and they had caught some steelhead. Each day should bring more steelhead up the river. For those who like to look at pictures, here are some from this year.
9/29/2011 Grande Ronde Steelhead
Lottie and I floated from Minam to Powwatka bridge this past weekend. The flow was down to 600 cfs. We took a 13 foot raft and the floating wasn't too bad, but had to get out here and there to go over shallow gravel bars. Time was limited so we did not have as much time to fish as I would have liked, but found a couple of steelhead below Sheep Creek that were willing to take a fly. Rainbow fishing was decent where we stopped and fished and October Caddis numbers are increasing. I skated a dry fly while Lottie rowed and was kept entertained by the rainbows. There are some big native rainbows in the Grande Ronde. Most often I caught them on a streamer out of deeper runs.
The weather forecast is calling for rain of 1-2 inches next week which should push fish up the river and push a raft down the river much better. If the rain comes, fishing and floating should improve significantly.
9/20/2011 Grande Ronde Steelhead
I took our three boys fly fishing on the Grande Ronde last weekend and they did quite well catching 8"-16" rainbows on copper johns and rabbit hair/marabou streamers. I caught a wild steelhead on an olive woolly bugger at Rondowa. It was certainly an early fish, but it was fresh and full of fight blowing up out of the water multiple times, taking me into my backing and where there is one there is usually another.
We have multiple 13' & 14' rafts setup with fishing frames for those that want to fish as another rows down the river, stopping to work the best spots over more methodically. As October approaches more and more steelhead will show up in our section of the Ronde between Minam and Powwatka bridge. Call the store number to get more information or to book a raft so you can enjoy fishing for steelhead in an unpressured setting with plenty of elbow room.
8/25/2011 Grande Ronde and Wallowa River
Lottie just got off the river after a 3 day trip with some of her family. The Troy guage was reading 700 cfs. At this flow expect to spend 15 hours or more behind the oars to make make the 39 miles from Minam to Powwatka bridge. There are very few people floating the river now due to the low flows. If you decide to take a raft try to pack light (2 people per raft recommended) and realize you will have to get out to push the rafts off/over gravel bars.
As we enter the slow summer season we will not have someone at the Minam Store everyday so please call ahead if you need a shuttle or want to arrange a kayak or raft rental.
7/20/2011 Grande Ronde and Wallowa River
Grande Ronde is running a little over 3,000 cfs at the Troy guage and is at a great flow for enjoyable floating and good fishing finally. Good easy floating should continue on into August this year so book a raft now before they are all gone.
For Fisherman we have fishing frame setups for day use on the Wallowa or overnight use on the Grande Ronde. The Joseph Fly Shoppe in Joseph Oregon has a great selection of flies and provides a nice fishing report on area rivers that is usually updated weekly to keep you up on the latest hot flies. Winding Waters out of Joseph offers daily or multi-day guided fishing trips for those who want a guide service.
7/18/2011 Kayaking the Wenaha River Trip Report
Click Here for trip report
7/8/2011 Grande Ronde and Wallowa River
The Grande Ronde is running at 6,080 cfs at the Troy guage today. The flow predictions were showing one last big blowout of water, but we have only seen a slow steady decrease in flows. Water and weather conditions have been great for floating. The Wallowa is still running a bit brown for those who like to fish. Good news is that the snowpack this year should make for good floating conditions well into August.
6/26/2011 Rafting Grande Ronde from Elgin to Palmer Junction Trip Report
6/19/2011 Kayaking Joseph Creek Trip Report
5/31/2011 Grande Ronde and Wallowa River
The Grande Ronde is running at 9,800 cfs at the Troy guage today. The BLM removed the wood that was blocking the middle of the Wallowa River at Rondowa.
Although the weather forecasts have shown cloudy and rainy weather, it has been mostly sunny weather with a short rain in the evenings. Many people were out enjoying the river river for the Memorial day weekend.
5/20/2011 Grande Ronde and Wallowa River
The Grande Ronde is running about 12,000 cfs at the Troy guage today. We had a group of 4 rafts with beginner rafters come off the river today. They had no real problems running the river at these higher flows and took advantage of two days of nearly complete sunshine. More sunshine is in the forecast mixed with the cloudy days.
The group did however report some new wood in the Wallowa at Rondowa. The old bridge pilings (not the railroad bridge) has collected wood mid river. The wood is clearly visible and the river is slower at this point so there is no problem navigating river right or left to avoid the wood.
4/11/2011 Kayaking the Powder River trip report
3/27/2011 Grande Ronde River
River flows still reading around 5,000 cfs at the Troy gauge. Clarity dropped some on the Wallowa River but steelhead fishing continues to be good. Grande Ronde is dirty and mostly unfishable.
3/20/2011 Grande Ronde River
Spring run off is beginning and the area rivers are starting to rise. With the flows at 5,000 cfs it takes roughly 7 hours to float from the store to Powwatka bridge.
Wallowa was still pretty clear but the Grande Ronde was dirty. Fisherman are catching steelhead on the Wallowa.