The Grande Ronde River known locally as "the Ronde", simply put, is an amazing river. We'd argue that an October float trip from Minam to Troy to fish for bows' and Steelhead should be on any serious anglers bucket list. It can offer stellar trout fishing in early summer when the rafts are thick and the water is cool, turns into a good small mouth fishery below Troy later in the hot summer months, and transforms once again into a regional magnet for steelheaders beginning in early October and holding strong through the winter. But for all it's fabled glory and picturesque Wild and Scenic River miles, its remains an adventure to get to. Close to no where, and far from from everywhere else, we are lucky to call the Ronde our local steelhead water.
Some of our favorite Grande Ronde Fly Patterns :
Dries: Kaufman Stimulator sz. 8 -14 , Parachute Adams sz. 10- 16 , Purple Haze sz 10 -16, Foamulator sz. 6-12 , Caddis sz 8-16, Hoppers sz 6 - 12 , Yellow Sallies sz. 12 - 16
Nymphs: Princes sz. 6 - 14, Rubber Leg Squirrel sz. 8 - 14, Copper John sz. 12 - 18 , Lightning Bug sz. 14 - 18, Bead Head Hare's Ear sz 8 - 16, Wooly Bugger sz. 8 - 12, Kaufman Stone Nymph sz. 6 -12
Streamers: BH Rubber Leg Black or Olive Woolly Bugger , Sculpin , Muddler Minnows , Leeches
Steelhead: Black and Purple Hobo Spey , Purple Peril , Summer Run , Green Butt Skunk , Gold BH Black Woolly Bugger , Egg Sucking Crystal Leech , Copper Swan , BH Prince , Jumbo John , Egg Patterns , BH Rubber Leg Red Squirrel , Possie Bugger, Starlight Leech, "Magneto" Stone
Bass: Chubby Chernobyl , BH Green Wooly Bugger , Poppers , Muddler Minnow
Stream flow data:
Grande Ronde River Reports:
11/13/17: It's been my pleasure ---- but this is our last report until next summer. The ODFW creel checker on the Oregon section of the GR showed 67 fish caught (5.0 hrs/fish) for Nov 2-5, and 19 fish (11.6 hrs/fish) for Nov 11, 12). Pretty good numbers kids! Remember, the Wallowa and Grand Ronde below Rondowa are now open year round for trout fishing. Have a good winter - will see you where the sun shines.
10/28/17: Maybe the conditions are "ideal" (as reported a few days ago) but steelhead fishing remains slow this week.
10/26/17: River peaked at 1800 cfs a couple of days ago. Now 1300 cfs and dropping. Ideal.
10/23/17: Rain and snow have the GR on the rise today (1500 cfs). This bump should move fish upstream. Watch for flows to peak (today?), then expect some great fishing this week. A guide below Bogan's hooked 10 last week - with plugs. ODFW increased the limit of hatchery steelhead from 1 to 2 fish - suggesting their optimism.
10/16/17: ODFW Creel Checker Report: Oregon 16.6hrs/fish; Wash. 19.2hrs/fish.
10/15/17: More steelhead being caught each day now. What beautiful weather to be fishing the lower canyon.
10/10/17: Steelhead are starting to move up from the Snake. ODFW creel checkers on the Grande Ronde for the period 10/7 - 10/8: Ore - 3 fish for avg 31.91 hrs/fish; Wash - 13 fish for avg of 19.88 hrs/fish.
10/01/17: ODFW creel checkers on the Grande Ronde reported zero steelhead checked for period of 9/25 to 10/1.
9/26/17: ALERT. ODFW just released new steelhead estimates for Oregon hatchery fish returns to the Grande Ronde (Wallowa) and Imnaha Rivers - 92% OF 2016.
ODFW: "Current estimate for Grande Ronde and Imnaha stocks are 9,485 at Bonneville Dam, about 92% of last year's run."
"Steelhead are beginning to move upstream; we estimatewe estimated over 1,700 steelhead crossed McNary Dam and 1,100 passed over Lower Granite this week."
Still .... no steelhead reported caught by creel checker on GR last week, and no "detections" on the Imnaha pit tag counters.
9/25/17: Steelhead dam counts are way behind this year: Bonneville 88,220 ytd (9/18) vs 139,500 in 2016 vs 205,880 for 5 yr avg; Lower Granite 3,368 ytd (9/18) vs 15,374 in 2016 vs 20,510 for 5 yr avg.
Daily counts have picked up to 300 + a day over Lower Granite. Recent rains have doubled the Ronde cfs from 480 to 900 may help move fish.
FOR NOW the daily keep limit is one hatchery steelhead - BUT ODFW says that is subject to review as the season progresses.
9/10/17: A friend caught a steelhead near Troy last week. Sure the return will be down from the ten year average, but what the hay, a 35% return with nobody fishing beats a crowded river anyday. Stay tuned.
8/16/17: 610 CFS (up 30 CFS in the last few days due to recent rains). Still a very tough level to float in a raft. However, you might check with the raft rental business at Minam - the Minam Store - for their opinion. All the same the Grand Ronde is not a very good trout fishery this time of year due to high water temps.
8/5/17: 691 CFS - getting low to float, and too warm for decent trout fishing.
7/17/17: 1600 cfs - perfect level to float from Minam to Troy. Some big fish being caught on mega streamers and big stone flies. Take some small dries - mayflies and caddis, for the back-eddies.
7/13/17: Dropping like a rock (29% last week). Still relatively high at 2350 cfs, its a perfect level to float, camp, and pick up some large trout on heavy nymphs or streamers in the eddies, slack water, and along cliff faces.
6/25/2017; Just had a good report from a group of better than average flyfishers who floated Minam to Troy a week ago. The water was high and colored. Stripping big weighted mudder minows or using large sparkle minnow patterns under strike indicators they caught large trout in the slack water areas. Also a few on salmon fly dries. BUT ... STILL VERY HIGH - DIFFICULT.
6/15/2017: Big snow pack, so the GR is still very high. The local guides are starting to float Minam to Troy, so I will pass on any reports.