General Info:

One of the most remote regions in Oregon, the Imnaha river runs 73 miles from high up in the Eagle Cap Wilderness until it joins with the Snake River a little down stream of Doug bar.  Amazingly, nearly all of this rugged river is accessible by trail and roads of varying condition.  The Imnaha canyon is spectacularly scenic in its entirety; from gin clear deep pools high up stream surrounded by mountains, to craggy canyon country surrounding the quaint community of Imnaha and continuing downstream.  Home to native Steelhead, Rainbow Trout, Bull-trout, summer Chinook, and plenty of rattle-snakes, elk, deer, big horn sheep, birds of prey, and black bear; a trip down the Imnaha river corridor might be the closest thing there is today to being part of the Lewis and Clark Expedition.  What ever fishing adventure you are after, the Imnaha is sure to offer an unforgettable experience .

The lower river is a wonderful little steel head fishery. The mid river can be a fair to good trout fishery.  The upper river near the FS campgrounds off Hwy 39 is a poor trout fishery because: native trout are not protected; the river is not stocked with trout; the river is glacial fed and does not have many nutrients; and campers tend to “fish-out“ this section of river.

Thanks to the Nature Conservancy and Forest Service, the lower river (the bottom 12 miles from Horse Creek to the Snake) has good public access.  There is also a good easement upstream (south) from town for the first three miles.  However, the mid river above and below town is mostly private and should not be trespassed.  Oregon laws are tough.  It is ILLEGAL to hunt or fish on private property without permission – it does not have to be fenced or posted.  However, recent information from the Oregon Attorney's Office suggests that if you can float a river in a boat, you can wade and fish it below the high water mark - if you don't trespass when accessing the river.

Some of our favorite Imnaha River 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  , Copper Swan sz 8 -12 , Bitch Creek sz 8 -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

Bass: Chubby Chernobyl , BH Green Woolly Bugger , Poppers , Muddler Minnow

Stream Flow Data:  Imnaha River at Imnaha

Current Weather: Forecast

Imnaha River Reports:

10/15/17:  ALERT.  New reports suggest the few fishers looking for steelhead on the lower Imnaha ARE hooking-up.  Several landed more than one.  Also some nice trout.  It's beautiful in the lower canyon - warm, fall colors, chuckers talking to you, and snow capped ridges.

10/10/17: No new reports from the Imnaha, but based on a recent report of steelhead moving up the Grande Ronde from the Snake, we assume their are fish in the lower river.

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:  The Imnaha fish seem to be moving upsteam somewhat fastere than the Grande Ronde steelhead - according to ODFW.  We might also expect a slightly higher percentage return this year - compared to the ten year average (40% ?).  Unfortunately I have no recent reports from the Imnaha, which means on one is fishing, or the fishing is slow, or the fishing is fair and nobody wants to report it.

 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.

9/25/17:  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.

The Imnaha hatchery steelhead seem to be moving upstream faster than last year - according to ODFW.  The Imanah may have a slightly higher percentage hatchery steelhead return than the other area rivers - perhaps 40%. of the

9/10/17:  A snorkler reported seeing lots of bass and two steelhead upstream near town.  Based on figures I am getting from ODFW it looks like a 35 - 45% steelhead return - better than we thought earlier.

8/16/17:  CFS 219 - higher than normal for this time of year.  Some fairly good trout fishing for small/med size trout and bull trout have been reported from town upstream 20 miles.  HOWEVER, you must ask permission from private land owners once you leave the 2.5 mile fishing easement just upstream/south of town. 

8/5/17:  CFS 267 - perhaps twice the normal for this time of year.  Water temps - I am told they aren't bad, but I need someone to use a thermometer.  One fisher reported catching a nice bass at Fence Creek, so it is probably getting warmer each day.  Fishing is only fair.  Like the Wallowa, the fish are small - most under 8".

7/25/17:  Still fairly high at 469 cfs - would normally be 200 - 300 by now.  Some trout are being caught near the town of Imnaha on grasshoppers, or hare's ears.  If you are good, and have some mega streamers, you can catch bull trout near the camp grounds near HWY 39.

7/17/17.  Down to 757 cfs, but will be better round 300 cfs.  Fish being caught on hoppers on the fishing easement upstream from town.

7/13/17.  Dropping like a rock (28% this past week).  Still relatively high at 950 cfs, small and medium size trout are taking hoppers in the slack water.  Will fish better at 500 cfs.

6/25/17:  Still high, but dropping daily despite the hot weather/snow melt.  Should be a good summer.

6/25/2017:  Too high to fish well.

6/15/2017:  Big snow pack - high flows.  No reports to date of decent fishing.