Fly Fishing On The Grande Ronde River
The Grande Ronde River is a 200 mile long river that
flows from the Blue Mountains to the Snake River. It is
one of Oregon's better steelhead rivers. Forty-four miles
of it is designated Wild and Scenic. Fly fishing the
Grande Ronde River can be done in busy areas of the
stream, or in total seclusion.
Much of the Grande Ronde River flows through very
remote country where long sections of it are
inaccessible except by a drift boat or similar vessel.
There are floats trips available that can range for up to
five days in the wilderness section of the stream that
runs from Minam on the Wallowa River downstream to
The best of the steelhead fishing takes place from the
Wallowa River confluence, a tributary, that's a fine
steelhead river itself, downstream to the Grande
Ronde's confluence with the Snake River in Washington.
The lower section from Troy to the Snake River is
accessible by road. It is a very popular stretch of the
river that can be crowded during the fall run of
steelhead. Parts of the river are accessible from both
Oregon and Washington.
The steelhead average about 4 or 5 pounds. The upper
section of the Grande Ronde has a good population of
wild rainbow trout. They probably average about 12
inches but go up to 18. In addition there are some Bull
Trout, which of course, should be immediately released
Steelhead begin entering the river from the last part of
January through Febuary. These fish spawn during the
months of March through May mostly in the tributaries of
the Grande Ronde - the Wenaha River, Wallowa River
and Minam River.
The steelhead of the Grande Ronde gets serious
steelhead angler's attention during the fall. By October,
the Ronde's sea-run rainbow have negotiated the
Columbia and the Snake to begin their run up to their
home waters. Both wild and hatchery steelhead will take
a dry fly as well as any in the nation.
The Grande Ronde's fish, scenic beauty, and
remoteness makes a great setting for a steelhead or
rainbow trout fishing trip. Most anglers fishing from a
drift boat stop and anchor to get out and wade where
steelhead are known to hold.
There are a total of three float trips possible from
Boggans. Two are between Boggans and the
Oregon/Washington state line and the other from
Boggans to Schumacher. Each one is considered a
day's float and range from six to eleven miles in length.
The season for steelhead runs from September 1
through April 15.
Fly fishing the Grande Ronde for rainbow trout is best
from June to the middle of September.
Steelhead fishing can be great during the fall season
from about mid October through November.
Copyright 2019 James Marsh
|Type of Stream
Rainbow Trout (wild)
Bull Trout (native)
Year-round but species specific
Easy to very remote
Yes, but species specific. Check the
USGS Real-time Stream Level:
State of Oregon
National Weather Service
Fly Fishing Gear, Tackle and
Free Shipping Continental U. S.
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Photo Courtesy Steven Lamb
Recommended Tackle & Gear
4, 5 or 6 weight
Dry fly: 9 ft., 5 or 6X Nymphing: 71/2 ft.,
3 or 4X, Streamers 0-2X
Dry fly: 5 or 6X, Nymphing: 3 or 4X,
Best Fly Rods:
Perfect Fly Supreme Four, Superb Five
or Ultimate Six
For 4/5/6 fly line
Fly Floatants and Misc Items:
Floatants, KISS Strike Indicators
Tools & Accessories:
Nippers, forceps, retractors, etc.
Headlines: Finally, steelhead are
being caught in good numbers.
The weather and late run has
more fish in the river and more
headed to the hatchery are being
caught. Swinging, nymphs and
eggs are working. Keep track of
the latest information by clicking
the above link to our weekly
updated Grande Ronde River
10/17/15 Anglers have been catching some very nice rainbows. Good conditions should
continue for the next week. More steelhead have come into the river but not in high numbers.
Some are being caught but again, it could be and will be better later this month. Smallmouth
bass fishing has been and still is excellent. Green Sedges and Spotted Sedges, both
caddisflies, are hatching. October Caddis, or Fall Caddis, have started hatching as well.
10/24/15 Our customers are catching a few steelhead but the numbers of them in the river is
still low. Rain is needed to bring in more fish and we may well get it this coming week. There is
a chance of rain from Monday through Thursday. We have a new Smallmouth Bass Website
that you should check out. Smallmouth fishing on the Grande Ronde is good right now.
11/07/15 Water levels have been up and a lot more steelhead are in the river. Some are being
caught. There is more rain on the way but when things setting, the steelhead fishing should be
very good. They are being caught on egg flies and swinging flies. The higher levels have
slowed the smallmouth action but will be good again when the levels subside.
12/12/15 Our customers are catching lots of steelhead. Conditions are very good. Egg flies,
swinging and nymphing methods of fishing are all working. Be sure you check out the Perfect
Fly Steelhead Flies. We have lots of patterns that you cannot get anywhere else.
12/17/15 As you probably know, the stream levels have been very high during most of the past
two weeks. The result of that is there are a lot more steelhead in the river. Our customers are
reporting that they are again catching some in the Troy area. The water is still a little high and
there is some snow in the forecast.
12/26/16 Anglers were catching fish until the last cold front. There is still a lot of slush ice in
the river and around the banks. You can catch them on nymphs like the Perfect fly Giant Black
stonefly and the Green sedge steelhead larva fly but they have to be present slowly, in holes
out of the main current. Fish are not scattered above Service Creek as well.
01/11/16 At Troy, the flows aree about 2,200 cfs and normal is about 1,600 cfs, meaning it is
high but in good shape. The water temperature is up some and the ice gone for the most part.
The "catching" could be good now as long as you fish the slack current such as the tailouts of
pools. Nymphing is probably the best bet now, but swinging should also be decent.
02/18/16 Steelhead were being caught in good numbers, mostly on nymphs, due to the cold
water. The weather and water temperature is up some and that really helped but it is not
getting high. There isn't a lot of rain in the forecast, so it should begin to fall back down soon.
02/27/15 The stream has been high but back down to a normal level with anglers catching
steelhead. Both swinging and nymphs are catching fish. The water is clear but rain is in the
forecast and the levels will likely change in the near future. Light shades of our Perfect Fly
Spey Flies are catching the majority for our customers.
03/05/16 The river is far too high to fish right now. There is a lot more rain in the forecast and
we thinki it will be a few days before you will be able to be successful on the river. There are a
lot of steelhead in the river and our Spey Flies and Streamer steelhead flies will be the first
ones to use when the water fall back down.
03/12/16 Same story, second verse. The river is very high, blown out, in other words. There is
rain in the forecast every day for this coming week, so don't look for much better conditions to
take place anytime soon.
03/26/16 We hate giving lousy fishing reports, but the Grande Ronde is still too high to fish. At
Troy, the flows are at 5,980 cfs and need to be around 4200 cfs at the most to provide good
fly fishing conditions.
04/07/16 The river is still flowing very high at 5960 cfs. It needs to come down to about 4,000
to get into decent shape to catch fish.
05/05/16 The steelhead is over but trout are being caught in good numbers. The flows below
Troy have been good enough recently and Sculpin streamers, like our White Belly and Brown
sculpin, have caught some nice rainbows. Little BWOs and little Black caddis are the only
hatches taking place there now
05/26/16 The discharges are low and stream levels low at Troy. Anglers are catching some
nice rainbows. The outlook is good and the action should continue. There is some rain
forecast, so be sure to watch the stream levels.
06/11/16 There have been some trout caught. There have been some water clarity problems
due rain but it has mostly been clear. Streamers have been working the best. There are some
smallmouth being caught on streams as well. The stream is down low enough for that to be
07/12/16 The stream levels have been on the low side, but that is normal at this time of the
year. Smallmouth bass fishing has been very good the past two weeks and should continue to
be good. They are being caught on Stealth Bombers, streamers, popping bugs and a number
of other types of flies.
07/30/16 The lower Grande Ronde continues to provide excellent smallmouth bass fishing. We
receive good reports about every week. They are taking Stealth bombers, our Prefect fly
Crayfish patterns, especially those with dumbbell eyes and top water popping bugs.
08/06/16 Smallmouth bass fishing continues to be very good. Fish popping bugs during the
early hours and late in the day. Fish our Perfect Fly Crayfish patterns during the day. The
weather is going to be a little cooler this coming week. The stream levels are very low.
08/27/16 The weather continues to be very hot as everyone probably knows. The stream
levels remain low and smallmouth bass fishing continues to be very good. Fish early mornings
and the last two or three hours of the day for the best results. Stealth Bombers, Baby Popping
Frogs, Crayfish shallow and deep running will catch plenty of them.
09/03/16 Smallmouth bass fishing continues to be very good. Our customers are catching
them on the surface on Baby Popping Frogs and during the day on our crayfish patterns. It is
still a little too early for any steelhead to come into the river but it won't be long. The steelhead
season is open.
10/08/16 Conditions are good and steelhead are being caught. Actually, trout fishing is still
good and so is smallmouth bass. Most are keying in on the steelhead. It should continue to get
10/22/16 We received some very good reports from the past week. With all the rain we
expected the levels to be too high bu they haven't been so far. Currently is it 1190 cfs, which is
a little high but good. Now is the time to fish the river.
10/29/16 There were a few more steelhead caught this past week but the higher water levels
seemed to have slowed the action. Most anglers are swinging but they tried about everything
the last part of the week. The flows are at 1380 cfs.
11/12/16 The stream levels are near normal levels and our customers are catching good
numbers of steelhead. Conditions couldn't be much better at this time of the year. Three to six
fish per day is common right now. You better get it while the gettin's good.
11/19/16 There are a lot of two salt steelhead being caught by our customers. Swinging,
nymphing and egg flies are working. The numbers are not quite as good as last year but up
11/26/16 We are still getting some good reports. The stream levels remain steady. Swinging
and nymphing both work, but nymphs still to be catching more steelhead. Now is the time to be
fishing the river.
12/03/16 Steelhead are still being caught in good numbers. Steeelhead nymphs seem to be
out producing swinging streamers or egg flies.
12/10/16 Stream levels at Troy are near normal. There are lots of steelhead being caught.
Now is the time to be there. Swinging, nymphing and egg flies are working. Many of the
steelhead are two-salt fish, meaning they are larger than the average size steelhead.
12/24/16 There are still good numbers of steelhead in the river but they are cold and almost
lethargic. There is lots of ice and snow on the banks and ice in the river. It is just too cold to
fish. IYou should wait for it to warm up a little.
12/31/16 The water is just to cold to catch fish at this time. It is near the freezing mark with lots
of slush ice. There are plenty steelhead in the water but very slugish. The weather this coming
week isn't expected to exceed freezing, so this is unlikely to change.
01/07/17 Conditions remain about the same with lots of ice in the water. You cannot fish it by b
boat due to the ice. We suggest you look for another location at the is time.
01/14/17 We are not guides, pushing for customers. The river is still too cold to fish. There is a
lot of ice in the water and you would be much better off choosing another destination. There is
a chance the warmer weather forecast later next week will help the situation.
01/21/17 Same story second verse. There is too much ice in the river to safely maneuver it.
You will have to watch the weather and this report and fish when it gets a little warmer. It
doesn't need to increase much, just a little to get rid of the ice.
01/28/17 The ice is beginning to break up and clear some but it is still dangerous. There are
plenty of steelhead in the water for those who want to give it a shop, but we recommend
waiting a little longer. We don't have any reports of catches.
02/04/17 There is still far too much ice for us to recommend fishing to anyone at this time. We
keep hearing reports of fish caught but we think that is teasing from guides looking for
bookings. Fish are being caught from shelf ice and that is dangerous.
02/11/17 The river is blown out and muddy. Watch the levels and fish when it gets down low
enough. Perfect Fly Steelhead streamer and Spey flies should work best when it is still high.
The weather is warmer and maybe most of the ice will be gone.
02/18/17 Stream levels are still very high and there is more rain on the way. There are
chances of rain everyday for the coming week. You will just have to watch the levels and fish
when they drop.
02/25/17 The stream levels are high but falling fast. We don't think it will be long until you can
fish. Swinging flies should be the best strategy when it first starts getting low enough to fish
03/17/17 The river is blown out and there is a lot more rain in the forecast. You will just have to
watch the stream levels but it is likely to take a few days to get back down.
04/01/17 The river is still flowing to high but is falling. The flows are around 12,900 cfs and to
be in idea conditions, should be in the 5,000 to 6,000 range.
04/15/17 The river is still flowing high, too high to wade anywhere but not to high for a large
drift boat. We haven't received any reports from anyone fishing this past two week, so if you
do, let us hear from you.
04/22/17 The smallmouth bass fishing and trout fishing would be great if the stream levels
were down, but they are twice as high as normal and not in shape to fish.
05/13/17 Smalllmouth bass and trout fishing would be great if the stream levels were down but
they are twice the normal flows and the water is dingy to muddy.
05/20/17 The discharges and stream levels are finally down and in good shape and our
customers are reporting some good catches of smallmouth bass in the lower river. Trout
fishing should be getting good in the upper sections but so far, we haven't received any
06/03/17 The discharges from Troy are normal for this time of the year. We received more
good reports from anglers and one customer catching lots of smallmouth. We didn't get any
reports but trout fishing the upper river should also be good.
06/17/17 The river is in good shape with good stream levels and clear water. Smallmouth bass
are being caught in the lower river and trout fishing should be good in the upper sections. We
didn't receive any reports from the past week.
07/01/17 The discharges and stream levels have been good for wading at times and small
boats. There are lots of smallmouth bass being caught and a few trout in the upper sections of
07/20/17 The stream levels are in good shape and lots of smallmouth bass are being caught.
Fish the lower end of the river.
08/05/17 We didn't receive any reports from anyone fishing this past week. We assume that
was due to the heat. Smallmouth bass fishing should be very good.
08/12/17 The stream levels are running lower than normal and the water is a little warmer than
it should be. Smallmoutn bass fishing is very good. We received two good reports this past
08/19/17 The river is still low and warm but the smallmouth bass love it that way. Fish Perfect
fly bass poppers during the early mornings and late in the day, and our Crayfish patterns
during the day.
08/31/17 Another hot week is ahead and water that is still too warm for good trout fishing
opportunity. Fish the lower river for smallmouth bass. We had two good reports from
customers this past week. Crayfish, both shallow and deep versions with lead eyes, work
during the day and popper early and late in the day.
09/16/17 We are still getting some good reports from customers fishing for smallmouth bass.
The river is low and only small boats should be used. The steelhead season is open but the
fish are not yet arriving. They should later this month.
09/23/17 Stream levels are up to near normal levels for this time of the year, and we received
our first report of steelhead being caught. This should continue to improve with higher water
levels. Smallmouth bass fishing continues to be good as well.
09/30/17 Lots of smallmouth being caught in the lower river. No steelhead yet.
10/07/17 .The river is in good shape from a stream level standpoint. There are still no reports
of steelhead being caught. Smallmouth bass fishing in the lower river continues to be excellent.
10/14/17 We are getting some reports of steelhead being caught. One customer caught one
and spotted two others caught. Stream levels are at a normal level, and other conditions good.
10/21/17 The river is a little too low for larger drift boats but okay for one man pontoons and
wading. A few steelhead are being caught and smallmouth bass fishing continues to be good.
10/28/17 There are a few steelhead being caught as well as some trout and Smallmouth bass.
The river is low and only small one-man pontoon boats should be used.
11/12/17 The stream flows and levels are up to 1020 cfs at 3.53 feet. More steelhead are
being caught. We received two good reports form customers this past week.
11/20/17 Conditions are good and good numbers of steelhead are being caught. We received
two good reports from customers fishing this past week.
11/27/17 Stream levels are very high, too high to fish in our opinion. There are lots of
steelhead in the river and plenty were being caught before the high water. Watch the levels
and fish when it drops.
12/04/17 Steelhead are being caught. The stream levels are still a little high but it can be
fished successfully. Nymphs, Swinging and egss are working.
12/11/17 Stream levels are down to near normal levels and lots of steelhead are being caught.
Eggs, swinging and nymphing are all producing.
12/17/17 The river is in good shape, with good stream levels and clear water. Good numbers
of steelhead are being caught using a variety of methods.
12/25/17 The water temperature has dropped quite a bit and the steelhead a little sluggish.
Nymphs are working better than swinging or eggs.
01/01/18 The river is still in decent shape with a few more steelhead being caught. This should
pick up some this coming week.
01/15/18 The stream levels are up high but it can still be fished from drift boats. Steelhead are
still being caught in good numbers. There are lots of steelhead.
02/12/18 The stream is flowing at 4450 cfs at 5.50 ft, which is still high but better and still
falling. The river is full of steelhead and will be caught in good numbers when it gets a little
02/19/18 The stream levels are still a little high but in much better shape. There's little to now
rain or snow forecast, so it should continue to drop.
03/05/18 The river is down to near normal levels and mostly clear. Steelhead fishing should be
good. The water is a little colder.
03/19/18 Good conditions continue. Discharges and stream levels are in good shape and the
water a little warmer. Steelhead are being caught on eggs and SH nymphs.
04/02/18 The stream levels are averaging a little above normal but the water is relatively clear.
Steelhead are being caught by the few anglers fishing for them.
04/09/18 The discharges and stream levels are a little below normal. Many of the steelhead
are spawning in the Wallowa but a few are being caught in the GR
04/17/18 The discharges and flows are very high and based on the weather forecast unlikely
to come down much.
05/01/18 Steelhead season is closed. Trout fishing should be getting very good soon. Expect
good hatches including the big Salmonflies. .
06/19/18 Smallmouth bass fishing is good in the lower river. Good hatches of Salmonflies are
taking place in the upper river below Troy. Golden stoneflies should start soon.
07/17/18 We are getting some good reports from trout anglers. There are multiple hatches
taking place. The Smallmouth bass fishing is also very good in the lower section. Our new
Popping bugs and crayfish patterns are working good.
08/02/18 Lots of Little Yellow stoneflies are hatching along with other insects. Smallmouth bass
fishing is excellent in the lower river. Trout are still being caught upstream.
08/21/18 Low water is a problem and the water is warm. Smallmouth bass fishing is excellent.
They are taking our popping bugs and crayfish patterns very well.
09/25/18 Stream levels are still very low and likely to be that way for the coming week.
Smallmouth bass fishing is good from the state line up into the roadless area.
10/05/18 The river is up some and in better shape. There are a few steelhead being caught.
Smallmouth bass fishing is still very good. Steelhead fishing will improve later this month.
10/12/18 ore steelhead are being caught and Smallmouth bass fishing continues to be very
good. Both swinging and nymphing is working for steelhead.
11/29/18 More steelhead are in the river and good numbers of them are being caught. Mostly
Swinging and nymphs are producing. It should just get better this week.
12/22/18 More good reports are coming in. The stream levels are low and swinging isn't doing
all that well but eggs and SH nymphs are. Our Veiled BH egg flies produced some good
12/29/18 The river has been turning out a few steelhead but quite frankly, not so good this
year. There are still a few summer runs in the river and they can be caught when the levels are
02/20/19 Not many fish are returning and that makes it tough. The few anglers fishing are still
catching some, but altogether, it is slow.
03/10/19 Warmer weather conditions may help but we didn't receive any reports from the past
week. Hopefully, it will pick up this coming week. .
7, 8 weight for appropriate type rod,
sinking, sinking tip and floating
10#, 12# in 9 to 15 feet lengths
10# and 12#
Best Fly Rods:
Perfect Fly 7, 8, single hand rods
For 7 to 10 weight lines
Fly Floatants and Misc Items:
KISS Strike Indicators, Lanyards, etc.
Tools & Accessories:
Nippers, forceps, retractors, etc.
|1. Email us (firstname.lastname@example.org)
with the dates you will be fishing this
stream and we will send you a list of our
fly suggestions. Please allow up to 24
hours for a response.
2. Call us 800-594-4726 and we will help
you decide which flies you need.
3. Email us (email@example.com)
with a budget for flies and we will select
them to match the budget and get them to
you in time for your fly fishing trip.
All orders are shipped free in the
U. S. Orders of less than $100 are sent
regular first class mail. Orders of $100 or
more are shipped via Priority Mail.