Grand Ronde -wild and scenic stretch - Spey Pages
 
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-04-2013, 05:20 PM Thread Starter
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Grand Ronde -wild and scenic stretch

I'm looking to get a way for a few days in late October and sneek in a steelhead spey fishing trip. I keep looking at the Grand Ronde wild and scenic stretch for a DIY trip (Minam OR. on down) I like the idea of an isolated fishing trip w/ limited access and people. I understand rafts are the boat of choice and to allow 5 days. Has anyone fished this stretch of river in middle to late October??......What can a guy expect weather wise and fishing conditions??......Is this up too high on the Grand Ronde / Wallowa river for Fall steelhead. Any info would be appreciated.

Hiwallman!
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-05-2013, 11:05 AM
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Weather can be anything from 80 degrees and sunny to snow that time of year, it is very unpredictable. Starting at minam I will doubt you will see much steelhead until you get further down river. You may see a few but not a lot there yet. The closer you get to Troy the more you will see. Where do you plan to float to, Bogans or to Troy?
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-06-2013, 01:27 AM
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Maybe that early in the year, Bogan's Oasis or Schumaker's Grade to Heller Bar would be a better steelhead trip.
Bogan's to Heller is two days just floating. Schumaker's to Heller is a good day trip just floating. You could make either trip last 5 days if you got out to wade through fishing runs.
Pretty nice down in there. It gets to be a deep canyon, not much direct sun in October, and the nights get cold. Bring your binoculars; there's some sweet wildlife.

"I was spey casting for sure. Everything else I'm unsure about." ~Mumbles
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-06-2013, 09:36 PM Thread Starter
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I was thinking about floating from Minam to Troy. Seems like a fun trip. I have never floated / fished the Grand Ronde. I may be too high up river for the best steelhead fishing but there should be a few around towards the end of October.

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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-06-2013, 10:18 PM
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I think the first day or two of your trip will be slow, but that time of the year is quite good as you near Troy. I would imagine the last couple days of your trip will be great. My only advice would be to be prepared for any type of weather as it is extremely unpredictable at that time of year. I am sure you are used to that being from Montana. It is a beautiful canyon and a great place to be. Rondowa (the confluence of the Grande Ronde and Wallowa is one of my favorite places to be. I am sure you will have a great trip.
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-06-2013, 10:59 PM Thread Starter
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Japple,
I wonder if the train is going to run again. Then again the crowds would appear and spoil your fishing grounds. I keep thinking I need to float that stretch from Minam to Troy. I don't know why - but the thought of minimal crowds and a 4/5 day steelhead fishing/camping trip sounds like a fun adventure.

What weight Spey/ switch rod would you use?......floaters or sink tips that time of year?

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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-06-2013, 11:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hiwallman View Post
Japple,
I wonder if the train is going to run again. Then again the crowds would appear and spoil your fishing grounds. I keep thinking I need to float that stretch from Minam to Troy. I don't know why - but the thought of minimal crowds and a 4/5 day steelhead fishing/camping trip sounds like a fun adventure.

What weight Spey/ switch rod would you use?......floaters or sink tips that time of year?

Hiwallman
I don't know if the train is going to run again or not, but there are some people working on opening the Hotel again, and they also have a raft rental there as well and a shuttle service all from the Minam store.

The float is great, I wish I had the raft or boat to do it more often. That time of year the river is pretty low, so I use mostly floaters or some very light sink-tips, mostly floating. I use a 7wt or sometimes a 6. Both will work well, 7 is probably the most common for everyone I know.

John
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-07-2013, 12:54 PM
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October 2011

Three of us drifted from Minam to the Wildcat(?) Bridge just upstream of Troy from Oct 23 through Nov 5th.
All the info here so far is right on - the only things I can add is that you owe yourself a two week window. We were there for ten days or so - not enough!
I think most experienced floaters leave Minam and blow through to a couple miles below Rondowa in a day. We spent the night of the 22nd in the campground at Minam. There were several others there - all fishing and catching. At that time of year the fish are going to be spread out and not too many of them around so when you run into a few stay with it. We got to Rondowa on day three and I was thinking we were moving too fast! As a result we blew through sections that looked really good. That's the issue - it all looks awesome.
Low water...600 to 800cfs by the Troy gauge is not your friend - unless you are really light. We had my 16 ft NRS cat with all the comfort camping gear which translates to highly overloaded. If you are competent on the oars it's not dangerous, just a drag - literally. The upside to that level is that we saw two or three other groups the entire time.
windingwatersrafting dot com will shuttle your rig. Nice people.
We were expecting some rain. I think we were just down from Rondowa on day four when it starting spitting a little, then switched to snow. In the middle of the day it was around 50 - 65 deg and in the AM as low as 24 for a couple of those days. The rest of the time was cold but doable. Unfortunately, we were looking forward to top water action and as the water got colder we had to switch to sink tips and leechy type stuff.
Historically the fish don't move into the canyon (in force) until later so the better fishing is below Troy and probably as mentioned below Bogan's. That said, the canyon is a trip worth doing. The next time I will take two cats with three or four of us.
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-07-2013, 04:49 PM
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Too add to what sixrivers wrote, the last two years water has been low, and this year I would expect the water to be higher due to a better snow pack and precip. we have received thus far. Just keep an eye on the flows, as they can vary a lot.
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