There is a secret kept in the canyons of the Wallowa and Grande Ronde Rivers. That secret is a blue-ribbon trout fishery that few realize is there and even fewer fly fishing guides know the seasons, hatches, and tactics to entice trophy sized rainbows to the fly. One reason this fishery is relatively unknown is the fact that it exists in a 40 mile roadless canyon federally designated as a wild and scenic river. Accessing this special place requires a commitment of 3-5 days but the rewards are great with exceptional trout fishing and arguably the best river camping to be had. A guided fly fishing trip on the roadless Wallowa and Grande Ronde Rivers is what a trout fly fishing trip should be: Clean air filled with the smell of confifers, cottonwood, and wildflowers. A haven from the abrasive sounds of roads and cities allowing you to hear the rifflling sound of the water, birds singing on the banks, and the wings of ducks, geese, and eagles as they cut through the clean mountain air. And big, fiesty wild rainbows leaping on the end of your line with a basalt rimmed canyon as the backdrop. It does not get any better than this my friend.
For those unable to commit to the multi-day wild and scenic guided fly fishing trip, we also offer guided day trips on the Wallowa Highway Section. You might think since the highway section is . . . well, beside the highway, it would get heavy fishing traffic. Although it does see more pressure than the roadless section, the Wallowa highway section sees relatively low fishing pressure during trout season. If you only have one day or half a day to get away, join one of our knowledgeable fly fishing guides to make your day by the highway into a spectacular Wallowa trout fishing experience.
Beginning in early May with the Mother’s Day Caddis hatch along the Wallowa River, good trout fishing can be had throughout the spring, summer, and fall as river flows cooperate. Our first pre-planned trips of the year target the stonefly hatch beginning in early to mid-June continuing into early July. We provide anglers the opportunity to experience this exciting dry fly hatch by doing a one-day Wallowa River float, or by doing a multi-day float where you get to see the hatch evolve as we float from the Wallowa River into the Grande Ronde through the course of the trip. During the summer months of July and August, the Grande Ronde and Wallowa can become too low to float. Fortunately there are ten miles of road access along the Wallowa river that can provide an exciting day of fly fishing for anyone from the first timer, to the veteran angler all summer long. By the time September rolls around, we once again focus our efforts on the multi-day roadless section of the Grande Ronde. During September is when we see the LARGEST rainbows of the year. In both the Grande Ronde and Wallowa, the fall produces an excellent time to fish for large trout among the beauty of the changing season.
Equipment and Techniques
When targeting trout, we utilize a wide array of fly rods and techniques to best suit the situation. While four and five weights may be used to throw dry flies, there is likely a six or seven weight rod ready to go for heavier streamer and nymph setups. The larger weight rods can often be necessary to handle the obese rainbows that latch on to your fly.
Want to hear what our clients say about our trip?
Waking up at 6 am to the smell of fresh coffee and a chorus of birdsong.
After stuffing sleeping gear in the dry bags, a hearty breakfast of freshly made omelets awaits with more ingredients than one can count.
Then the boat launch with the dry dropper locked and loaded and an amazing set of pocket water opportunities, many holding feisty trout ready to run and jump. Experienced guides gently guide: “try that riffle”.
A quick bite of lunch on a huge ham sandwich with all the trimmings sets up the afternoon for the 2 pm stone fly show. Casting to rising trout makes the hunt so much sweeter (and soothes the chagrin of the occasional willow hookup). All of this against the backdrop of wildflowers, eagles, tanagers, veerys, woodpeckers, warblers, swans, sandpipers, mountain goats and elk, but without houses or roads. As the sun lowers in the sky, the nights’ camp appears around the bend with our tents set up and hors d’oeuvres already on the table. A quick change of clothes and it’s time for a gourmet dinner prepared by the guides turned chefs. A conversation with an amazing set of fellow fisherman and some history of the Nez Piece tribe give way to the pull of the sleeping bag where slumber comes easily to the tune of the river’s gentle melody.
While imagining this is compelling, experiencing it on a four day float through the roadless section of the Grand Ronde is so much better. Her fish are hot and really know how to bend the rod and peel line off the reel.
We just got back from our third trip with Grant and Lottie’s group at the Minam Store and we’ve already booked our fourth.
Rick and Anne Matsen
Deposit & Cancellation Policy:
50% down payment is required to book a trip with final payment due 30 days prior to launch. Deposits and final payments are non-refundable and non-transferrable. Effective July 25, 2020 All guests making reservations for multi-day trips are required to purchase CFAR (cancel for any reason) Travel Insurance to protect their investment and ours. We recommend purchasing your CFAR travel insurance through a company like AIG Travel Guard or Travelex. We cannot continue to invest money into equipment, guides, trip supplies, and food to give you the best river trip possible and then refund money when events cause you to cancel, or us to cancel for reasons that may be out of anyone's control. Covid-19 regulations and travel restrictions are everchanging and purchasing CFAR travel insurance will protect your investment. We cannot give cash refunds for any reason whatsoever. We cannot make exceptions due to medical or family emergencies, weather conditions, travel restrictions imposed by local, state, or federal agencies. CFAR travel insurance protects your investment whether you cancel for any reason or we are unable to perform the trip. Most insurance companies require trip insurance to be purchased within a couple weeks of making your deposit so do not put it off.