Launching a boat at Minam begins a journey through a 40 mile roadless canyon that not only offers great fly fishing for trout and steelhead, but the best camping and wildlife viewing to be found on a river trip. When we push off the bank for a multi-day guided fly fishing trip the abrasive, hurried sounds of the modern world fade as the sounds and smells of the river canyon fill the senses. As the rhythm of the river takes over, you cast flies to a likely looking trout lair and the sweet aroma of cottonwood, ponderosa pine, or mock orange makes you breathe a little deeper. There is nothing better for the mind and soul than a river trip down a roadless canyon where the natural rhythms of life are uninterrupted.
Prime seasons for guided fly fishing on the Grande Ronde River:
The Spring Stonefly Hatch:
Big golden stones begin hatching in earnest around Memorial Day on the lower end of our float but river conditions normally don’t fall into good fishing shape until the 2nd week of June. The last 3 weeks of June into early July we launch weekly guided fly fishing trips following the spring stonefly hatch as it progresses its way upriver. The stonefly hatch can be the best time of year for fishing big dry flies.
The canyon is fully green this time of year and each week new wildflowers decorate the river banks and cliff walls. Mock orange fills the banks with white flowers and the air with a sweet aroma. Simply put, spring is a gorgeous time to be on the river and our Grande Ronde fly fishing guides are well acquainted with the best runs, flies, and tactics for spring trips whether the river flows are high, low, or somewhere in between.
Late summer early fall:
September into early October is THE BEST time of year for trout fishing on the roadless section of the Wallowa and Grande Ronde Rivers. We consistently catch the biggest rainbows of the year in September. Warm but not hot days are the norm with refreshingly brisk mornings and evenings. Elk are on the river bottom bugling, otter are out playing, black bears are fattening up for winter, and there are normally NO other people on the river. September is a magical time to be on a guided fly fishing trip on the Grande Ronde River.
Fall Guided Fly Fishing for Grande Ronde Steelhead:
October into early November is all about steelhead fishing on the roadless section. While others are battling for elbow room on the lower easily reached sections of river, our Grande Ronde fly fishing guides are launching 5 day trips each week on the 40 mile roadless stretch that by its nature (no easy access) gets less pressure and leaves us plenty of elbow room. No one has fished and guided the roadless stretch more than Grant and his team of diehard steelhead fly fishing guides. We float and guide this stretch weekly throughout the fall and have an intimate understanding of its waters and where steelhead prefer to lie.
Whether you prefer a single hand rod or a spey rod to chase steelhead, our experienced guides will tailor each day’s schedule to your needs. We can guide complete novices who have never held a fly rod, or seasoned veterans. Each day’s routine will be centered around your skill level and what type of fishing you like to do.
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.