The Wallowa River offers some of the areas finest Rainbow Trout and Steelhead fly fishing. As a tributary to the Grande Ronde River, this snow-melt fed river headwaters in the Wallowa Mountain Range and flows west through the verdant Wallowa Valley before entering a deep basalt cliff canyon. The canyon is where we fish and float on this scenic, class II river.
The basalt cliffs in this river corridor offer a range of habitat to an array of wildlife, including Moose, Bald Eagles, Common Mergansers, Mule Deer, elk, Black Bear, Bighorn Sheep, and a multitude of songbirds. Additionally, the crystal-clear, snow-melt fed waters from the Wallowa Mountains provide the perfect habitat for Rainbow Trout and Steelhead. This river is also a significant nursery for both Rainbows and Steelhead.
The Wallowa River watershed’s history of “rafting” extends deep into geologic time, long before humans started roaming the landscape. This region of Northeast Oregon formed as volcanic islands near the present day Aleutian Islands some 300 million years ago and eventually rafted onto North America. These islands (termed “exotic terranes”) formed the first part of Oregon. As time passed and the rest of Oregon was built west, another significant event occurred in this region. Between 17 and 14 million years ago, large cracks in the earth’s surface opened up and lava flowed out in repeated sessions. These flows, known as the Columbia River Basalt Flows, were the largest in volume and extent in the world. The landscape became layered as multiple eruptions would cover the land. The Wallowa River corridor is a premier place to view these layers of towering basalt cliffs.