Grande Ronde and Wallowa Rivers Heating Up
Feb. 2, 2015–With an incredibly mild winter leading us into February, river levels have been holding steady. After a good fall run of steelhead and continuing reports and firsthand experiences on the Grande Ronde and Wallowa Rivers of fish being caught throughout December and January there is a high possibility we might be headed into one of the best spring steelhead seasons in recent years. Meaning: if you haven’t yet readied your equipment and bought a 2015 license, now is the time.
Reports: This past week’s steelhead derby down in Troy, OR, have been excellent continuing over the weekend and into the week with a Chinook bringing rain/snow and insulating the river from cold overnight temperatures. Anglers have been experiencing similar success on the Wallowa River both above and below Minam with larger concentrations of steelhead being caught below the Wallowa hatchery. With warmer overnight temperatures in the works, make sure to get out early to beat the rush. We shouldn’t have any ice forming on the rod guides anytime soon so take advantage.
Flies: Fishing with nymphs/swinging with weight should produce fish in the morning throughout the afternoon and evening hours. Spey fishermen and fisherwomen should experience their greatest success after the water temperatures have warmed up a bit during the day. Look to the afternoon to produce your best spey fishing this time of year. Anglers have been experiencing luck with prince nymphs (sz. 8-12), purple wooly buggers (sz. 4-8), larger spey flies, and a variety of egg patterns. Don’t overlook classic patterns like the Green Butt Skunk which can also be a great fly to try this time of year as the white wing and green chenille will really catch a fish’s attention.
If you are new to the area or looking to hire a guide, we currently recommend half day trips on the Wallowa and full day trips on the Grande Ronde. The weather should be getting nicer and nicer so don’t forget about our multi-day float trips. We welcome beginners and experts alike to join the Winding Waters’ staff on a guided trip. Love for and commitment to fly fishing is what motivates our guides.