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The Gearboat Chronicles

Grande Ronde Giggler

Just returned from a 4-day Grande Ronde fishing mission with Nick and Mary – who have a great thing going where they’re fishing buddies, also happen to be married and have been together 43 years, I think it is.

Mary has a distinctive reaction to catching fish, which earned her the name of The Green River Giggler on a previous trip of theirs. It’s a versatile title, as I now think of her as the Grande Ronde Giggler. She won the impromptu fishing derby from camp at Sickfoot and was gracious in her victory.


Saw pelicans in the upper stretch of river. Unusual.


Also saw the cutest drift boat ever go by. I just want to pet it and feed it a saucer of milk. Awwww.


It wasn’t all fun and games. Jarrod Wilcox is new to the Winding Waters staff and I put him through the paces of a rigorous training program. Here he is fishing from a chair.


The landing site at one of the camps seemed excessively rocky to my eye, so I asked him to please move the offending stones and stack them out of the way. He did an outstanding job.


We had something of a warmish spell last week. Paul and crew were on the Lower Salmon and Morgan with his band of merry rafters were floating Hells Canyon. So we had a trifecta of three different river trips going all at once and we were all consulting the super-secret river guide code book which reveals which camps have the most shade and cooling breezes.

It was so pleasant under the cottonwoods and pines at one camp, even the water jug took a siesta.


Lots of flutterbys out and about along the Grande Ronde. Here’s some taking a rest on my ammo box.


And the culinary prize for best pork chop topping goes to fishing guide Tom Farnam, who whipped up a fresh apple drizzle that couldn’t be beat. The man knows his way around a grill and definitely gets his sear on.


Nick and Mary have fished all over. And I mean all over. One trip in particular was up in Alaska where they arranged for a float plane to drop them off and two small rafts for a self-guided fishing trip. Only the two small rafts turned into one giant one, the river was extremely low that year and they took advantage of all that Alaskan daylight to row and paddle just to get on down the river so they wouldn’t miss their takeout flight.

Nick described the trials of setting up camp, breaking it back down, rigging the boat, navigating the river and then being so worn out the fishing they were there for was hard to get to. So in the future they decided to let other folks handle that end. That’s what we’re here for and I’m hoping to see the Giggler and Nick back for steelhead season so they can exercise more fish on the Grande Ronde.