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The Gearboat Chronicles

Shed Ahead

ring-ring: Yes, hello there, James Nash. The cuss you say? Go 38 miles in one day with the Grande Ronde only flowing at 2,500 cfs? Oh, it’s down to 2,000 . . . I see. Weeeell, uhhhhhh . . . as a matter of fact it does influence my decision if you write ‘The Emeral Mile’ on your boat.* All righty then. Save me a seat.

(*note to Winding Waters Book Club members: you should read ‘The Emerald Mile.’)

So we bombed down the Wallowa and Grande Ronde at 2G in a day. Took nine hours, hampered somewhat by the ballast of all the fillings from my teeth and cartilage from my spine piling up on the floor of the drift boat after collisions with rocks when I was rowing.*

(*note to Winding Waters Rowing Club members: the Wallowa River has rocks in it. And a lot of them are poking out right now. The Grande Ronde has rocks in it too. They’re poking out much less, which makes it much easier to hit them going much faster. **sidenote: up til now I’ve been strictly an inflatable boat guy. You caress rocks in a raft. Generally. An aluminum drift boat encountering stone is a tad bit more jarring.)

Chandeliers Just Laying There in the Weeds

Justin Moncrief was also on board. From what I gathered, Justin is quite good at finding elk and deer sheds. So imagine how tickled Justin must have been when James was merrily rowing along, glanced up and announced: “Big bull shed. Right there. Dibs.” And it wasn’t just the one. James and Justin climbed up The Eiger Hillside in their waders and located the other half of the pair not far away. I was pretty busy down on the bank not climbing steep hills in rubber overalls with oversized boots that have slick felt soles.


Look at these things. The scientific term for these sheds is: ridiculous. I mean, just look at these things. Imagine toting those things around on your head.

Here’s a much grainier view, up near the summit of Shed Mountain, right after discovery.


We’ve done cast and blast trips in the past, where you go surf and turf after fish and birds. Might have to start doing steelhead and shed trips. As a bonus, these things are worth real money so a person could actually make money chartering a deluxe wall tent-equipped and fully catered shed hunting foray with all the luxuries down this roadless area of the Grande Ronde that’s probably littered — strewn, even — with sheds. I’ve heard far worse business plans.

Fishing wise, the Wallowa is about as clear as it gets and the Grande Ronde has some chalky color to it, but is certainly fishable. Here’s what it looks like at the confluence right now. Sidenote: Justin hooked a steelhead 30 seconds after this photo was taken.


Check out the Winding Waters fishing report for more details on the pursuit of finned ones in the Wallowa territory.

And to take the bull by the horns to go look for horns off a bull from the water, give a call.

Now go out there and get after them.