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The Gearboat Chronicles

Trick or Steelhead

Pretty sure you’re supposed to get less excited about Halloween the older you get. Not so for this guy. Sure, there’s always some version of a sexy nurse costume at a party to look forward to. Miniature Baby Ruth candy bars are cause to celebrate. But the fishing is typically re-e-e-e-ally good by Hallows Eve on the roadless stretch of the upper Grande Ronde. Steelhead have had enough travel time to pile in there in good numbers about the time kiddos are getting gussied up for trick-or-treating. So for some years now my preferred costume for Halloween has been a pair of leaky waders and a raft. I target the neighborhood of Minam to Troy, knocking on different pools and rifles, hoping for the flyfishing equivalent of a full-sized candy bar.

Grande Ronde River Steeelhead

Wild GR steelhead losing a tail wrestling competition with guide James Nash.

Steelhead are already showing up and the ODFW estimates for this year, based on fish who signed the guest register at Columbia dams, look positively peachy. A Winding Waters guided trip just this week connected a first-time steelheader with some of the Grande Ronde good stuff. It’s already happening. Steelhead-a-go-go.


This is what it looks like. Seriously.

So quit your job, roll your savings over into spey rods, chain yourself to the fly tying bench and get ready. Remember to put a bowl of popcorn balls or some such on the front porch for the trick-or-treaters, then we’ll see you on the river.

Best way to go about this is the luxury of having somebody else do the hard stuff for you. And, hey, that’s us. Get some pals together who you can outfish for one of our steelhead support trips. You fish your brains out all day and roll into camp where Winding Waters has the wall tent camp already set up. You kick back and tell lies during the appetizer course and especially after dinner. Get your snooze on, more fishing and more us moving camp downstream. I’m telling you, it’s the way to fish.

Give us a jingle and we’ll get you out there for this fall fishing steelhead bonanza. Single or multi-day guided trips. Or guide your own bad self on the camp support trip.