2018 Launch: October 28 – Nov 1: Join us on a supported steelhead expedition and we’ll spoil you rotten. This self-guided trip is the perfect option for the experienced angler who wishes to focus on chasing Steelhead, letting us take care of every camp detail. Guide yourself fishing all day and then arrive in our deluxe camp to find a heated wall tent, comfortable bed, and a warm meal waiting for you. The Grande Ronde boasts a healthy population of 24″ to 36″ Steelhead along with 35 miles of roadless river with float access only. This is an incredibly beautiful stretch of Wild and Scenic River that has very little pressure from fishermen. On the Grande Ronde, the scenery and solitude are only outdone by the sight of a native Steelhead taking a dryfly at dusk. We also offer a fully guided steelhead trip option as well.
Day 0 – Arrival Day: Arrive in Joseph, Oregon by 6pm for our pre-trip orientation at the Winding Waters’ Boathouse. Have introductions, discuss trip logistics, receive personal dry-bags, and answer remaining questions. Visit our Boathouse Shop for any last minute items for your trip, including sunscreen, river shirts, river hats, and more. You will be able to park your vehicle at our Boathouse during the trip as well as store valuable items that you do not want to take on the river.
Day 1 – Launch/River Day: Winding Waters provides transportation to the river launch in Minam, Oregon (45 minute drive). Depart from our Boathouse at 8:30AM. Meet your guide crew at the launch and leave the boat ramp by 10:30am. The first half of the day will be on the Wallowa River. Lunch will be riverside near the confluence of the Wallowa and Grande Ronde Rivers. Arrive in camp after a good day of fishing. Expect an evening beginning with appetizers and a delicious meal. Feel free to bring a musical instrument.
Days 2-4 – River Days: Each day, the morning routine: hot drinks and fruit juice served by daybreak and breakfast served soon after. We set out a lunch buffet so you can make your lunch for the day. After a full day of fishing, expect another wonderful evening beginning with a delicious meal followed up with good conversation and campfire.
Day 5 – River/Take Out Day: Morning routine. Fish until 2pm when we reach our take out in Troy, Oregon. The Winding Waters van will meet us for the drive back to our Boathouse in Joseph. Return by 5pm with plenty of time to shower and dine at a local restaurant. If you would like to stay another night at Chandler’s please arrange for this in advance.
Included in your Trip Cost:
- Round-trip transportation to and from the river
- Outstanding, fully catered food and camp scene, along with all necessary camping equipment
- All meals from departure to return
Q: Can we charter a private trip? How many people do we need?
A: We are glad to offer private charter trips to groups of 6 or more. A charter trip means that your group consists of all of the trip’s participants. We do not sell that trip departure to any outside guests. 8 is the total number of anglers we can take.
Q: What time and where do I meet for my trip? Where is the nearest airport?
A. We meet the night before your launch for our Pre-Trip Meeting at our Winding Waters Boathouse in Joseph, OR @ 6PM.
- Pre-trip orientation talk will take place at our Boathouse in Joseph at 6PM the night before your launch date.
- Nearest Airports: Lewiston-Nez Perce County Regional Airport, Lewiston, ID, Boise Airport, ID, and Walla Walla Regional Airport, WA
- Shuttle Service: Rent a car from one of these airports or contact us for potential pick-up. We provide round-trip transportation to and from the river for most of our trips once you arrive in Joseph.
Q: What services do you provide?
A: We provide all food and cooking service, as well as all camping gear. We can also provide 12′ rafts for an additional daily fee of $50. And our guides are happy to give river information when needed.
Q: What is an appropriate type of boat for the spring/fall on this river?
A: We recommend rubber rafts during the spring and fall on the Grande Ronde. 14′ individual catarafts work well. Flows are too low for drift boats as many rocks are exposed. We rent 12′ rafts for $50/day.
Q: Do I have to row myself?
A: Yes, but we offer advice on river information and reading the maps. It’s relatively easy water to navigate (dodging rocks mainly) with experience. Guides are available for additional fees. Please inquire.
Q: How technical is the rowing?
A: The Grande Ronde has low flows in the spring and fall, and there’s a lot of rock dodging. There is an easily scoutable class III rapid that you can follow our guides through on day 1.
Q: What amenities are provided in camp?
A: heated wall tents, cots, pads, and 5 person sleeping tents for 2 people
Q: Does camp move every day?
A: Yes, we move camp downriver each day.
Q: What’s the youngest age you can take on this trip?
A: We can take children ages 12 and up. We have child-sized US Coast Guard-approved personal floatation devices (PFD’s).
Q: What about bathrooms while we’re on the river?
A: We have you covered. We follow “”Leave No Trace”” minimum impact camping and traveling etiquette on all river trips. The bathroom facility we use is called the River Bank Toilet System. When in camp, we set up the toilet in a separate, private area, complete with toilet paper and hand sanitizer. The guides will explain all of the details of how to use it.
Q: What advice do you have regarding batteries for camera equipment and keeping camera equipment dry?
A: A: If you want to bring your portable video camera and/or digital camera, but are concerned about batteries running out, you have 2 options. One, bring extra batteries (at least 2 more than you think you’ll need). Two, bring a portable solar-powered battery recharger. They do exist and we’re pleased to report- they do work! As for keeping your electronic equipment dry, we provide small dry bags that stay with you on the boat during the day. We also sell small hard-shell, water-tight, and padded Pelican cases in our Boathouse Shop.
Q: Can you advise us on tipping/gratuities?
A: We treat our tipping discussion with great care. Our guide crew will work very hard to make your vacation the best it can be. If you wish to tip, we recommend treating it like a restaurant. Anywhere from 10-20% of your trip cost for the crew is standard. You can either give your lead guide cash at the end of the trip or put it on your credit card. The gratuities will then be distributed among the guide crew. Give us a call if you wish to discuss further.
Q: What kind of weather and water temperatures are typical on this trip?
A: Visit our Weather & Water Page for information on air temperature and water flows for different times in the year. Water temps generally range from mid 60’s to mid 70’s.