Northwest Fly Anglers   

A Family Oriented Fly Fishing Club
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  • Grand Ronde Super Float Outing

Grand Ronde Super Float Outing

  • June 23, 2018
  • July 01, 2018
  • Minam, OR.
  • 2

Registration


Registration is closed

Outing Hosts: Peter Maunsell and Mark Conner

Registration Fee:

  • Approx. $275.00
  • The fee includes boat driver (discussed below), vehicle shuttle, and all meals from breakfast on Sunday June 24 thru lunch on Saturday June 30.

Cancellation Policy:

This is a weeklong outing and requires extra logistical effort on the part of the hosts and all attendees.  In order to get a full refund, cancellations need to be submitted by June 12.

 

Description:

This is a classic multi-day trip in northeastern Oregon popular in late spring/early summer and it makes a great trip to fish and share time with friends and family on the river. The Grande Ronde harbors rainbow trout and recently NFA members have caught fish in the 20-24” range. Since this is one of the best autumn and winter steelhead rivers in the Pacific Northwest, catching steelhead smolts in the summer is quite common. As we float downstream the river transitions to smallmouth bass. Indeed, there are sections where you won’t know whether you have caught a rainbow or a bass until it jumps. The trout habitat is continuous, there are innumerable good fishing holes and riffles for high sticking.

There are other sections on the Grande Ronde but this one is special because it flows through a road less and remote Ponderosa Pine forested wilderness canyon designated as a Wild and Scenic River. The scenery on this run is characterized by basalt terraces and open forests, which provide excellent wildlife viewing opportunities. Elk and deer are seen often. Campsites are available in forested groves along the river.

Our 39-mile multi-day float trip starts out on the Wallowa River just below its confluence with the Minam River.  The put-in is located at Highway 82 mile 33.5, on either side and just downstream of the bridge across the Wallowa River.

A local excursion railroad train runs along river right for the first 10 miles until you reach the Grande Ronde confluence. This first segment down the Wallowa contains good continuous Class II (all of the rapids are Class II) along with 3 of the 5 named rapids on the run.  The first rapid is the Minam Roller just a couple of miles downstream from the put in.  The next significant drop is House Rock Rapids where a large boulder sits midstream with an easy route down the left hand side. A short distance downstream you will come upon Blind Falls Rapid. There is a good route down the center that avoids the blind ledge to river right. More fun Class II takes you down to the confluence with the Grand Ronde. Use caution as you navigate through the bridge pilings at the confluence. 

The 22 feet per mile gradient tapers off slightly below the confluence but at medium flows the river continues to move along at a good pace. Sheep Creek Rapid is located a little over a mile downstream of the confluence and is a relatively straightforward boulder garden. It's just under 10 miles to the final named rapid on this run; another boulder garden known as Martin's Misery.

After 39 miles and one week on the river, we will see a road in the distance as we approach the takeout at Powwatka Bridge. There is access immediately downstream of the bridge, on river right. In 2015 several club members continued all the way down to the Snake River, a 91-mile float in total!

Logistics, short version:

We plan to hire a boat driver to row a designated gear boat and transport our kitchen gear, food, and water.  In addition the gear boat will be able to carry participants’ folding chairs plus tents, sleeping bags and pads, and clothes, all of which should be packed in dry bags.  Hiring a boat driver will allow each of the club members to optimize their fishing and rafting experience. 

Saturday, June 23:  We will rendezvous Saturday evening at 5:00 pm at the Minam State Recreation Area campground to discuss put-in and shuttle logistics.  The campground has designated campsites with fire pits, water, picnic tables, and an outhouse.  The campground is located 1.6 miles downstream from the OR Highway 82 bridge crossing the Wallowa.  The bridge crossing is also the location of our put-in.

Sunday, June 24:  We will move to the put-in.  All of the boats need to be ready to go before anyone takes off down the river.  All of the motor vehicles will be parked and readied to be driven to the take-out by a shuttle service.

Saturday, June 30:  After a week on the river we will reach our take-out and begin to unload, clean, and deflate all of the boats.  No one should plan on leaving until all of the boats have been cleaned and the boats and gear have been loaded on the vehicles. Some participants may choose to drive all of the way home tired and dirty.  Many will choose to either camp Saturday evening or stay in an inexpensive motel in Clarkson, WA.

Sunday, July 1:  Finish the drive home.

What to Bring:

  • Raft, kayak, or personal pontoon boat
  • Oregon state fishing license
  • 4-6 weight rods with floating line
  • 3x,4x, and maybe 5x tippet, depending on which flies you use
  • Wading boots and wading staff
    • Daytime temperatures are usually very warm and most folks choose to wade wet the entire trip.  Some pack their waders just in case it gets cool.
  • Folding Chair
  • Tent, sleeping bag, and sleeping pad
  • Change of clothes
    • Although the temperatures are usually very warm at this time of year it can get chilly at night and downright cold if a storm comes thru.
  • Rain gear
  • Hat and sunglasses
  • Camera (in a zip lock bag)
  • Water bottles (carry at least 2 liters per person on the river)

Food:

  • Your registration fee covers meals beginning with breakfast on Sunday June 24 and ending with lunch on Saturday June 30.
  • You are responsible for all of your own meals on Saturday June 23.  This includes dinner. The club's camp kitchen will not be available for use on June 23.
  • You are responsible for your own dinner on June 30 and all meals on July 1.
  • Bring your own wine, beer, or hard stuff; BUT it can not be in glass containers.
  • You do not need to bring any cook gear or eating utensils. 

Directions to the Put-in:

  • Drive to La Grande Oregon, the closest significant city to the put-in. Oregon Highway 82 starts in La Grande.
  • Take Highway 82 towards Joseph and Lake Wallowa
  • turn left at mile 33.5 just before the highway crosses the river and drive 1.6 miles downstream on a dirt road that runs along the river left bank of the Wallowa.

Directions from the Take-out:

  • To get back home your best option is to head downstream and then north on Highway 129 to Clarkson, WA. Pick your own route from Clarkson.
  • Alternate routes are available through the forest roads within the Umatilla National Forest and, although some of these routes may look shorter on the map, don't plan on them being any faster.  

 

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