Guided fishing on the Grande Ronde River, Wallowa River and Wallowa Lake.

Better than projected- The fall 2017 Grande Ronde River steelhead season.

The 2017 fall steelhead return on the Grande Ronde was slotted to be not so hot. Biologists predicted the return to be one of the lowest in a long time. That being said, clients still wanted to come and enjoy the river, even with that information. And in many cases, it paid off.

Sure, the run hasn't been the hottest we've ever seen. But, with persistence, we have found fish. We've all been pleasantly surprised with the end of day numbers throughout October. Fly and gear anglers alike are consistently reporting multiple fish days, with the season coming into full swing. The fish should continue to move through the system for the next several months, affording some excellent angling opportunities to the angler who wants to come out and doesn't mind braving a little weather.

The takeaway so far? Keep with it. Even on a lower return year, fish good water to the best of your ability and have confidence in everything you're doing.

Give yourself the best chance possible with the time you have on the water. Pay attention to things that a lot of other anglers aren't paying attention to and adjust accordingly. Watch the water temperature and adjust your depth and where you're focusing the majority of your time in the runs accordingly. As we get these colder water temperatures coming into the last part of the year, when swinging, throw larger sink tips to get down deeper and focus on the slower sections of the run. If nymphing, follow the same general principal. Using either technique, think larger intruders or larger nymph patterns, with some fluorescent colors.

Fly Side is still booking guided trips for this fall. Contact Paul Pagano at 541-398-0180 or to discuss a November 2017 Grande Ronde River steelhead trip.



Client George Loomis coming through on the swing. October 2017.