Grande Ronde Updates?

Curious if there are any die hard Steelheaders out there that have battled the ice and fished the GR this week? I understand that there is or was a pretty good ice jam at boggan's and a few other locations but there are pockets to fish...

Any updates would be greatly appreciated.


beads are NOT flies and snagging is just ghetto
water has been warming on the salmon, might be there too. a balmy 35 instead of 32.01 might need to swing some big stuff. think you need to toftt and give us a report.


The Dude Abides
catch the window, and the fish are there. the snake has been good, just need the ice dam to get out

Today was near 40 today in safe and get after it boys


Active Member
we are going down feb 15-18.. will float from state line to the campground 1 mile up from boggans, which is where we will camp. mike w
Well, with not a lot of positive info to go on compounded by nearly 24 hours of a nasty stomach flu. I made what seemed at the time a crazy decision at best, to load the truck and head out to Clarkston Friday evening. Typical routine is to grab a room at the motel 6 and bunk out for the night. My senses must have been heightened attempting to heal up from the flu because I don't recall any of the Mo 6 rooms smelling as bad as the one I was (un)fortunate to draw Friday evening... Early rise Sat morn, feeling much better, hit Starbucks and over the top I go. Earlier in the day Friday I called Boggan's in an attempt to hear something inspiring. All they had to tell me was that it continued to be and had been very cold over the last week. Which equates to ice, ice and more ice...
As I began my decent down Rattle Snake grade mother nature was welcoming me with some steady snow which quickly turned into freezing rain. At the bottom things started to go my way. My temp gauge in my truck said that it was 38 degrees and what stared as snow was now merely a misty fog. The report I was given from the gal at Boggan's regarding river ice was very accurate. The Hwy 129 bridge was a full on ice jam. With that I headed to the Cougar creek launch/camp site. With a number of deterrents that would have made a sane man bail out, I began to see what I was hoping for, open water...
Eager to fish I pulled off about a 1/2 mile downstream of cougar ck. The bank ice extended 7-8' out so guy needed to be careful getting to wadeable water. Out of the gate I started throwing an egg pattern about 6' under an indicator with 3 small split's spaced about 8 or so inches apart, starting above my trout beads around 15". The first hour + consisted of me tweaking my setup a bit and getting acclimated to the water temp. Acclimated meaning MORE Clothes! After taking on a cup of coffee and a couple of granola bars I went back at it. I was giving myself 30 more minutes with my original setup. Under warmer conditions I would have probably mixed it up a half dozen times by now if I hadn't been bit. But with water temps I'm guessing between 33-36 degrees I felt the egg pattern was the way to go. On my 3rd drift after that shot of coffee, indicator down, hook set solid, absolutely no movement. Holding it for I'm guessing 3-4 seconds with no movement, must be bottom... Not thinking about how cold the water is, I start to angle my rod side to side in an effort to pop it loose. Guess what... Mr. or Mrs. Steelie woke up and in that same 3-4 seconds I took to determine (so I thought) that it was drifting ice, the fish was gone... 30 or so minutes later another fish on, again very lethargic although I was aware of what to expect, so I thought. This time the fish got the right angle on me and threw the barbless hook.
At 12:30 I took time to warm up, grab a bite to eat and plan my next section of water to attack. I decided to change up the offering and headed up river to fish near the WA/OR state line. Now the temp gauge in the truck was reading a very comfortable 42 degrees with spots of sun. It was beautiful. With the warmer temperature I felt it was time to start swinging. I felt a bit out a sorts, indicator fishing the morning and then, mid day attempting to swing flies. That aside I tied on a cone head black leach. 2 half assed swings through a deep whole and fish on. Solid fish and I was confident in the hook set. After what I'm saying was 5 or so minutes I had netted a beautiful large Bull trout. Quickly I slipped the barbless leach out of his lip and released him. Definitely not the fish that I was targeting but just as rewarding. Hoping that I could follow the Bull up with a nice Steelie, I swung through the drift a couple more times only to land another large beautiful Bull trout, again, quick to release in an effort not to harm.
I spent the last few hours of the day fishing my way back to Boggan's and the base of Rattle Snake grade, touching not a fish.

So many things prior and in route telling me that I should fish another day... Although its these trips that make the memories...



Active Member
indeed a nice report. i hope we can have that good of a day.. did you note the water temp.? what was the water clarity? thnk you, mike w
Regarding the water temp, my info was based off reports that I had read prior to heading out and that was 33-36 degrees. The clarity on Saturday was spectacular, gin clear... I would expect that to change a bit with the warming temps. Although wonderful to peer into and attemp to spot fish, I actually prefer a clarity that is what I call steelhead green. I feel like the playing field is a bit more even. The fish might be more reactionary without that crystal clear look at my far from perfect presentation.
will be going down in 2 weeks. has anyone been down to the ronde in the last couple of days. i am afraid it is pea green or clay grey and you can not see your feet. anyway the food and beer at boggans is always good. mike w
will be going down in 2 weeks. has anyone been down to the ronde in the last couple of days. i am afraid it is pea green or clay grey and you can not see your feet. anyway the food and beer at boggans is always good. mike w
Due to the warmer temps the water has shot up and with that I would guess that the clarity is questionable. The higher elevations are cooling down so look for things to shape up in a timely manner.

Good luck too ya!



Active Member
will do a post when i get back from the ronde in about 17 days. will go back the next weekend after leaving my wall tent at the first campground above boggans. hope i can see my toes when i am in a foot of water. if you see me at the tent, stop in and have a beverage. we run a rough camo so dont feel bad in any way. mike w
went down for 2 days ,floated the canyon. got 3 steel plus a native so at least a skunk did not happen. water was 40 degrees with a visibility of about 1.5 feet. we used beads but did get one on a stonefly. left the tent there so gotta go back this weekend and get it and will take a rod just in case. lots of people, very crowded on sat. mike w
i meant to mention the guide we go with. rick hedding out of clarkston/asotin is one of the best in the business and is a great gonzaga fan. he takes mark few and greg heister and others on a trip or two each year and always donates trips to charity and to kids. of course he gets a ticket to a zag game and why not they are awesome. go zags. thanks, mike w