Ronde trip with Scadden Assault

Just got back from a three day trip on the Ronde. (I didn't touch a fish by the way.) We launched Shumaker and came out at WDFW area near the mouth. Flows are real low at this time. We had a 14 foot Aire raft with us that carried most of the heavy gear so my boat was not loaded down much. We also had another Assault with us and an older Scadden 9 foot pontoon.

The boat is very responsive in moving water, with the high rocker, kind of like a drift boat. But as such, it also moved slower than the other boats. My friends Assault looked to be an older model, as it was slightly shorter and had tie down rings on the front of the boat. I have added my own. He put a cargo deck across the front of his boat (from his Skykomish toon) and had more weight, sitting lower in the water.

Overall I was happy with the boat and how it performed, but I did have a couple issues. Since the oars are attached to the boat and do not release when you hit a rock, it can cause issues. I was going down a shallow boulder run and when I stroked my oars, the down stream oar hit a rock and stuck. The boat bounced up in the air a bit, and I broke the tip of the blade of my lightspeed oar. If I had been in a meaty rapid, I suspect it would flip the boat or tear off the oarlock or break the oar. The other issue is the open floor. You will get wet in any waves, even small ones.

We portaged the Narrows, which was not fun. No problems carrying the Assault, but carrying the gear up the hill and down the cliff was less fun. Next year we will rope the boats through, I think. Actually hopefully I will have a raft at that point. We also skipped the Bridge Rapid by scooting our boats over the rocks.

All in all a good trip, we hooked 6 fish, landing 4 steels and 1 salmon. Not counting the 2 suckers. It rained and my tent leaked. Tons of people on the river, none catching fish. Multiple guided groups. Everyone friendly as can be. Can't wait for next year.


Jim Ficklin

Genuine Montana Fossil
Thanks for the report, Wayne & glad you survived . . . Rod would be lost without you & we still need to meet (even if I am an old-school one-hander, lol.). Sounds like a fun trip (not for me, tho . . . flowing water & me in any boat isn't my thing. I'm content to wade, fumble, and stumble.).
We do need to meet Jim. The Ronde is a great place to wade, fumble and stumble. Just ask Rod as he did a sit down in the middle of the river during one of our crossings. And he didn't even say any bad words.

I posted some pics on the gallery here with Rod holding a fish he caught, if you're interested. He caught that when he was supposed to be fixing dinner for us all....



Well-Known Member
Good report Wayne. Sorry about the broken oar tip; I think that's just part of the price of doing a lot of floats.

I was thinking that a boat like the Assault could shoot the narrows easy enough. And the bridge rapid I've done in my 7' Achilles LT-2. The lower Ronde canyon is a wonderful float and camp trip, made better by nice weather and some snappy fish being around.

Yep, it was a great trip and I for one, had a blast even though the fishing was tough. We had to fish long and hard for our fish. The good thing is, that is not a problem! First time taking my toon on a river, but it was not problem. Of course the Ronde only has a couple of pucker spots in that stretch and we portaged around them, as Wayne said.
What do you mean, I'd be lost without him??? :mad: Kidding, of course.

And that catch was BEFORE dinner! Catching that fish took the pressure off, for sure. Right after that, Frank caught one, then Lance made it happen. But what about Wayne, you ask? Skunko! Bummer, maybe next time. He always outfishes me anyway. He's a pretty fishy dude.

We had an awesome time, can't wait to do it again.
Let's see Rod, you caught your fish while I was drinking a beer waiting for your dinner (which was quite good) and Lance caught the next fish in the failing evening light as I was cleaning up the toilet tent that was blown down in the wind. The next fish was caught by Frank the next morning while the rest of us were finishing up cleaning up camp, again I was taking down the toilet stuff when he caught his. You can bring the toilet next time! I think you guys thought I was the camp wench. I feel so used....

I need a beer to drown my sorrows. I will outfish you next week though.