Grande Ronde?

Rick Sharp

Active Member
The fishermen population is about to explode if it's not already.

Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife
600 Capitol Way North, Olympia, WA 98501-1091
October 6, 2009
Retention limit of hatchery steelhead
changed in Grande Ronde, Snake rivers
Action: Allow the harvest of five (5) hatchery steelhead per day in the Snake River and a portion of the Grande Ronde River.
Effective date: Oct. 7, 2009 through March 31, 2010 in the mainstem Snake River from its mouth to the Oregon state line (including the boundary waters with Idaho).
Oct. 7, 2009 through April 15, 2010 in the Grande Ronde River from the County Road Bridge to the Oregon state line.
Species affected: Hatchery steelhead
Fishery Location and Harvest Rules: In the mainstem Snake River from its mouth upstream to the Oregon border (including the boundary waters with Idaho), the daily hatchery steelhead limit will be five (5) of which not more than three may be equal to or greater than 32 inches total length).
Grande Ronde River within Washington. 1) From the mouth of the Grande Ronde River to County Road Bridge (approximately 2.5 miles upstream) release all steelhead. 2) From the County Road Bridge to Oregon state line the daily limit will be five (5) hatchery steelhead per day, with no upper size restriction.
Reason for action: A large number of hatchery steelhead is returning to the Columbia and Snake River basins. Only a small number of these returning hatchery steelhead are needed for broodstock purposes, therefore all excess hatchery steelhead can be harvested. Removal of excess hatchery steelhead will reduce potential adverse effects on ESA listed wild steelhead.
Gear Restrictions: See 2009-2010 WDFW Fishing Rules pamphlet for applicable gear restrictions within southeast Washington waters open to steelhead fishing.
Other information: Anglers are encouraged to retain all hatchery steelhead they catch when it is legal to do so. This regulation change for steelhead angling ensures consistent daily sport fishing limits in boundary waters of the Snake River with Idaho, and adjacent areas of the Snake and Grande Ronde rivers with Oregon.
Information contact: For more information, contact John Whalen, Regional Fish Program Manager, WDFW Spokane Regional Office at (509) 892-7861.


Fish or Ski...Fish or!
Well here's an interesting question I pose to you veteran steelheaders. With the daily limits increasing to 5, what is the maximum possession limit. I've looked in the regs but can't seem to find anything other than daily and yearly limits. I'm heading down for 6 days next week and the way I read the regs, I could keep 30 fish. Not that that's EVER going to happen, but i'd like to know what the regs say. I've emailed WDFW but have not heard back from anyone.

Typically, the possession limit is two daily limits. Possession limit includes in the field or in transit, so a cooler full of 30 fish might not fly. In 2001 the WDFW site specifically said the possession limit increased accordingly, I can find anything for this year.

Processed fish don't count, so pack the Big Chief smoker.


Active Member
I remember something in the regs about a maximum possession limits being two daily limits in fresh form, with an additional allowance for frozen, smoked, etc. Not sure how much those allowances would help unless you're camping with AC power, but assuming that they apply to steelhead, there you go.
I just spent a beautiful day on the river on Tuesday. Got on the water around 630 and fished hard till around 2. Not much of a bite for me, was my first time flyfishing for steelhead but the Grande Ronde is a beautiful river, and really the crowding everybody talkes about was not bad on a tuesday. Had one nice battle with a steele, but he got away after a few minutes. Gave me the good old surface jump and spit action. Made my blood boil but it was way better then going to class! good luck to all those who are heading down. im hopin to make a return next week depending on school load.


Fish or Ski...Fish or!
Indeed the possession limit is 2 days catch. A buddy of mine just confirmed with WDFW. Let's just hope I can bring 2 back for the smoker!


Active Member
Quick report:
Was going to start a new thread but did not want to clutter shit up.
Left Tuesday at 3AM for the Ronde. Archery season was crazy for me and I needed some "me" time. Well I thought, " Steelhead is what I need". Middle of the week on the Ronde should be good for the soul, not as many people.

Well that changed as soon I pulled up to one of my favorite stretches only to find 5 fucking rigs parked there. Now this stretch with only fish 4 people tops. I got out and walked down to look and see how many were fishing. Holly shit! 9 people scattered out. Oh well I will keep going. I did not get any better. I finally said fuck it and headed back down to the Snake.

Went to the mouth to see about the shit show there and sure enough, elbow to elbow, oh well I figured as much so no big deal.

Ended up fishing a few spots on the snake down river of the Ronde and hooked 5 landed 3. Biggest was 8 smallest was around 6.The day was not lost. All Hatchery fish. It is now 4PM and have a good buzz on. I plop my chair down in the edge of the road looking over a nice pool, sipping on a cold long neck, when I hear a familiar sucking noise. "Carp" I thought. Go over the edge and look down in the shallows. Sure enough, 5 of the bastards cruising. I stumble back to the truck to get rigged and head down. My first cast was alcohol influenced and was way off the mark. My second one was $$. Fish ON! Landed a 10lb'er.

That fish put the others down so the fun was over. Well I went back to drinking and enjoyed the evening.

Woke up the next day and fished the Snake for a couple hrs and lost 1 fish then headed for home. Great trip. Could not believe the people on the Ronde. Rifle season open this weekend and I am taking my neighbors kid out. I think I will wait until the cold hits before I head back down.
Just talked to my buddy who got back last night. He said the same thing, crazy crowded. Said it took him 4 days to be able get into Shadow and when he did get in, it was just before dark and then he got low holed. Just sounds crazy over there this year. I'm headed over on Halloween, hopefully it will have thinned out by then.


Active Member
was just there recently as well, good fishing, but man.... what a crowd. i have been fishing there for maybe 13 years now, in the last four or so, the number of people seems to almost double that of the previous year, and kids its not gearheads, its flyfishers/Spey. i'm a bi-fisher, so i'm out there batting both ways, both sides hate me, Lol. i don't think the show: Seasons of the Fly, has helped, as they have episodes on both the Meth and the Ronde. i wish they would do a show on the wet side to disperse the fly fishing media mania.
right before you hit the river at Bogan's (before the bridge) take a right and head upstream. There is a campground on the river up the road about .5 mile and I think a few more up the road but they may be several miles up there ... maybe Oregon.
The one .5 mi up the river is pretty decent

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