Species At This Location:
Salmon Chinook
Trout Bull
Trout Rainbow

The Grande Ronde River Washington State

The Grande Ronde courses 182 miles starting SE of the Blue Mountains and NE of the Walowa Mountains.  This is part of the High Plateau country of the Columbia.  The end point is the Snake River in Washington State.

The following excerpt is from Wikipedia, “Grande Ronde River” on 20 March 2021.  (page was last edited on 1 February 2021, at 12:02 (UTC).
URL:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grande_Ronde_River

”The Grande Ronde River rises in the Blue Mountains near the Anthony Lakes recreation area in the Wallowa–Whitman National Forest in southwestern Union County approximately 20 miles (32 km) south of La Grande. It flows generally north along the east side of the Blue Mountains, then east, past La Grande, then generally northeast through the Grande Ronde Valley in a meandering course between the Blue Mountains and the Wallowa Mountains, receiving Catherine Creek east of La Grande.

Approximately 10 miles (16 km) northwest of Minam it receives the Wallowa River from the southeast, then receives the Wenaha River at Troy just south of the Washington border. It crosses into southeastern Washington, traversing the extreme southeast corner of the state and entering the Snake at Rogersburg Washington, approximately 5 miles (8 km) north of the Oregon border and 15 miles (24 km) downstream from the mouth of the Salmon River. It receives Joseph Creek from the south 2 miles (3.2 km) upstream from its mouth on the Snake.

The mouth of the Grande Ronde River is at the Snake's river mile 169, which is 493 miles (793 km) from the mouth of the Columbia River.”  
(above goes in INTRO followed by jpg)

(Reprint Permission)


The Grande Ronde River is beautiful, productive and challenging.  Covering a good distance in Oregon and Washing State, the 182 miles, in this Article, we are covering only the Washington State portion of the River.  The Oregon part is for another day.

The River crosses into Washington at WGS 84 45.998101, -117.381668 and then makes a loop back into Oregon and on into Washington again.  It arrives at the Snake river below the town of Asotin WA at Rogersburg, a small community on the Snake.  The confluence is WGS84 46.07994, -116.97998.

While some parts are fairly easy to access, some are impossible in anything but a drift boat.  And finding a spot to put the boat in or take it out can have its own difficulties.  But, make a trip to the river and you will be rewarded with scenic beauty and likely some very nice fish.

Hwy 129 out of Asotin does cross country and crossover the Grande Ronde providing an access point.  Coming out or Rogersburg are the Rogersburg Road on the east side and the Snake river Road on the west side.  Both of these run a good distance down the river with the Rogersburg Road being the longer run.  We would suggest that you acquire a Forest Road map which will give much greater detail.

The first larger city to the North of Asotin is Spokane, WA.  The first larger city to the South I Boise, ID.  What all this tells you is the Snake River and the Grade Ronde are out there where the is a lot more country than city.  The hunting is good an the fishing can be incredible between trout, steelhead, spring salmon, whitefish, and even Bull Trout.

Commentary by CS Drexel, Outdoor Writer and Avid Flyfisher.  The narrative is from the Oregon side to the Snake Confluence.  CS is also a fish biologist by trade and a conservationist.  And as to the avid Flyfisher, the truth is, he is an obsessive Flyfisher and a really good one.

Border to Boggan’s Oasis

Being from Washington, this is my most-frequented stretch, though the fish tend to move through here fairly quickly. Some of my favorite water is around the hogsback itself, so I recommend putting in just above it to take advantage. The land on the hogback's shoulder is private, so that stretch is exclusively fishable by watercraft. If you’re looking for a shorter day, there are a couple of takeouts before you get to Boggan’s, with Cougar Creek probably being the most popular.

The river starts getting bigger in this stretch, and the riverbed wider. This makes it a bit easier to work with in high water, at least marginally. There are also some basic campgrounds in this stretch, usually around launches. Seek out places that will make the fish pause on their upstream journey, such as the many pools that form from riffles pushing against the basalt cliffs.

This stretch is most productive in the early season, before the main bolus of fish pushes up into Oregon, but enough fish stick around to make it worthwhile to fish through the winter. A second surge of fish comes in right before the river closes in the spring, so assuming the flows are cooperating, February can be great on this stretch.

Boggan’s to Shumaker Grade

The dynamic of this stretch is similar to the Border-Boggan’s stretch, just a little earlier. This is the best bet in the early season and has far fewer people on it. This is mostly because the road that follows the river from Troy to Boggan’s takes a sharp turn to ascend the canyon at the top of this stretch, making it inaccessible to all but boaters. The drift from Boggan’s to the takeout at Shumaker grade is straightforward, and particularly productive early in the run when the first waves of fish are moving upriver.

The only drawback to this stretch is that fish move through here fairly quickly, especially when water temps are relatively warm. That shouldn’t stop you, just be aware that you should be looking for migration lanes, and that your quarry will be on the move.

Shumaker Grade to Snake River Confluence

This stretch has a fairly hazardous chute right near the end called The Narrows, which can be potentially dangerous to driftboats and inexperienced rowers. If you fish this stretch, do so from a raft, and during moderate flows.

Putting in at Shumaker and drifting to the mouth is a scenic, gorgeous float, but is not often done for steelhead for a couple of reasons. For one, this is the warmest section of river, and in the very early season can be so warm that it essentially blocks fish from entering the Ronde at all. This “thermal block” is particularly likely in low water and hot weather and forces the steelhead to seek refuge in the cooler depths of the Snake river until it dissipates.

The first good rains of fall or a frost are usually enough to cool the river for fish to enter, and when they do, they move quickly upstream. Coupled with the tricky rowing, this makes this a less popular stretch to fish outside of the first few waves of fish. Nevertheless, experienced rowers will find plenty of good water, and if timed well, plenty of fish.”

Other attractions in this area is of course camping and hiking and enjoying the stunning out of doors views and scenery.  White Water Rafting is also available.  Summertime sees bikers as well as motorcyclists.

Surface in square feet, in acres, in length, shoreline, in square feet, whatever

The confluence of the Grande Ronde and Snake River lies five mile North of the Oregon border.  The river length from crossing into Oregon and arriving at the Snake is XXX,

Of the 162 (?) Miles of River from its Oregon beginnings, appropriately 64.5 miles lies inside Washington from the River makes its final entry from the loop back.

The following chart is specific to the area around Asotin and Rogersburg.  The River runs from there several miles to the West into rugged country that can have very inclement weather.  Check ahead and bring clothing in anticipation cold weather.








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Fishing seasons:  
LAKES, PONDS, and RESERVOIRS are open to fishing for Game Fish (except DOLLY VARDEN/BULL TROUT and GRASS CARP) year-round. RIVERS, STREAMS, and BEAVER PONDS are CLOSED to fishing unless listed as open.

The following URL will take you to the Game & Fish Rules.  Remember, rivers often have more detailed conditions than the Lakes and Ponds so check where you are going to fish specifically.  https://www.dnr.wa.gov/


Fishing methods:  
This is a tough call to say its this or that like you would on a lot of waters.  The reason is that presented right almost anything works on this type of river.  Bug life is abundant for the fly fisher to copy.  Plugs spinners, spoons do work well with other fisher population members not being fly fishers.  

If you are fly fishing, generally a four or five weight is a good choice and a spey if its the steelheads you are chasing.

If it is spinning reels or bait casters coupled with a 6 or 7 foot rod, it is going to be a very workable rig.  

Things we are seeing more often on rivers is spinning rigs using flies with a water bobber to keep the line on top while having the weight to get the line out.

A trip to the local fishing supply source is always a god idea.


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