Steelheading the Grande Ronde : A Virgins Perspective.

Theres always been this huge energy around Steelhead fishing. Like its the end all be all of fly fishing. I didn't understand why. But after taking a recent trip this last weekend on the Grande Ronde River in the Southeastern Corner of Washington I understood why its such an incredible fish to angle for.

I was invitied on the trip, by a client turned excellent friend, Bill Garnder and Mr Christopher Gwynn, which they have been doing for the last 10+ years. The River itself was a slippery mother fucker but incredibly beautiful as meandered through an arid climate at the base of grassy hills and rock formations or whatever just look at the pictures you'll get the idea of the scenery.

First two days went with out touching a fish, or seeing anyone else touch a fish. Fishing some amazing waters and not hooking up with anything AT ALL it was exactly how imagined steelheading would be. ALOT of fishing and not much catching.

So with day three on the dawn and no one on the trip with a fish in the bag I was bound and determined to get a steelie. As I hustled the boys into thier waders and shuffled them in to the car we drove about 5 mins from our camp spot to place we were going to fish for a bit.

We fished, I got bored, started walking up steam and saw some dude hooked up so I ran up to watch him land the fish and WAS stoked to see someone had finally proved that there WAS fish in the water. Shortly after another dude hooked up in the same spot. So I started and the top of the run and worked my way down in line watching the dude across from me hook and absolute torpedo of steelie that he ended his trip on. So I finally am in the slot, in the zone chief. Its now. the time is right god damn now. At this point I wasn't sure what the freaking fuss was all about. Why the big deal? why? the BAAAAAAAAAAM! FISH ONNNNNNNN! the thing was like missile, the head shakes were drastic, the pull was enormous, the fight was intense! AND THEN I UNDERSTOOD completely. It all made perfectly clear sense why people are so committed to these fish. They are beautiful silver bullets that fight like a stink. So I landed the first steelhead I've ever hooked in my life. and My life changed. It really did. I felt connected with something special. These fish have traveled over 500 miles from the ocean up the Columbia, up the snake, into the Grande Ronde. Not to mention where ever they come from in the ocean probably wasn't anywhere near the mouth of the Columbia. Pure Magic.

So after the pivotal moment in my angling adventures. I worked my way to the top of the pool again to work my way on down. Bill hooked into about 6 steelhead and landed one, and proceeded to hook into another steelhead which I chased down stream, fell multiple times, and still landed the thing as people were stopped in vehicles watching from the road. Chris hooked into few steelhead who got the better half of them and escaped the curve of his hook to swim another day.

If you can and you never have, go fishing for steelhead now. Its magical. And incredible. Here is a few photos from trip. I will post some more of my first Steelhead when I get the photos.

Pine tree shadowing the Ronde.

The Grande Ronde.

Strung and ready to be flung.

Second Steelie.

The Release.

The Silver Bullet.

The Release.

Billy G's landed Steelie.

Fight the Power.

This is the truest bumper sticker I've ever seen. Most of these people are legitimately crazy.
Jah RavenComment