Friday, September 25, 2015

Fishing the Wallowa Country with Grant Richie

Barbara - Grant, fishing with Minam Raft Rentals / Fishing Guides

Just received a great fishing report from Grant Richie, fishing and guiding on the Wallowa and Grande Ronde rivers.
#10 Orange Stimulator / October Caddis - Dicosmoecus


October Caddis are hatching heavily all the way up the Wallowa on this last trip including the highway section of the Wallowa. 
Before, they were only hatching strong on the Grande Ronde.  

I guided Barbara, for her first time on the Grande Ronde. She picked up on the right kind of water to fish very quickly and Day 1 was a lot of learning how to fish a river and how to respond to the many strikes.  

Day 2 Barbara was keyed in and I had to start calling her “Barbara The Fish Slayer” as she fished well and caught a lot of fish and a lot of big fish including rainbows pushing 20 inches, incidental bull trout over 20 inches, hog whitefish, and the first steelhead of the trip which was pushing 25".  

Unfortunately the steelhead was her first big fish of the day and she was not used to the power and strength a steelhead has.  She tried over powering the steelhead at one point which gave us a great view of the large bright fish, but snapped the tippet in doing so.

We didn't see as much wildlife as some trips, but we did see elk, mountain goats, deer, and otters on this trip as well as the usual bald eagles, golden eagles, osprey, and typical waterfowl.  

The fall weather was absolutely perfect and the canyon is beginning to show its fall colors.

Dick and Maria were the other 2 club members who joined us and they were supported guests.  We took care of all the food and camp while they rowed their own boat down the river and fished.  It is my understanding that Maria is just learning to fly fish and this was Dick's first time rowing the Grande Ronde and his first low water trip.  

They both had a learning curve to overcome on this trip, Maria with learning to fly fish and Dick with learning how to read low water channels.  They were both great company at camp.

Two of my fly fishing guides joined us on the trip and worked on their "continuing education" hours as they fished themselves.  We also had one supported guest from Joseph.  As a group we hooked into 3 steelhead on the trip including one hatchery hen 23" long.  That combined with a lot of big rainbows, bull trout, and whitefish made for 4 days of excellent fishing.

Grant - owner/guide

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

The Cross Trail Outfitters sitting camp in our Walla Walla area

President Tom called this meeting to order at 7:15p. This evening we had 12 members and guest in attendance. 

President Tom’s first order of business was to ask the group for thoughts and comments on changing our monthly meeting date to be moved to the third Wednesday of each month – September through May. Everyone in attendance agreed that there was no foreseeable problem with such a change, so the motion was made and voting passed that our future meeting will be held on the third Wednesday of the month. Our next regularly scheduled meeting will be Wednesday, October 21.

After having had kidney surgery just a little over a week ago, it was good to see VP Dave at this meeting. Dave was doing well, but sore. He tells us it will be awhile before he can maneuver a fly rod, but eager to start steelhead fishing from the banks of the Mighty Columbia River very soon. Dave is looking good, for a guy who was in serious trouble a couple of weeks ago. 

Tom then brought up the fact that he wished to resign from the position of club President, at the first of the year 2016. VP Dave said he would be willing to step into that position, but wish to have the floor open to anyone/ everyone that would like to consider being our next club President.

There was no other new business for the evening, except for the The Cross Trail Outfitters (CTO) program presentation by Jason Peterson, so for awhile we had a round table discussion of member’s fishing activities for the summer.

It was discussed the fact that in Oregon and Washington both we had limited hours of daily fishing this summer; on most streams and rivers due to the heat and drought. This summer's fishing opportunities were limited to the hours of sunrise to 2:00 pm. Many streams and some rivers were closed to fishing all together. Tom announced that Yakima River fishing had re-opened and that Troutwater fishing guide service was resuming their regular scheduled activities. It was mentioned that Grant Richie at Minam Raft Rentals had suspended his fishing guide service for a while during the summer, but was back in active business and six of our "active" club members were heading that way this afternoon to fish with Grant for a couple of days.

Tom told us that he had some fair fishing this summer on the Klickitat River, but that the waters there were turbid from glacial melt off the Cascade Mountains. He brought up that the word had gone out looking for a club steelhead fishing run for the Deschutes River, but that trip was stalled due to milky glacial melt and low water flows at Moody near Biggs. We discussed trying to make a Deschutes River steelhead fishing trip asap, and "working" on the John Day River as soon as the water flow come up enough to swing a fly.

November steelheading on the John Day River

Robert reported that he and wife Sheri had spent the previous day fishing Jubilee Lake, and been quite successful filling their creel, but found none of the large triploid rainbow trout stocked in that lake.

Jubliee Lake off Umatilla Forest Road 64


Herb reported that he had a fun day fishing on Bennington Lake for largemouth bass and found his new concept –a Squid fly- was quite successful in bringing bass to his call.

Harold and Robin told us of their summer adventure into Idaho’s Clarke Fork River. There they spent 3 days floating the river, with the first day mostly in exploration and fly testing. The second and third days were enjoyed with much success and Robin again out fishing/catching Harold by 2 to 1, with both having a lot of fun and enjoyment. On the second and third days they reported that many of the fish caught were in the size range of 10”-25” trout.

Diane gave us her report of fishing the Missouri River in early June. She reported a lot of nice big trout hookups, beautiful country, and perfect weather was enjoyed. She told us that this was a most worthwhile fishing trip and would do it again when the opportunity arises.

Dale reported the announcement from ODFW early in September to the club via email, that a number of stocked trout fishing ponds across the southern Blue Mountains were going to be rotenone to wipe out the trash fish and that the trout size and creel limits had been lifted from these ponds. With this announcement in effect Dale and Terry headed for the hills -Notellem Trout Pond- the afternoon of 9 September, and fished to their hearts’ content. On the right day, many of these stocked gravel pit ponds will offer 12-25+ trout hookups per hour and some are stocked with triploid rainbow trout.
Notellem stocked trout pond at the crest of the Blue Mountains

After the fishing reports, Tom introduced our speaker for this evening’s program – Jason Peterson.
Jason Peterson

Jason is the director of the Walla Walla Chapter of Cross Trail Outfitters (CTO). This Walla Walla Chapter is the furthest chapter in the western US beyond those in Texas. We found that we are lucky to have such an organization in our midst.
The Cross Trail Outfitters - Walla Walla is a youth hunting and fishing club, guiding youth to Jesus Christ through the great outdoors. With the youth of our area Walla Walla and Umatilla counties this organization conducts outing for hunting – pheasant and deer, fishing – for bass, trout, steelhead and salmon. 
Elk hunting in the Blue Mtns


Bow practice on Valley Chapel Road

Fishing on Omak Lake

CTO camping on Omak Lake with the kids

Their next major outing will be steelhead fishing float trip on the John Day River, OR – October 24-26.
This organization is NOT just for boys, but centers on working, playing, educating young people (mostly fatherless) ages 7 to 20. Most of the kids that Jason is now working with are ages 6-9 yo.
Jason’s presentation this evening to our club was also asking for volunteer help with the organization’s fishing adventures and fly tying classes. Most of their “skill nights” have a turnout of 20 to 30 kids and adults volunteers. Currently CTO has a large facility southwest of Walla Walla on Valley Chapel Road where they conduct the indoor programs in preparation for their outdoor activities.

If you would be interested in “working” with Jason Peterson within the CTO organization please contact him at

Our meeting was adjourned at 8:00 pm.

Respectfully submitted,
Dale McKain
Club Secretary

Tom Craig – President
Dave Stemmer – Vice President
Doug Coe – Treasurer
Dale McKain – Secretary - Blogmaster 
Gerald Newell - PROJECT HEALING WATERS Coordinator