Friday, March 17, 2017

Where can we going fishing?

The un-fishable Walla Walla River in March at the OR-WA stateline

The evening of 15 March, President Dave called our meeting to order at 7:10.
We had 22 members and guest in attendance.
A friend... once made the heartening observation--- "It is always easy to say something pleasant about fishing."
~ Charles E. Goodspeed
Dave announced that he had been in contact with the management at Waterbrook Winery, concerning our ongoing and annual Fly Fishing Fair at their facility for 2017.  Usually we have this activity in late May or early June. Waterbrook tells us that their facility is booked for every weekend into October this year. 

So the call goes out… “Where can we have our Walla² Fly Fishers'  2017 Fly Fishing Fair?”
If you have any suggestions please contact President Dave ~ As Soon As Possible.

Vice-President Tom announced that this Saturday the 18th, will be the local Walla Walla 4-H Super Saturday and with helper Diane being ill this week, he could use some additional help between 9:30 – 10:30 am with fly casting and fly tying demonstrations at this event.
If you can help Tom with this one, please contact him ~ As Soon As Possible.

Dave asked if we could get more volunteer fly tying instructors to help with our club’s Project Healing Waters fly tying at the Walla Walla Vet Center, each Thursday evening. Dale has been helping / directing with this activity most Thursday evenings during winter, but his spring schedule will be taking him out-of-town a lot in the near future. Please let Dave know if you can lend a helping hand.

Being March, most anglers thoughts are about steelhead fishing this time of year. Since most stillwaters are still frozen over, and all streams and rivers of the area are “blown-out” with high water, we come back to the question, Where can we go fishing?

This evening our program did offer part of an answer. We had Grant and Lottie Richie from the Minam Raft Rentals and fishing guide service with us. 

Grant was telling us that the high waters of the Minam, Wallowa, and Grande Ronde rivers, was also keeping those rivers angler free. Not only were the waters at high flow, there was 2-3-4 feet of snow cover in much of that area, so the returning steelhead are safe from hooked lips at this time.
Grant went on to say as soon as the flow do drop, and the rivers clear that he and his guide help will be back on the rivers. He pointed out, that even though much of the area’s river bank are not accessible, the rivers would be floatable and fishable, this the high flows pushing the steelhead and bull trout closer to the shore and behind structure, making them more congregated, easier to find, and lip sore.
Being the Wallowa River is the center of Grant’s home-waters guide service at Minam, OR, this writer will use this excerpt from the 2017 ODFW Regulations to focus on most days fishing opportunities with Grant.

Wallowa River
• Open for hatchery steelhead Jan 1 -
Apr 30 and Sep 1 - Dec 31, from the mouth
upstream to Trout Creek.
• Open all year for trout.
• 5 hatchery rainbow trout per day, 8 inch
minimum length.
• Wild rainbow trout must be released.
• Use of bait allowed.

With the issue of currently high water flows throughout the region, Grant was asked his suggestion for the best angling flows, for his home waters. He tells us that if the water is mostly clear (so that a fly is visible) in the spring 2500 cfs is a good flow, for summer wading angling 400-700 cfs is ideal. These flows can be found with a Google search.

The Grande Ronde River offers its best fishing at 800-2500 cfs; but at 30,000 cfs, don't go near the water.

Again Grant and Lottie’s program this evening was full of enticing photography he had developed over the past year’s outing on the Wallowa and Grande Ronde rivers. Grant tells us that the Minam River is a beautiful place to hike into and fish, but the quantity and size of fish there are not of the same caliber as that of the Wallowa River.
Being a picture is worth about 1000 words, this writer will let Grant's photo tell his story of angling the Wallowa, Minam, and Grande Ronde rivers country.


If you would like to join Grant in reading about more of his NE Oregon fishing adventures, he has a very interesting blog with many of his adventures posted at ~~

Again this year Grant and Lottie are hosting a "Wine, Food & Fun on the river!" run on the Wallowa River May 29-31.

This will be a 40 mile float trip on the Wallowa and Grande Ronde rivers, and NOT your ordinary rafting trip. Experience lovely scenery and fun whitewater, fabulour wines created by Mike Berghan of Gifford Hirlinger estate-grown wines, and meals prepared by Chef Andrae Bopp.

Contact Grant at 541-437-1111 for details and seat reservations.

Thank You again Lottie and Grant for sharing your past year's river ~ fishing experiences with us this evening.
Keep up the good work, see you on the river.

Our meeting was adjorned at 7:50.

The un-fishable Walla Walla River in March at the OR-WA stateline
So until the snow-melt runoff is over, the daily rains subsides, the lake and ponds turn over, it appears most of the Walla² Fly Fishers will have to dream of better days to come, and tye flies in preparation for early spring-time angling.

Our next monthly meeting will be Wednesday April 19th at:

Smith's Family Restaurant
1425 Pine Street

Dinner and social at 6:00 pm with meeting following at 7:00
Come one, come all, come as you are.
Our meetings are open to the interested fly fishing public.

Respectfully submitted,
Dale McKain
Club Secretary