Grand Rhonde "help" [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Grand Rhonde "help"

02-18-2002, 01:36 PM
Went fishing on the Grand Rhonde River above Cottonwood Creek. Tried Nymps, Gold Bead Larve, Hot Pink Streamers (pardon my blunt description - I don't know the tech. names)
Then tried yarn and hook. Didn't get so mush as a bite.

What are the steelhead biting? Are they feeding or triggerd by action and colors. Any help or tips would really be a great help.

I'm new to fly fishing and am really enjoying much more than drifting yarn and corkey.

Thank you,


02-18-2002, 02:45 PM
First thing is find some water that is NOT good drift water but good fly wate... inside bends of the river with good boulder pattens, scooped out gravel scallops on the bottom from the last high water, or nice current seams. Look for a place where the fly can be swum just above the tops of the rocks at half the current speed to entice that big nasty buck to come up a foot and yank that flyrod right out of your hands. Look for a place where you can cast, swing, step, and repeat to cover 300 yards of river bank - don't stand in one spot but go back and cover it again if you think the fish were there and didn't respond. In winter maximize the hang down time of your fly in good water.

The fly is not the most important part - here is my checklist (other's may agree or disagree):

1) presence of fish
2) presentation
3) fly

all are critical but unless you have #1 and #2, #3 is irrelevant.

That being said I prefer a lively pattern in winter, for a simple tie try black, purple or other dark marabous with highlight colors; or layer white marabou, orange and a red streak (back to front). Bunny leeches are also easy and work great. Wooly buggers will work, try purple or black there too.

Don't present it like a drift rig, hold the line back slightly to make the fly dance in the current. Let it dance right where the fish are sitting. Use a sinktip to lower the column in which the fly dances. Believe that fish will move to the fly, because in flyfishing you move the fish to the fly, not the fly to the fish like drift fishing.

Good luck!

02-18-2002, 04:02 PM
Great advice Juro. Your last line has put into words what I have been trying to say to people. "Bring the fish to the fly not the fly to the fish".

I have been having better than average success so far this year. The reasons, I believe, are luck, there are fish in the river, #1, and I've made some changes to my presentation. First off, most of the people I know have been fishing type 6 sink tips while I have stuck to a type 3. Second, I have switched to a flurocarbon tippet. Third, I changed the knot I use to attach the fly. Most people are using the heavier tips because of higher water levels than previous years. That may be true but, I think that the flows in the known runs are basically the same just higher up the bank and the heavier tips are putting thier offerings right on the bottom. The fluorocarbon tippets are stiffer and turn over better on the cast allowing the fly to be "fishing" that much sooner. Also with the type 3 sink tips the line rides higher up in the column but, the fluorocarbon sinks a little more than nylon and in my opinion puts the fly a foot or so off the bottom. Perfect. I have change my knot that attaches my fly to a different loop style knot than most use. I don't think that it is any better than other loop knots except maybe strength. I think that some sort of loop knot is very important to allow the fly to "swim".

Comments please?

02-19-2002, 09:54 PM
The Grande Ronde was my home water when I lived in Eastern Oregon between 1993 and 1998. I was blessed at hooking up with a co-worker that had been fishing the River since he was a kid, and he shared a little of his knowledge with me concerning the Grande Ronde.

#1: 90% of the runs look like they will hold fish, but only 5-10% will produce.
#2: Find the water with good size boulders and structure and you have found the good water.
#3: Swinging black and purple egg-sucking leaches is all he used in the Winter with a very heavy sinktip when water temps are very low;
#4: Fish the Wallow River Canyon area in the spring with glow-bugs and nymphs for the hatchery steelhead.

I know these rules sound simple and make complete sens to someone who knows a couple of those good runs, but if you fish the area enough you will find them.

Good luck.