With the some of the driest weather the N.W. has had in some time, i find myself searching for the cure...
The Grande ronde is on my list with flows all month pushing just above normal. Winter fish are going to holp up in the slow deep buckets of most every run from Troy to the mouth. Put your warm fleece on and a good hat as you venture out into the cold and unforgiving waters of any winter river.
My best technique is to use a type 4 ten foot tip with a short tippet of 10lbs, short for me means about 30 inches. Tie on a Purple Intruder with a little flash in it and start the Steelhead two step. Just like most dry side rivers in N.W. the temps drop during the night and regain there warmth about mid day, and thats when you will find me knee deep in my favorite run.
The other rivers on the east side, Methow, Klickitat, the Umatilla and the upper John Day. (from Service creek up) Its the same techniques , Buckets with tips and a purple spey fly...I will add that the "takes" can be very soft depending on water temps. Temps of 36, 37, are just on the edge of good fishing. Check your river temps and watch your step. I find in the winter the water can warm on a decent day by 5 to 8 degrees and that will make the difference. Its also why I am not much in a hurry in the early part of the day. If waters are too low fish a smaller fly. This of course is completely different on the west side of the Mountains where we see a much more constant water temps and air temperatures on a daily bases. The rivers on the O.P. for example move from 42 to 45 degrees on an average winter day. Rain also warms water temps as well...making for some amazing grabs ! I still fish tips but I fish the entire run while on the O.P. and lots of times with a bright Orange, Pink or Red Spey style fly. Just a little food for thought for this 2014 season. Tight lines