Another fall season on the Ronde has come to a close. October is over, and winter is settling in. As the water temperature drops, the steelhead slow down and the floating line fishing tapers off. Through the cold months the fish will still take a deep swung fly, but to me, the surface oriented fall fishing is what makes the Grande Ronde magical. And we had some awesome surface fishing this season! The warm weather stayed with us until about the end of October and kept fish aggressively chasing waked or skated flies almost the entire month. We got to see some heart-pounding steelhead antics: high cartwheeling jumps, fast runs into the backing and one feisty steelie who attacked a waking fly more than a dozen times in six casts.
Thank you to everyone who came down and fished with us this season, I had some great guys and gals in my boat! I got to enjoy watching several friends old and new land their first steelhead, their first on a surface fly, or better yet, both at the same time. I love seeing the excitement those first few fish give a new steelheader. Every time another one darts out of my hands and disappears back into the river, I stand up and realize I just had as much fun as the angler who landed the fish.
I also want to thank Dec Hogan, Lori Ann Murphy, and Pat Gaydos for helping make our 3 day trips an awesome experience. Dec has a true gift as a casting instructor. Every year I'm amazed how much I learn observing him during these trips. Lori Ann is the most experienced, authentic fly fishing character you'll meet, and a hell of a lot of fun to fish and guide with. Pat rows our big heavy gear boat, sets up our big, heavy camp every day, and does it all with a huge contagious grin on his face. He's also one of my favorite people to fish with on a day off. Declan, LA, and Patty, thanks a bunch!
See you on the water, hopefully this winter- Gus