Can't catch 'em from your couch
Yes, it's official. Steelhead have been caught in the Grande Ronde system. Actually, it's been official for awhile now, I'm just getting around to posting about it.
Some brief text with Kelby Braun, our Grande Ronde steelhead guide, have been summarized as this: there are fish to be caught, it's not easy, but there are some.
It'll be a harder year with a low return. Those are just the facts. If you don't go and put your fly in the water, you will not catch any steelhead. Those are also facts.
Customer friends and Kelby have hooked into steelhead in the Snake River, mouth of the Grande Ronde, and up near Boggan's.
Remember, there is no magical barrier that stops fish from traveling up the river. Steelhead are going to enter the river to some degree no matter what the conditions are. They just traveled hundreds of miles to get there.
Yes, it is true that water temps, bumps in flows, etc play roles in enticing fish into the system. I've also fished the Grande Ronde early enough, low enough, and with not "optimum" temps to know that I've caught fish in a lot of scenarios which tells me that they are going to enter the Ronde no matter what. They have a job to do.
Currently there is no official word if the Grande Ronde will close or not for the season. Just speculation.
Is the river busy? Good question. Yes and no. Some days have been busy already, some have not. With the Clearwater River being closed it COULD potentially put more pressure on the Grande Ronde. My crystal ball is not working though.
My suggestion... go down and check it out. You can't catch 'em from your couch as Bo says...