It is also prized by many local residents as a casual float trip river.
The lower stretch of the “Ronde” is accessible at it’s confluence with the Snake via the county road (Snake River Road) from the small town of Asotin. There is approximately 5 miles of access along this section of river. The Grande Ronde is then roadless for several miles upstream to the next access point from the Shumaker Road, north and east of Anatone, WA. The river has another few miles of roadless canyon upstream to what is known as Boggan’s. At this point State Hwy 129 intersects the river and the Grande Ronde Road parallels the river from this point upriver to the Oregon line.
The roadless areas are easily reached by small raft or dory with the common launch sites being Boggan’s or the Shumaker Road. From Boggan’s to Shumaker is an easy one day float leaving plenty of time for fishing and sightseeing during the trip. The same applies from Shumaker downstream to the confluence; this stretch is somewhat longer but easily done in a day. You will find numerous species of wildlife in the canyon ranging from small game to bighorn sheep, eagles and game birds.
There are ample unimproved camping areas along the river, some with toilet facilities but none with power or sewage stations. Much of the river is bordered by private property, especially in the upper areas. The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) manages a large area downstream of the Shumaker access and some areas are under Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and U.S. Forest Service (USFS) control. Check with these agencies for additional information on recreational opportunities, seasons, permit requirements and maps of the region.
As mentioned above, Grande Ronde Steelhead fishing tops the list in popularity but the river hosts a good population of Rainbow Trout and Smallmouth Bass which provide very good fishing throughout the late spring, summer and fall months.
Check the regulations for the area you will be fishing, these regs vary throughout the river and on it’s tributaries and also change from season to season. The river lends itself well to all types of fishing from light tackle spin gear to flyfishing.
On the lower section of the river is the Joseph Creek Wildlife Management area, this public property is managed by the WDFW for public recreation including camping, fishing and hunting. The area has a good population of elk, mule deer and wild turkey along with game birds and predators large and small. Joseph Creek, a major tributary to the Grande Ronde, flows through this area and also provides excellent fishing for trout and bass.
The following links will provide further information on this unique area.
The Grande Ronde River enters the state of Washington approximately 38 miles upstream from its confluence with the Snake River.
This fabulous little river provides a year round fishery for many species. While it is best known as a winter steelhead destination for most of its dedicated followers, it also harbors a good population of rainbow trout and Smallmouth Bass.