Who Wants a Free Fly Rod?

If you want a chance at winning a free fly rod, a really good one at that, you have come to the right place.  To celebrate and promote our first year offering guide services we will be giving away two fly rods: a Sage One Switch Rod 11’6” 7 weight ($850 value) and a PacBay Quickline Switch Rod 11’ 7 weight ($300 value).  Both of these rods will be custom made by me.  How do you win? Continue reading

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Low Water Rafting for Early Grande Ronde Steelhead: September 21-23, 2012

Low water rafting trips on the Grande Ronde can be a lot of fun.  What’s even more fun is low water rafting trips where you catch steelhead.  Low water for purposes of the Grande Ronde is somewhere below 750 cfs.  From 750 cfs up, the Grande Ronde is pretty manageable.  Below 750 cfs and you better pack light, have excellent water reading skills, and be a good rower.  Oh, and be willing to get out of your raft to push it off that barely submerged rock you didn’t see when you were gawking at the bear or eagle by the river.  You should also be prepared to get out and walk your boat through some shallow gravel bars.  The lighter your raft’s load, the better your rowing skills, and the better your water reading skills the easier time you will have getting down the river at low water.  Lottie and I headed down the river to search for early steelhead with the river gauge running at 550 cfs. Continue reading

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Early Steelhead on the Imnaha: September 15, 2012

When September hits it is hard for me to not think about Steelhead.  Although September is early to find steelhead in most eastern Oregon waters, it doesn’t stop me from dreaming of them, tying flies for them and heading to the river to try and welcome the early arrivals.  For the past several years I have made September hikes down the Imnaha River trail fishing my way to the Snake in search of early steelhead.  There are never many, but usually I manage to find a few willing. Continue reading

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Packrafting the Minam River from Bearwallow Trailhead: July 27-29, 2012

On my previous packrafting trip into the Minam River two weeks earlier I had tried to talk Jerry into hiking in from the Bearwallow trailhead up to Standley and then down into the canyon a few miles upstream from Red’s Horse Ranch.  Starting from the Bearwallow trailhead is certainly longer and harder than the Moss Springs trail, but it also gets a lot less use and looked like a more interesting hike than going from Moss Springs.  Jerry was not swayed, wanting to stick with the shorter easier hike for the packraft’s first true initiation.  Since I couldn’t convince Jerry to try it with me, I decided to do it on my own. Continue reading

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What the . . . HAIL! July 17, 2012

Sometimes I come up with good ideas for adventures and sometimes I come up with less good ideas.  But I hate to call many of them, even if they go badly off script, bad ideas.  One idea that went somewhat bad this year was taking a two seater inflatable kayak into the Minam River so Jeff and I could fish our way back to the Minam Store. Continue reading

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Packrafting the Minam River from Red’s Horse Ranch to Minam. First Test for the Baylee River Runner Packrafts: July 14-15, 2012

I have been planning a packrafting trip on the Minam River all winter.  Most float trips on the Minam River begin at Red’s Horse Ranch in the middle because there is a small section of property here that is not wilderness area with an airstrip.  The airstrip makes Red’s the easiest starting point for boaters (there is also an airstrip at the Minam Lodge near Red’s).  I had high hopes of making a longer trip starting at least as high as Elk Creek with the new self-bailing Baylee River Runner pack rafts.  But the pack rafts showed up later than I was hoping and schedules for floating simply did not allow for a longer float trip.  I settled for the classic Minam run, Red’s Horse Ranch to Minam town. Continue reading

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Hiking the Entire Minam River: July 1-6, 2012

Over this past winter I decided that 2012 would be the year of the Minam River.  I have spent years learning the Wenaha River and Joseph Creek intimately and it is now the Minam River’s turn.  I made an initial 4 day hike into the Minam several years ago and explored about 12 miles of river.  Last year I made 3 fly fishing trips into the Minam River and hiked a whole lot of miles and covered a significant portion of the river that I had not seen during the first trip.  These first 4 trips were all late summer though, towards the end of August and first of September.  To know a river well, I like to fish all of it and throughout the seasons.  After two hard hikes into Joseph Creek to get my legs and body ready for a longer backpacking trip, I planned a week long Eagle Cap Wilderness hike that would take me from Two Pan trailhead on the Lostine River, up to Minam Lake where the Minam River used to begin (before it was all diverted to the Lostine), and all the way down the Minam River to its confluence with the Wallowa River at Minam town. Continue reading

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Hot Off the Press: Joseph Creek featured in NW Flyfishing

Hot off the Press: Joseph Creek is featured in the September/October 2012 issue of Northwest Fly Fishing.  The article is by fishingandhiking.com’s very own resident fishing “expert” Grant Richie.  The feature article is a very nice 8 pages long with great photos showing not only bears, rattlesnakes, and mountain goats but also showcasing the debut of several fly fishing models including long time friend of the blog and first time fly fishing model, Jeff Northam; wife of resident fishing expert and co-owner and operator of Minam Raft Rentals, Lottie Richie; and for the first time seen in print, The Boys (Kolby, Mason, & Brenden) shooting their sling shots on a hike into Joseph Canyon. Continue reading

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Searching for the mythical trail #1725 to Joseph Creek: June 23-24, 2012

Looking at an Oregon Atlas, Wallowa-Whitman National Forest map, or even the very detailed and usually accurate Wallowa Valley Ranger District map would have you believe that there is a trail numbered 1725 coming off Table Mountain and heading down into Joseph Creek.  I tried to find that trail several years ago.  I even had my GPS and walked to the exact point it was supposed to start and then zig-zagged down the mountain side trying to pick up a piece of the old trail.  I eventually came to a bluff and took the easiest route around and down to Joseph Creek, giving up on the idea of the trail being there.  I have stated multiple times that trail #1725 does not exist, but there it is on the map taunting me and over the past several years, working a small doubt into my mind, “Maybe there is a trail there and I just didn’t find it.”  I hate nagging doubts and decided to head to Table Mountain again to see if I could find the elusive trail # 1725. Continue reading

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The Boys’ Turn to Row: June 2012

Since my wife, Lottie, and I bought the Minam raft rental business it has really opened up a lot of new outdoor opportunities for us as a family.  It is difficult to do backpacking trips with kids.  It can be done and we do them, but it is difficult at times.  Rafting the Grande Ronde, however, is much easier to do with a family.  No need to worry about how much gear because rafts can haul way more gear then you want to mess around with.  At least, more gear than I want to mess around with. Continue reading

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