Fly Fishing The Wallowa River Oregon
The Wallowa River's headwaters begin in the Eagle Cap
Wilderness as a small stream that flows into Wallowa
Lake. The main river flows from Wallowa Lake in the
Wallowa Mountains of Oregon a distance of about fifty
miles to its confluence with the Grande Ronde River.

The upper part of the river below the lake, flows through
a valley of farmland. The lower section flows into a
rugged canyon and at its end, joins the Minam River.
This is a very good rainbow trout stream with steelhead
appearing the first of the year and peaking in February
and early March. Fly fishing the Wallowa River is good
during much of the year.

The steelhead are caught on most traditional fly
patterns using nymphs and swinging wet flies. The
rainbows are mostly caught using nymphs but the dry fly
fishing can be good at certain times of the year.

The lower section of the river, approximately ten miles
long, isn't easily accessed. Steelhead move into this part
of the river from the Grande Ronde in January and
continue to move upriver into the more accessible areas
in February.

Above the town of Minam there's about nine miles of the
river directly accessible from highway #82. It's a
beautiful canyon section of the river and a popular one
during the peak season. This section of the river,
consisting mostly of pocket water, is also a great area
for catching the resident rainbows. The best rainbow
trout fishing takes place from sometime in June,
depending on the weather, through September.

Most of the rainbows average about 12 inches but go up
to as large as 18 and over. The section from the lake to
Wallowa flows through private property. In most cases,
you can probably obtain permission from land owners to

Something unique about this area is the "steelhead
train" that runs up and down a ten mile stretch of the
river each Saturday in February and March. It drops
anglers off in the morning and picks them back up in the
afternoons. This is a function of one of the lodges.

Whether you prefer to chase steelhead or wild rainbows,
the Wallowa River provides you the opportunity in a
beautiful setting. The Wallowa River is an excellent
rainbow trout fishery from the point it leaves Wallowa
Lake to flow through the Wallowa Valley, through the
Wallowa Canyon.  Steelhead are in the river during the
Spring and Fall. There's two hatcheries, one at Big
Canyon and one just below Enterprise. Although
steelhead are found in all sections of the river at times
most of the fishing is done below the Big Canyon

The season varies with species, so be sure to check the
current regulations
Steelhead fishing peaks from January through February
Late Spring can be okay for rainbows depending on the
runoff and weather.
Fly fishing the Wallowa River for rainbows is best during
the summertime.
Early Fall can produce some rainbows

Fly Fishing Gear, Tackle and Trout Flies
Copyright 2016 James Marsh
Type of Stream
Freestone/ Tailwater-note: Wallawa
Lake was a natural lake raised by a
dam. It is no longer used for
electricity, only for water storage.

Rainbow Trout

Small to Medium, 50 miles long

Northeastern Oregon

Nearest Towns

Varies with species


Non-Resident License
State of Oregon

National Weather Service

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