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Grande Ronde Wilderness Steelhead Float Trip

with Dennis Dickson $1195 pp for 3 day trip. For the past 25 years, when the leaves turn gold and the air turns crisp, Dennis conducts 3 day steelhead rafting expeditions down the vast wilderness section of the mighty Grande Ronde River.  Many happy clients return year after year. Plan on an intimate flyfishing experience as the Dennis teaches you the exhilarating sport of surface steelhead fly fishing. His hands-on approach caters to a total of three anglers per expedition. As you make your way down the river, you will not only enjoy the breath-taking scenery and call of the wild, as you will experience fly fishing at its finest. . If you are looking for an adventure beyond bobbers & beads, and a flotilla of anglers, this trip is for you. Both single and spey rods are welcome.

Contact Dennis for a complete trip itinerary.

Contact Dennis at ddicksons@aol.com  or 425-238-3537

Dickson’s Grande Ronde Newsletter 2018


“Hard but good”. That is the way I would describe the 2018 steelhead camp-outs on the Ronde.

 I am a lucky guy. Most Outfitters don’t have the accomplished anglers that I do, coming back to the Ronde, year after year.


 Our top producer this year for surface wet flies was our version of the Scorpion. Not sure who exactly came up with this spey pattern but all we did was scale it down until the GR fish found it attractive. Over the years I have noticed these surface rising steelhead like flies that are slim and lively. 

Dennis's Grande Ronde Wilderness Steelhead 3 day float trip $1195 pp

Over thousands of steelhead encountered, I have never seen a steelhead more fussy for size, color & profile in a fly, then the Grande Steelhead. Even with all that, you better stick it right in his lie water, and oh yeah, presentation is everything.


My new assistant Tyler did rise a fish on Crystal Caddis fishing the off hours when he wasn’t rowing the camp raft or helping me or one of the boys.


I have been lucky enough to fish all over the world and for me, the best freshwater experience there is, is taking steelhead on skating flies. Over the years on the Ronde, our little gang of anglers have caught lots of steelhead on dries. My pet pattern, Crystal Caddis seems to be triggered by the October Caddis. This year, not so much. The wild fish seemed to prefer a fly in the surface as opposed to on top, which our anglers were happy to accommodate. BTW: Anyone thinking simply throwing their fly to the other side of the river and letting her rip, is a steelhead presentation is the reason we have gone into many pools right after another outfitter with as many as six angler in their trip & just thrashed the pool for nothing …and we still catch fish.


Russ is a master with the single handed rod can spend a whole trip just skating the surface, but over the years has gotten awfully good at the *nymph swinging and our tried & true, Mrs. Black and Dandy Devine combo.


BTW: I have never seen this *bobberless presentation technique ever used outside our group of anglers). We often fish this floating line presentation as a follow-back, even if the steelhead are not looking up. We have a whole series of flies for fishing this technique, but our two to flies pretty much every year is Mrs. Black & Dandy Devine.


Our newest wet fly spey of the season is one I was trying to get Russ to name. The best we could come up with was “Whatever” so that’s its name “Whatever”.

I wanted a dark surface fly that would counter the scorpion series. The verdict is still out, but it moved enough steelhead to join the ranks of the Dickson flies. Tyler and I are toying with staying with the same colors but tying it scorpion style with its superior landing capabilities. Lovely fly anytime the light is off the water.


Hits & Misses:


Blake has been doing trips with me for nearly 20 years.

He & his boys couldn’t make the connection this year, but he loves the Ronde, and is very good at it. Please don’t ask him about the Chinook…..I am just saying.

Gary never misses the Ronde but his sweet wife just had a surgery this fall and everyone well knows, Family comes first!


I will miss both Blake & Gary a ton.


Top Pools this year on our 18 mile float. (Caution: Theses names wont mean anything to a newbie to the Dickson's gig, but for the boys who fish with us year after year, oh yeah, it will mean a lot.


BLM (of course)

Chinamans rock




Upper long

Poopy Rock

Lower Elk

Ankle Breaker


Old Camp pool

Forest Camp


More notes:

- Broke too many large fish on the 3X Floro

-Scorpion style wet landed @ 80%!

- Assistant Tyler will add another 4 years to my guide years on the Ronde. I found I can spend more time with my guys instead of doing camp chores. Huge help for all.

- Adding full dinners to trip.

- New style of Narrows boat recovery is painless and eliminates an hour of time.

- Everyone gets Dickson flies for their trip.


Final thoughts came from client Thatcher.


Hi Dennis. 

I had a wonderful trip and look forward to spending time with you again on the Ronde next year.  Some pics from this year are attached.  Tyler also has a great video of me running the Lower Narrows It has too much bandwidth for me to email.


Some thoughts about this year:  I have had the privilege of fishing in some fantastic places around the world with some fantastic people.  The Grande Ronde remains one of my favorite rivers on the planet.  I love it for the fishing and the camaraderie, but there are other things that make it extra special.  Floating through a rugged, remote wilderness and not seeing another fishing party for several days is a rarity in today's world.  When I'm alone on the river with no other humans in sight, yet surrounded by deer, elk, turkeys, raptors, water and fish, it's a near-religious experience for me.  It's a time to contemplate the meaning of life and my place in the world.  The paradox is that I can live in the "now" and savor those precious moments on the water, yet also look forward to experiencing the river and all it has to offer again next year.  Past, present and future all come together.  I'm a lucky guy and wouldn't have it any other way.


Thanks Dennis for introducing me to the Grande Ronde many years ago.  Memories of the trips with you and other friends will be with me forever. 


Best wishes, Thatcher 


Best of fishing,


Dennis Dickson, Grande Ronde Outfitter

More Testimonials:


Hi Dennis,

Well, I just got back to civilization and wanted to say thanks for showing me a good

time over on the Grande Ronde. I had so much fun and learned a lot, from all of you

guys. It was my first steelhead trip. I got to fish with Mike the most, I enjoyed his

company and I learned a lot from him. He was always there to help out and to laugh

along with me and my comedy of errors. From over spinning reels to near-dunkings,

I had some good laughs with him!

I also wanted give a big thanks to you for coaching me into that steelhead on a dry. It

was the most exciting thing that's ever happened at the other end of my fly line! Just

to see the take and feel the fish on...I don't see how it can get better than that!

Learning from you that afternoon made getting a fish on top like that for me a total

bonus. It's something I'll remember for the rest of my life and I can't thank you

enough for that. Sincerely,

Willie U.


Hi Guys,

I wanted to pass on my groups sincere thanks for the great time we had fishing the Grand Ronde with Mike, Oct.8-10. He was great!... Food and guiding were great. We all had a blast.
I am also passing on to you a request for Mike's e-mail address. You could even pass this message onto him. we wanted to exchange some pictures and information and they requested that I just request this through your contact. Tell them the boys from Nevada wish them the best and thank them a lot.


Dickson boys,
My wife Julie and I just got back from last weekend's trip to the Grand Ronde. I must say that we had a great time and it was worth every penny of it. Both guides, Mike and Jonathan, were great. As I said during the
Sauk school, I wanted to give my wife Julie a good first trip for steelheading. And she got exactly that. Mike and Jonathan worked with her both days and she was extremely satisfied and excited about all she learned from them. The third day, in the morning, she bounced out of the tent and announced to me that she was going fishing and it was up to me to load the truck!!! And that's what happened. Now to get her on the Skagit this winter or the Stilly this summer and get her first steelhead. I'll definitely book a trip for her with one of them and
she'll get her fish for sure.

I had a great trip also, catching a hatchery fish early on the first day made it easy for me to relax, try different techniques and enjoy the scenery of that fabulous area, The group we were with were very convivial, great conversations, we got along good and the whole trip was enjoyable. And of course, Bill at Boggan's made the food and hospitality excellent. We'll look forward to next year. I'm going to book several
days with Mike on the Kalama to sight fish this September and look forward to that as well.

Btw, Mike said you really like to tie flies and see different patterns so that's why I sent that selection. Those were examples of what I used to tie for the guides and shops in the Keys that I serviced with custom ties. You'll have to excuse the ratty nature of them as those were my personal flies and I always fished my seconds, the ones that weren't cutting the grade to go out to the customers. The fish don't know the difference and they catch fish as well as the top grade ones. So enjoy if you so desire. They all were very good producers and caught fish regularly. I'm going to adapt several to apply to the steelhead swing.
We'll see how it works out.

I'm going to buy a Yancy line from Mike. I can't say enough about your son. He's a great kid and I'm sure you're very proud of him. You're letting the business pass into good hands and it will stay a success. He took care of all our needs, was very attentive to the group as a whole, always exhibiting a pleasant demeanor. His instructions, as well as Jonathon's, to my wife were very clear and she got that jump in skill and confidence to really feel that she can do this sport. So I gained a true fishing partner as well as my best friend as a result. That is priceless. She and I will benefit from this trip for years to come.
Thanks very much for that.

So here's to a good year to come, I'll see you and the boys for sure
next year.
Dallas J.


Dennis --

I just wanted to drop a note to rave about Mike as a guide last Thursday on the Grande Ronde. I would have enjoyed the day on the river with Mike even if I had not caught a single fish, but was absolutely delighted after I was able to catch three steelhead on flies that day. It got even better, however. I had to be back in Walla Walla by early afternoon on Friday for Parents Weekend at Whitman College. I was so enthusiastic by our success on Thursday, I decided to fish a couple of hours Friday morning before heading out. As a testament to Mike's teaching skills I managed to land three more steelhead between 7:30am and 10:00am that morning. Needless to say I will be back to the Grande Ronde in the future. Its a beautiful river with obviously very good opportunities to hook and land steelhead on flies. What a trip!

Again, Mike was great and I look forward to the opportunity to fish with one or both of you again. Best wishes.



Read More Testimonials Here