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John Day - Grand Rhonde Advice

9105 Views 29 Replies 14 Participants Last post by  elkhaven
Our trip is finally nearing and I'm wondering if any one out there has advice for camp spots, gotta sees, etc. Were leaving Bozeman (2 trucks, 3 adults and 4, maybe 5 kids) on June 12th, planning on putting in on the JD on the 13th. My thought at this point is to float from Service Creek to Clarno, 4 days. Take out on Monday and make our way over to Troy and float from Troy to Schumacher's tues-thursday. I've floated Clarno to Cottonwood but not above. I've researched both river fairly heavily and feel comfortable with our plan. What i didn't find was much info on camping below Troy on the GR nor much discussion on camping on the service to clarno stretch of the JD. I've seen mention of some gps files, etc. and have a bit of info from a blog I stumbled on but really would love to hear of some awesome camps on either river, river side attractions, etc., etc.

Also we'd be open to some additional folks if you don't mind dogs, kids, beer and fishing...

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On the roude and know its just a couple miles above shumaker on river right across from a nice cliff/rock wall. But it would make a nice last night! Its BLM land and one of the better spots below boggans. Maybe the best below troy.

46 degrees 01' 19.66" N
117 degrees 10' 09.01 W
1163 elev

Not far below troy I've camped at the below quards river right not the best but not much else.

45d 59' 38.83"N
117d 22' 09.48"W

Check it out on google earth.
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Troy to Shumaker is hardly an overnight trip. The river moves 4-5 miles an hour and it is only 27 miles so, 6-7 hours of float time tops. I would suggest taking it all the way down to Heller Bar or running Minam to Troy which is a much more scenic stretch of river.

If you are set on Troy to Shumaker I would stay at Horseshoe bend at Mile 37 and Deer Creek at RM 19.5, of course that just about puts you to Shumaker.
I will second running Minam to Troy over Troy down...

The campsites are plentiful and amazing from Minam to Troy...not so below Troy until after Boggans Oasis.
Thanks! I haven't had a chance to check out the coords as I'm working from a cell connection to my computer but will latter

As for why troy to shum. This trip is mostly about getting kids on bass, the other boat has been planning this for a while but it's his first trip with his twins sans wife. He's not sure how well they'll hold up. That's why were looking for shorter. I'd like to do Minam to Troy and maybe will talk him into it but it doesn't sound like there's bass up there and I plan on going back one of these next few falls to steelhead fish so I'll get to see it then...

How're the narrows... I'm not sure about the WW savy of the other boater and had seen enough to tell me not this time... If I can get good beta on them at flows around what were likely to see I might consider it. or is there another take out between Boggins and HB?
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The narrows are an easy run. The narows are perfect run for a newbe. Total confidence builder. It was my first in a raft! just skirt to river right around the first standing wave and keep your boat straight down the center for the small river wide drop. Maybe drops a foot or two to nice recovery pool. Its a real easy move. Or just go right down the center and keep your boat straight. The wave hole (discombobulater) is very much surf able and a super fun kayak surf wave. Its class 3 at best. The worst part about the narrows is the possibility of snakes on scout. (-: You'd really have to work hard to flip a boat in the narrows at these flows.

The best bass fishing is below shumaker and around the narrows. The water will be warm and any swim would be short. The road runs along the river below the narrows.
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You can order on of these from The Minam Store
I had a difficult time finding one otherwise.

Wallowa-Grande Ronde River Boater Guide Map Details


This has a decent picture reference to a variety of campsites above Troy Ronde/
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Thanks guys. Planted the seed of either Minam to Troy or Troy to Boggans last night. We'll see how that grows... I have seen that float map on several sites, but it's always unnavailable...guess I'll have to go old school and actually call and talk with someone :rolleyes:. Thanks for posting the page just above Boggans, that was an area I was wondering about. Now we'll have to see how the rest goes...

One last question. Could we realistically get a permit for the JD the night before or day of? It looks to me to be an online purchase and print deal with a confirmation follow up. Can that be done that quickly and or the day of put in? We're just trying to stay flexible right now based on a buddy from PDX that may or may not join us.
look down!

The John Day is an agate mine! Our kids take buckets with them on the JD and fill them with fist size agates and jasper. :p My 15 yr old son hits the beach with his head down and legs walking!
perfect, I'm a geologist and both my sons are going to be paleontologists (at this point anyways) so our heads are down more than up. I was hoping for some good invert and veg fossils. Anything find it's way down to river level out of the fossil beds?
:sad: no fossils for us. But maybe we just didn't know what we were looking at. The jasper is fabulous, smooth as butter!
My son is gonna be a "paleantologist" too.:p
This might fit your families education needs

To arrange a group visit to the Wheeler County High School's Fossil beds, contact Wheeler High School in Fossil, Oregon at (541) 763-4303.

Right behind the High School in FOSSIL, achemmm, FOSSIL Oregon is good diggings for plant fossils.

Metasequoia. Oligocene, Bridge Creek Flora. From Wheeler High School Fossil Beds, Fossil, Oregon

Oregon Paleo Lands Center (OPLI)


Fossil Oregon is 20 miles from Clarno Oregon.
Very big cities.
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I might be interested in joining if I happen upon some Extra scratch....Haven't been to the John day yet plus I'd love to catch up on the bozeman gossip lol
Thanks Bill. I've kicked around the beds a bit (spent the first half of my life in Damascus) but was really just hoping to find stuff along the river. That said we usually have a hard time driving past a natural history museum. Once we get itinerary pinned down I may give those folks a call, thanks!

Mtrafter, you'd be welcome. We're supposed to have a final decision from our 3rd boat today (coming from PDX). Send me a PM if it looks like you might make it and I'll start including you in our email train...
I just got off a Minam to Bogan's 5 day float. If you go to the John Day first, you will tired of catching smallmouth so no need to do the lower part of the Grande Ronde. The stretch from Minam to Powatka or Troy is much more scenic than below Troy and camping is much better. Only a few scratchy camps below Troy, most with minmal shade. The Minam store has a guide book for the Grande Ronde and they do shuttles. Saw bear, elk, dear and a moose, all above Troy.
Just got off the JD, perfect weather....perfect flow....perfect friends...fabulous fishing! Have to pay attention to the shallows as the flow is dropping. Bass and catfish aplenty. Two fellas who had stringers of both relied only on worms. We used three or four types of tube jigs, black and green worked really well. Clarno and Cottonwood ramps are small so plan to be quick. Takes some work to spy camps.

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Bear in GR RM 62L camp on the night of June 7-8

Only camp below Troy that's decent is RM 36.8R
Just floated the Service Creek to Clarno section. Awesome, easy trip. Hope to come back with my kids some day. Will look at my boaters guide and get back to you with details on campsites. Lots of great sites to choose from but some better than others. Definitely get the boaters guide if you don't have it.

We were fly fishing and caught 20 to 40 bass a day. Great swimming. Usual snake precautions. You will have a great time!


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Thanks all great intel all the way around!

Still trying to convince the other boat to switch up to the minam section on the GR. hopefully that can my accomplished on the JD. We leave early thursday morning and both the wife and I have super busy work weeks so we packed over the weekend. I even loaded the boat last night, save the blaster, Groover bucket and two large drybags. For the first time in 20 years I won't have huge gear pile, it's crazy, two foot larger boat and I can fit almost everything under the hatches and on the floor. My old set ended with gear at head level behind me...

JD permit is from Service to Clarno, 6/13-6/16.

Can't wait!
Ugh unfortunately I can't make it even though I'm only two hours away,just moved into a new house so I don't have any extra cash handy at the moment to bad your trip wasnt a week later, im itchin to get out overnight just been day floats for me so far this year, new house is only a mile from the deschutes though at least :D
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