The Wallowa River begins in the Eagle Cap Wilderness and flows into Wallowa Lake. The river above Wallowa Lake is fun to fly fish for Rainbow and Eastern Brook Trout. The West Fork mostly contains Rainbow Trout, while the East Fork contains Eastern Brook Trout.
The river below the lake flows through private farmland until it enters the canyon north of Wallowa. The canyon portion of the river has a railway on one side and Hwy 82 on the other side. The bridge at the town of Minim is where Hwy 82 leaves the canyon and where it joins the Minim River. The section of the river below the Minim continues for a few miles until it joins with the much warmer Grande Ronde River.
The Wallowa River farmland portion is an excellent fishery for Rainbow trout, though there is limited access (be sure to ask permission before entering private property). Rainbows in the range of 16 to 20 inches are common in this section of the river.
The canyon portion of the Wallowa River has several easy access points along Hwy 82. If you fish this section it is worthwhile to cross the river if low enough and walk the railroad tracks to fish areas not easily reachable from the road.
There are two areas to fish the Wallowa River below the Minam. The first is to walk a very primitive trail down river from Minam Park. The second, and better approach, is to park at the Minam/Wallowa confluence and the hike railroad tracks along the river. During February and March the Wallowa River provides good Steelhead fishing especially from Big Canyon Fish Hatchery to the Grand Ronde confluence. We recommend going to the Joseph Fly Shop for supplies and advice on fishing the Wallowa River.