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If the name of this lodge seems biased, wait until you meet the guides! Located on the Grande Ronde River near Troy, Oregon, this low-key, high-value operation is where some of the Northwest’s finest steelheaders and Spey casters congregate for two months of guiding and instruction. Renowned Spey casting instructor Scott O’Donnell heads a crew of diehard steelhead guides who love the Ronde and the steelhead it sustains. As much a Spey casting and fishing school as a hard-charging guiding operations, this is the best place we know of to learn the art of Spey casting and improve your swing fishing skills. Offering two distinct options on different sections of the river, Speywater Lodge continues to improve and impress.

Scott has deep roots in the sport stemming back to the 1980s and his time serving the Navy in Washington state. There he met another like-minded soul, Dec Hogan, and together they learned to steelhead fish and Spey cast. Scott guided winter steelhead on the Sauk and Skagit for many years before relocation to the northern Oregon coast to do more of the same. In the meantime, he spent more than 25 seasons guiding in Alaska, designed the very first RIO Products Skagit lines and enjoyed the pleasure and recognition of being a Sage Ambassador.

It’s now been more than 20 years since Scott first laid eyes on the river that he would eventually call home. For much of that time Scott had a simple game plan: run multi-day float trips on the lower portion of the river in the early season and move the operation upriver to a rental house turned short-term lodge later in the season when temperatures dropped. Over time, Scott expanded his operation and more importantly, he and his wife Stephanie fell more deeply in love with the Grande Ronde. In 2014, with the purchase of their own permanent Speywater Lodge facility, Scott and Stephanie are now proud to call the Grande Ronde home and share their love and knowledge of this river with their guests.

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