This river cuts through the middle of the Bob Marshall Wilderness, offering unbelievable dry fly fishing for cutthroat, and streamer fishing for bull trout. Copyright © 1997 - 2020 The Go Travel Sites. The river also runs through a deep, nearly impassable gorge for several miles (called Meadow Creek Gorge) just upstream of the pack bridge, thus forcing anglers to go further upstream to fish. Complete the form below to email this page to a friend or family member's email. The float season on the lower Middle Fork extends from Searchable list of Kalispell tour companies, guides and outfitters, rental companies and more. Absaroka River Adventures, Absarokee. For those who seek it, the Bob is a wonderful place to find solitude, especially in the areas away from the better-known areas such as the Chinese Wall. Working with researchers from the University of Montana, crews set up 13 monitoring cameras at various segments of the Flathead River during the 2017 and 2018 float season to document existing uses. The North Fork Flathead River originates 50 miles across the border in British Columbia, Canada. Fish in the North Fork run on the small size (8-12”) because when the parent rock, argillite, breaks down it doesn’t contain much of the big fish producing nutrients that can be found in the productive limestone waters elsewhere in Montana. Prior to this modification, all water released came from the bottom of the dam – where the water was coldest. However, if you’re not, here’s something else to consider before putting that trout into the frying pan. The rugged area includes the landscapes of Glacier National Park and the Bob Marshall and Great Bear Wilderness areas. Hungry Horse Dam was modified in the mid 1990’s to allow it to draw water from any depth of the reservoir. Searchable listings of Kalispell hotels, motels, resorts, bed & breakfast, and more. Continue to Mobile Site And cooking fish, especially over an open fire, produces a powerful aroma—an aroma that grizzly bears just love. Awe inspiring views into Glacier National Park are common from the river. Use our easy Lodging Search to find exactly the type of accommodation you are looking for at the right price. Read this in-depth guide on how to select a fly rod to meet your own specific fishing needs. Due to the remote setting and the difficulty and expense of bringing in rafts, the river is relatively free of floaters, allowing for a peaceful, scenic float. Access to the South Fork is by foot or horseback. In the middle of the Wickecheoke Creek Preserve you can find New Jersey’s only covered bridge. Searchable listings of Kalispell RV parks and campgrounds. Unlike other wilderness floats (such as on the Middle Fork of the Salmon in Idaho), the river is not over-run by rafting parties, since the only way to put a raft into the South Fork of the Flathead is by packing it in. To request your selected free visitor guides, please fill out the form below and click "Submit". Fixed structures include docks, piers, mooring piles, floating docks, boat lifts, riprap and other structures that occupy currently flowed tidelands for more than ten consecutive days. Boaters should have appropriate maps; Three Forks of the Flathead Wild and Scenic River Float Guide is recommended. Most travelers to the wilderness complex do not come here to fish. The reservoir is more than 50 miles long, created by the 460-foot Hungry Horse Dam. The North Fork Flathead River divides the Flathead National Forest from Glacier National Park. Book a float with this company and they’ll take you to the Stillwater River (the exact location depends on the river level). Middle Fork Flathead River rafting trips float several different sections of the river due to easy access from US Hwy 2. The South Fork of the Flathead River begins deep in the heart of Bob Marshall Wilderness complex, one of the nations largest designated wilderness areas. Campgrounds can also be found in Glacier National Park. With near freezing water no longer flowing through the river during the middle of the summer, insect hatches have improved significantly on both the South Fork and the main stem of the Flathead River. Note: It is illegal to take or intentionally fish for bull trout. Camped out along the South Fork Flathead River. As railroads developed in the 19th century, serving New York City market was vital, but problematic. The river provides outstanding fishing for native Montana trout in a remote and beautiful setting. Up until reaching Meadow Creek Gorge 40 miles later, described later, the river presents no special challenges to a rafter. The fishing in the South Fork of the Flathead River is, quite simply, excellent above Hungry Horse Reservoir for cutthroat trout, especially the portion of the river that lies in the wilderness area. Flathead River Canadian Border to Spruce Cr NO CAMPING THIS SECTION Round Prairie ... See Inset See Inset See Inset Glacier National Park North Fork Flathead R Middle Fork Flathead R. o o!} About the closest you can get to the river by vehicle is by using the long and curvy West Reservoir Road that crosses the Hungry Horse Dam and meanders around Hungry Horse Reservoir. The highway follows the river from Bear Creek all the way to West Glacier at the confluence of the North and Middle Forks, however the road is hardly noticed. Jefferson River Access Map (Twin Bridges to Headwaters State Park) by River Rat Maps This Jefferson River Map is a high quality, detailed river map printed on durable waterproof and tear proof, plastic of the Jefferson River in Montana from Twin Bridges to Headwaters State Park. To reach this section of the river, though, requires going down a rather steep and hazardous put-in at the dam. From there, the South Fork trail more or less follows the river throughout its journey in the wilderness area. Click on any state to see what's available. Float the south fork of the flathead. For running powerful Class IV and V rapids, nothing beats an inflatable whitewater kayak. Westslope cutthroat trout and bull trout in the Flathead River basin are adfluvial, that is they spend time in Flathead Lake rearing to adulthood until its time to spawn. Hopefully, the catch and release restrictions won’t bother you since you catch and release all fish anyway! Either way, it’s a long way in from any trailhead to reach the river. Other fish, such as non-native lake trout and lake whitefish thrived in these conditions to the detriment of native fish. We also have visitor guides available in states highlighted in blue below. All Rights Reserved and. The scenery is spectacular, as the river flows through a pristine and remote wilderness. Access to the wilderness complex is excellent, with dozens of trails threading their way from easily accessible trailheads along the perimeter of the wilderness. North Fork Flathead River is a river in Glacier National Park, Flathead National Forest, MT. South Fork Flathead River is a river in Hungry Horse, MT in Flathead National Forest, Bob Marshall Wilderness, Rocky Mountains. Absaroka River Adventures . The North Fork is an excellent river to float in rafts and canoes but it is recommended that the novice canoeist wait until flows recede in July. This is about 2 miles south of the Trailhead, and requires a short walk to the river. As the river flows through this gorge, the river becomes extremely narrow with big drops and sharp turns. The river is navigable for up to 6 miles upstream from its confluence with the South Fork. Flathead River Map, Fishing Access Sites and Boat Launches ... A 9-foot 5-wt fly rod with floating line is perfect for fishing dry flies and small nymphs on the Stillwater River. Please respect private landowners’ rights. The South Fork only flows for 5 miles below Hungry Horse Dam before the river ends at the confluence of the Flathead River. Boaters must have their non-motorized watercraft inspected for Aquatic Invasive Species by an NPS inspector prior to river camping on the Glacier side, even if they are launching from the Flathead National Forest. A Seat with a View on the South Fork Flathead River. The river is wide and frequently quite deep. Shore Thing Shuttles – Mainstem above Flathead Lake. The designated river includes the North Fork, Middle Fork and South Fork above Hungry Horse Reservoir and features recreation, scenery, historic sites, unique fisheries and wildlife such as grizzly bears and wolves. The distance from the Dam to the trailhead at Meadow Creek Pack Bridge is about 50 miles, which takes about two hours. Of course, this remote setting has its benefits. Pretty much any caddis fly or mayfly imitation in size 10-14 works just fine. The upper 41 miles above the Camas Creek Bridge are classified as Scenic under the 1976 Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. In addition to guided fly fishing, we offer drop float trips on the South Fork of the Flathead River. Jim Klug photo. Wade fishing is also the most popular way to fish the South Fork of the Flathead River, simply because getting a raft into the wilderness area is no easy feat. Buffalo Bridge to Perma – 406-531-0003. Blankenship Bridge is your first access at the confluence of the Middle Fork Flathead River, followed upriver by: Glacier Rim, Big Creek, Coal Creek, Polebridge, Ford, and Border river access at the Canada-USA border. Return to Main Site. The White River has adequate flows through early July. If you want to camp on river left in Glacier National Park you will need to get a backcountry permit, available from the Backcountry Permit Centre in Agpar. This peaceful and tranquil setting changes when the river reaches Meadow Creek Gorge. Of course, you can still use the full version of Go-Montana on your mobile device just as you can on your desktop. Searchable lists of Kalispell tourism offices and other helpful government agencies. Opossum shrimp, mysis relicta, were planted in upstream lakes in 1967 and 1968. Kalispell weather report, historic temperatures and climate info,…. Description. This cold water pretty much killed off the fishing in the South Fork below the dam during the summer, and greatly affected the aquatic hatches on the main stem of the Flathead as well. However, the Bob is not like most other wilderness complexes, which you can simply hike across in a day or two. Since the fishing pressure is low, the trout aren’t horribly picky about what they will take. The road also has a reputation of being hard on tires, so make sure you have a good full size spare or two. However, if you time your trip right, before spring runoff, you can catch larger westslope cutthroat trout that migrate from Flathead Lake on their spring spawning runs. The food web in Flathead Lake is most likely still changing and it is difficult to predict what the outcome may be. Weather is highly changeable, with summer snows not uncommon. Secondly, these waters are cold, being fed by groundwater and glacier fed streams. The heaviest use in the Bob occurs in the fall, during hunting season. Dispose of all entrails and uneaten portions far away from where you are camped. Full information on Kalispell Tourist Attractions, Scenic Drives and other easy vacation activities…. Several guide services located around the Bob provide packing services, and can pack in gear for the floaters without a horse. Built circa 1860, the Green Sergeant’s Covered Bridge crosses the creek at County Road 604. While the river is deep in spots, the river should pose no challenges to the alert wade fisherman. The logistics of fishing the Flathead river from a boat are not easy. Bird watching while floating or walking along the Flathead River is a great way to enjoy and discover the river. Just when you begin drifting into the harmony of the water and the views, one of those slashing little westslope cutthroat trout will be sure to bring your interest back to the water. Nighttime temperatures, even during the short summer months, frequently plummet below freezing. Lastly, Ford, Shnaus and Ben Rover are 3 rental cabins that provide great accommodations. From the take out point, it is a three-mile walk to the Meadow Creek Trailhead. Once the fry emerge from the gravels, juveniles will rear in these tributaries for 1-3 years until they migrate back to Flathead Lake. Utilizing the services of an outfitter is a great move. View detailed fishing guide books & river maps for Montana. Big Creek Campground is an excellent choice for camping as are the numerous dispersed sites along the river. And not a single service will be found, so bring whatever you need, as you won’t be able to buy something if you forget it. Dangerous sweeper logs can be common and the braided channels just below Coal Creek suggest that you check in advance with the Ranger Station for the latest conditions. The catch is, of course, the best fishing is found well above the Meadow Creek Pack Bridge, as far fewer people fish upstream than at the much more accessible trailhead. 406-407-1602. 54 53 52 51 50 49 48 47 46 45 4 43 42 41 Ford Spruce Cr to Round Prairie LIMITED CAMPING 1 PARTY PER NIGHT o o!}!} Failure to take these precautions is likely to lead to uninvited and probably unwanted guests with large claws and teeth probing your campsite during the night. The river brings with it the rugged remoteness that one would expect from the Canadian Rockies. Additionally, from Meadow Creek Pack Bridge (near the wilderness area boundary) down to Spotted Bear footbridge, it is all catch and release and only artificial lures may be used. The South Fork of the Flathead, located in the heart of the Bob Marshall Wilderness, is a horsepack in/float out trip of 5-7 days, putting you over feisty Cutthroats to 22″ and “Bull Trout” to 15 pounds. Flathead River. The South Fork is one of the very few places in the lower 48 where we may legally fish for these carnivorous monsters. The primary advocate for the preservation and protection of whitewater rivers throughout the United States and connects the interests of human-powered recreational river users with ecological and science-based data to achieve goals within our mission. RM 83-82: White River Park - In open woodlands such as White River Park look With this modificationt, the dam now releases water that has the same temperature as the Flathead River five miles downstream. We also have the following visitor guides in Montana. Summer also registers a fair amount of backpacking and horse packing visitors, although a person is unlikely to see more than a couple parties of people once away form the popular day hiking trails on the edge of the wilderness area. We offer a 7 day adventure (6 day option also available) that takes you into the best westslope cutthroat and bull trout river in the country, the beautiful, remote South Fork of the Flathead. To avoid going through this gorge, any floater must be prepared to pack out their gear (you just can’t float out to your car). Rafting & Paddling the South Fork Flathead River. View a map of this area and more on Natural Atlas. First, Montana Fish & Game imposed strict special wilderness limits years ago. Above the lake, the Flathead River flows through the upper Flathead Valley, home to such popular towns as Whitefish and Kalispell. Adams in the high country of the Yakama Indian Reservation to its confluence with the Columbia River in the Columbia River Gorge. Due to the fact that the South Fork of the Flathead River starts deep in the wilderness area and flows for more than 40 miles through the heart of the complex, simply getting to the South Fork is an adventure in itself. Any fish you catch while in the wilderness area will have to be eaten there. This is in addition to the local wildlife that can make any trip an interesting and memorable experience. South Fork Flathead River upstream from Hungry Horse Reservoir. The South Fork Flathead River is home to an incredible number of Westslope Cutthroat, and the huge Bull Trout (Dolly Varden). Opening is the third Saturday in May through November 30, however, there is an extended catch and release season for trout and a 50 daily limit for whitefish for the rest of the year. In part because of its easily accessible harbor and its canal connections to the interior, New York City and its surrounding area early on became the largest regional economy in North America. The North Fork Flathead River is a wonderful river to float. It is essentially the same river today as it was 100 years ago. The Bob is not a National Park, where a traveler is likely to bump into countless hordes of people wandering its trails. Upon reaching the Meadow Creek Pack Bridge, it is a short hike into the wilderness. Gorgeous scenery, interpretive guiding. Moving crafts such as rafts and boats are not considered fixed structures. Regardless of where you enter the Bob, the South Fork is a wade fisherman’s dream. The North Fork Flathead River originates 50 miles across the border in British Columbia, Canada. Other than the Meadow Creek Gorge area, a wade fisherman can access virtually any segment of this river, spending weeks if not months exploring every pool, run and riffle. This Norht Fork of the Flathead River Map is a high quality, detailed river map printed on durable waterproof and tear proof, plastic of the beautiful NF of the Flathead River in Montana from the Canadian border to Columbia Falls (at the Confluence with the Middle Fork of … It's a long journey to get there. The Bob has been on my radar for years, because inside The Bob is one of the greatest multi-day float trips in America: the South Fork of the Flathead River. The headwaters of the Flathead River drain the SE corner of British Columbia in Canada. The fishing in this stretch, however, has a chance to become a much better fishery in the years ahead. Below the dam, the South Fork flows for 5 miles before entering the Flathead River just downstream from the town of Hungry Horse. Excellent access is provided by the North Fork Road which can be accessed just north of Columbia Falls. There is one rapid section below the dam called Devils Elbow, with two short Class IV rapids. Sprawling more than 1.5 million acres, the Bob Marshall Wilderness complex (known to locals as “the Bob”), which also includes the Great Bear Wilderness and the Scapegoat Wilderness, is perhaps the wildest location in the lower 48 states. Floating the South Fork of the Flathead River is perhaps one of the finest floats anyone can do in the lower 48. Fishing pressure is very low in the wilderness area compared to virtually any other Montana river. These are just a few, we have guide books and float maps that will allow to plan your own unique get away you won’t forget. The result is that anglers now sometimes struggle to catch fish that are small enough to keep. To simply reach the interior of the Bob frequently requires hikes or horse packs of several days. The best place to exit the river is at mile 61.6, which is marked by a small sign. The trout are all wild—there is no hatchery grown fish here. View a map of this area and more on Natural Atlas. The wilderness mountain settings, clear waters, campfires, wilderness lakes and streams, and superb fishing will wash away worldly cares. 18.9 Mi. Once in the interior, a person can spend months traversing the 2000 miles of trails that criss-cross this vast wilderness area. Flathead River Fishing Guides. A summary of what Kalispell has to offer. ... No permits are required to float the river. Only 3 fish of any type (cutthroats, rainbows and grayling all are found in the South Fork) may be taken, none of which may be over 12 inches. We offer a compact version of Go-Montana for mobile users, allowing you to access just the information you need on the road. Your email and your recipient's email will NOT be shared with anyone. Transportation companies, driving directions and more for Kalispell. The river is catch and release for cutthroat trout and a daily limit of 2 for rainbow trout. From there we float the approximately 50 miles out over the course of 4 – 5 days. Floating the South Fork of the Flathead River is perhaps one of the finest floats anyone can do in the lower 48. From it’s beginning near Danaher Creek, the entire South Fork is floatable except during low water. Mention the Flathead River in northwest Montana and most anglers think of wilderness cutthroat, or … The natural elements in the Bob should not be taken lightly. We pack you, your gear and your float equipment to the confluence of Young’s and Danaher Creeks where the South Fork of the Flathead River begins. This should lead to significantly better fishing in both the South Fork below the dam and for the Flathead River in the years ahead. We will pack your gear and your float equipment and can also pack you in if you aren’t up for the long hike into the South Fork of the Flathead River. Our Flathead river rafting scenic tour gives you the opportunity to fully immerse yourself in the spectacular beauty of Glacier National Park and the Middle Fork of the Flathead River. After traveling more than 40 miles, the South Fork finally leaves the protected wilderness area, and begins to follow the reservoir roads for another 20 miles until spilling into the Hungry Horse Reservoir. It is a Class III+ river, with steeper gradient upstream, expect narrow channels, shallow gravel bars and logjam potential. Check out our Interactive Fishing Maps! The Swan River Fishing Access Site on Rainbow Drive in Ferndale is the top put-in spot and the most common take-out is near the Clay Cliffs across from … Six Montana paddlers took a five day backpacking and packrafting trip into the Bob Marshall Wilderness to float about 56 miles of the South Fork of the Flathead River in mid-July. Any rafts will need to be brought in either on your back or on horse. Click on any additional guides you would like to receive. This county maintained road parallels the river along it’s entire length. Below Meadow Creek Trailhead, the floater who wants to continue down the river to Hungry Horse Reservoir can put in their boat at an unofficial access point called Cedar Flats. Grizzly bears, moose, elk and wolves all call the Bob home. Klickitat River. Copyright 2002 - 2020 Big Sky Fishing.Com, Introduction to the South Fork Flathead River, Photographs of the South Fork Flathead River, How to Choose the Best Inflatable Boat for Your Needs, How to Protect Your Phone While Fishing or Floating, Big Prairie Ranger Station Pack Bridge: 92, Black Bear Ranger Station Pack Bridge: 69.5, Takeout to avoid Meadow Creek Gorge: 61.6, Log Landing (take out point before Reservoir): 40. From this point, you can float another 18 scenic miles to Hungry Horse Reservoir. Backpacking gear is needed for the angler without a horse to fish the South Fork above the Hungry Horse Reservoir, as the only access to the river is by trail. ); this is one river where a die-hard angler can spend more time looking up at the scenery than watching his fly. The designated segment is the lowermost 10.8 miles of the river. Fly-fishing can also be quite difficult around Meadow Creek Pack Bridge and upstream for a number of miles since the river is cloaked in dense forest. In addition to guided fishing trips, we offer drop & float trips on the South Fork of the Flathead River. Since the Flathea… ... Map + Directions. The North Fork is an excellent river to float in rafts and canoes but it is recommended that the novice canoeist wait until flows recede in July. To even contemplate going through this gorge will require a very small, tough raft, whitewater inflatable kayak or hard shell kayak, as any large raft is quite likely to get frequently stuck and require countless portages. The South Fork of the Flathead River is Montana’s crown jewel in terms of remote rivers. And the pack in is neither quick nor easy—any pack in requires covering at least 25 miles or more of mountainous terrain. Less inspiring is the fishing (honesty hurts at times! Once they are sexually mature (4-6 years) they migrate into tributary streams, some migrations are over 100 miles, to spawn (cutthroat in the spring and bull trout in the fall). The river meanders its way through some of the most spectacular country a rafter could hope to find. Each of the three forks of the Flathead River (North, South, Middle) is discussed separately in their own sections, as each fork is a distinct river. See our full. Below the dam, the river only runs for 5 miles. The reason for that is two fold. Flathead River Shuttle – 406-890-2600. In 1976, US Congress designated 219 miles of the Flathead River as “National Wild and Scenic.” The Flathead River offers more than 275 miles of river rafting ranging from peaceful Class I float trips to Class III+ whitewater adventures on the North Fork and Middle Fork of the Flathead River. Numerous Class II, III and IV rapids exist in this gorge. DIXON, Mont. Terrestrial patterns, particularly hoppers, also are excellent to use in July and August. 9. Ages 3-103! 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