When it comes to fly fishing, it doesn’t get much better than the wild miles of the Flathead River. Below Moccasin Creek to West Glacier, a popular whitewater section begins, with a number of Class II, III and one Class IV rapid (Jaws). This section of the Middle Fork Flathead River is the most heavily used due to its excellent whitewater. The fishing pressure in the wilderness section is very low compared to other Montana waters, and cutthroats themselves are not known as the most finicky fish around. 110,000 cu ft/s (3,115 m3/s) Your guide will pick the best boat launch and meeting time to insure your best chances for success. These fish, which are illegal to intentionally fish for or take, are not picky about what they eat. Either way, wilderness floats begin at Schaeffer Creek. We start the trip with a two-day ride (or hike) through spectacular scenery to access the starting point of the float, then spend five days fly-fishing some of the most pristine water in Montana. Read this guide for information on how to select the right type of boot for your needs. Bigfork Montana Fly Fishing Report - Fly fishing information for Bigfork and Whitefish Montana on area rivers like the Flathead, Blackfoot, Clark Fork The Flathead River has something for everyone. The wilderness fly fishing trips take you some of the purest, most exciting fly fishing with exceptionally beautiful country as the backdrop. From sites of easy access to those of remote wilderness, the Flathead waters can provide diverse fishing experiences. Experience Montana fly fishing at its finest with Glacier National Park, the Bob Marshall Wilderness and National Forests as breathtaking backdrops. The trick to finding them is to cut the river down to size, fishing obvious holes and pools behind rocks, fishing around the numerous forks in the river, and along bank cover, such as downed trees. Below Essex, the fishing on the Middle Fork dries up considerably. Since 1984 we have cultivated a group of hard working guides that care about your day of fishing. The river itself slows down as it flows towards its junction with the North Fork of the Flathead River at Blakenship Bridge, which forms the main stem of the Flathead River. A caddis fly (size 12-14) floated over prime territory is always a good bet. Like the North Fork Flathead River, the Middle Fork is prime water for the bull trout. Related Article : Photographs of the Middle Fork Flathead River. Typically, we start fishing both rivers in late June through September using dry flies. As it winds its way through some of the most beautiful scenery in the country, surrounding Glacier National Park, the fishing is a dream that goes perfectly with the view. If you are searching for solitude, it is recommended to go somewhere else.  – min Beginning in Essex, the Middle Fork Flathead River parallels Highway 2 to West Glacier, although the river is generally out of sight as it often lies hundreds of vertical feet below and well back from the road. Your target species will be cutthroat trout and rainbow trout. Below Essex, any size raft, kayak or canoe (experienced canoeists only) will work just fine until the whitewater section below Moccasin Creek, where an inflatable raft, hard shell kayak or inflatable kayak capable of Class IV whitewater is required. For the wilderness portion, a heavy-duty inflatable kayak or raft is  needed, as they are by far the easiest to pack into the Great Bear Wilderness. There are three other Flathead … Here at Glacier Anglers, we fish both the Middle and North Forks. The North Fork of the Flathead flows directly south from the Canadian Border, and makes up the western boarder of Glacier National Park until its confluence with the Middle Fork at Blankenship Bridge. The Flathead River is part of the Columbia River drainage. The Middle Fork of the Flathead River, like its cousins the North Fork and the South Fork, is fed predominantly by snowmelt. Middle Fork Flathead River has many scenic views of the taller peaks in Glacier National Park. Montana Fly Fishing. 59911 The Flathead River is best fished from a drift boat with a qualified professional guide. The middle portion of the section, between Essex and Moccasin Creek, only has moderate pressure from floaters and fishermen. Montana Fly Fishing Experience guides are the some of the most experienced boatmen on this beautiful stretch of river. Note, a guide contacted me and said there was a “hidden channel” that allows you to float down the river to the take-out point at Moccasin Creek. Water flow: 949. Bigfork, MT. Flathead River Fly Fishing Report As a fly shop and guide service, we offer full and half day guided fly fishing trips. for near mouth, at Perma, MT; max at Polson, MT The Middle Fork Flathead River is one of the premiere wilderness rivers in Montana. Montana Flyfishing Experience guides are true professionals and love to get their anglers into fish. Beginning in Essex, the river turns into a recreational class river and follows Highway 2, dwarfed by tall mountains on either side. This gin-clear river runs through the Bob Marshall Wilderness for nearly its full length, south to north. The river’s location lends itself to allowing you and your family to play a round of golf, sightsee, shop, enjoy a half day of fishing, and still make your dinner reservations in one of the valley’s fine restaurants. The Elk is the definition of “Freestone”. The Flathead River system of northwestern Montana offers memorable fishing opportunities. Your guide can pick you up at the fly shop and bring you back at the end of the day. Fish the morning and evenings hatches! Fishing The deep wide and cold waters of the Flathead River don't offer the best fishing around, but that very reason is what makes this stretch of water a great place to fish. Action will be fast and furious for these fish, but the results may prove disappointing for the angler pursuing larger fish. A float through the wilderness portion requires constant vigilance. Flathead, lizards, frogs or crocs range in types but you will find them all over the country, known as many different names, they nearly all basically behave the same and are a year round option. The Flathead River is fed primarily from glacial and snow melt. You just need to bring along your sense of adventure, sunglasses, and a Montana fishing license. It soon enters the wilderness area and begins a beautiful, frequently wild ride through the heart of the wilderness area. Fly fish our secret spots on the beautiful Elk River, Wigwam River, Michel Creek, Bull River and Flathead River. Join us for a full or half day of drift boating fly fishing on the Flathead River, Swan river, or float tubing one of our pristine permit-only mountain lakes. 11,380 cu ft/s (322 m3/s) [4] Large dry flies such as Chubby Chernobyl’s, Amy’s Ant, and Turk’s Tarantulas are great patterns for hungry trout after runoff. Copyright 2002 - 2020 Big Sky Fishing.Com, Floating & Paddling the Middle Fork Flathead River, Photographs of the Middle Fork Flathead River, Blakenship Bridge (confluence with the North Fork Flathead River): 0. Mid-July through September are going to be the best months. From Essex down to Moccasin Creek (a distance of 30 miles), only several small Class II-III rapids are found, depending on river levels. Still, it’s probably there someplace. There are many access sites on the Flathead River. Call Chris and Tara now to book yourMontana Fly Fishing Experience (406) 249-1482or (406) 210-0511. As a result, the Middle Fork is not noted as a top trout stream. Box 636 Best time of day to fish: all day. P.O. Most of the heavy-duty whitewater lies in the wilderness section, where the Middle Fork has a “wilderness” designation (no motors). The Flathead is unique because it remains one of the few primarily native Westslope Cutthroat Trout fisheries left. Flathead River has two very excellent conditions aside from the lower pressure; fly fishing in Kalispell on the Flathead River does not require as much skill or specific flies like other areas of the state. Best Montana Fly Fishing Trips—South Fork Flathead River Posted on May 13, 2020 by Greg Thomas It’s time to start dreaming about the best summer fly fishing trips for 2020, and if we are limited to doing so within our state borders this year, I drew a good card—Montana offers a lifetime of fly-fishing adventure and gas is cheap right now. Whatever the season, your Montana Flyfishing Experience guide will have you set up with the proper gear and flies on the Flathead River. The Flathead River can fish well all year, but our summer months are best for dry fly fishing. Depending on the previous winter’s snow pack the Flathead River can start to run clear around the end of June or early July and incredible dry fly fishing takes center stage for the rest of the Summer. Your target species will be cutthroat trout and rainbow trout. Numerous designated and undesignated access points exist between Essex and West Glacier, allowing for easy access and countless potential campsites. They will respond to a wide range of traditional and specialist flies and you will catch them as a by catch when your fishing small flies (from a flathead’s perspective) to species such as yellowfin bream and whiting and relatively big flies (from a flathead’s perspective) even when fishing for barra. The Flathead River flows through the broad and beautiful Flathead Valley near Glacier National Park, Whitefish, MT, and Bigfork, MT. The Main Stem of the Flathead River runs through the towns of Columbia Falls and Kalispell. Fly Fishing on the Flathead River Post Date: May 12, 2020. Fishing pressure is generally light along this portion of the river, and access for the wade fisherman is excellent. Full day trips include equipment, flies, and a stream side lunch or dinner prepared by your guide. It’s also very convenient to Kalispell and Columbia Falls. We fly fish for any number of reasons. What can I see and do along the Flathead River? Visibility: 60 inches. Floating through the wilderness section of the river requires either a plane ride in or a long hike or horse pack. Flathead are definitely one of the easier species of estuary fish to catch on fly. The Middle Fork Flathead The Flathead River can fish well all year, but our summer months are best for dry fly fishing. Another technique to try is to use a weighted sink tip line, dragging wet flies or streamers through the deeper pockets and pools that are found periodically along the river. Flathead River Fly Fishing Season. Expedition level inflatable kayaks work well for fishing and are ideal for long floats down remote Montana rivers and whitewater. Fly Fishing the Flathead. This section is also a very scenic part of the Middle Fork, with the towering mountains of Glacier National Park and the Great Bear Wilderness often visible. You can get more detailed information about some of these fishing access spots at the Montana FWP Website. Your Montana Fly Fishing Experience professional guide will communicate with you prior to your trip for a meeting time, place, and any additional clothing you may need to bring. The Flathead River is easily accessible from Whitefish, Columbia Falls, Kalispell, and Bigfork, Montana. Outfitter #7837 The waters we fish offer an abundance of Rainbow, Cutthroat, Bull Trout and Grayling. With stunning 360 degrees views, this river a top notch destination. Numerous mountain goats are often seen here, as they travel down from their high peaks for the salt. The Flathead River holds a decent population of medium sized rainbow and cutthroat trout. Never touched a fly rod? In Flathead Valley Montana, you will have the opportunity to fish for a native fish in a beautiful setting. Middle Fork Flathead River has many deep pools, which is where the larger fish are generally found. This keeps the level of nutrients in the river low. (406)-249-1482, Copyright All Rights Reserved © 2018 – Website by FBP, for near mouth, at Perma, MT; max at Polson, MT. Montana is legendary for its outstanding fly fishing and the waters fished by Glacier Anglers are no exception. We offer full and half day guided fly fishing trips on the Main Stem of the Flathead River. The Flathead River is unique among the rivers in Montana in that it is really three rivers in one, with two main sections that are good for fishing. The Middle Fork Flathead River is one of Montana’s premier whitewater rivers. The result is that a fishing excursion into the wilderness portion of the Middle Fork, whether it be by foot, plane, or horse, provides outstanding scenery, chance encounters with the local fauna (this area is prime grizzly bear habitat), and solid action for average sized fish. Water temperature at mid-day: 50 Degrees F. Water condition: Clear. Glacier Anglers offers day trips, overnight float trips on the North and Middle Forks of the Flathead River, and multi-day backcountry trips into the Great Bear Wilderness to fish the acclaimed upper Middle Fork of the Flathead River. Horses and mules transport us, our boats and gear 20 to 26 miles (depending upon which trail we take in and the itinerary). North Fork Flathead River Description. Montana Fishing Guides holds all the information you need to ensure success on your next Flathead River fly fishing experience. The South Fork has good numbers of 8”- 16” cutthroat. As the Middle Fork Flathead River flows through numerous canyons, many of the portages are difficult. Learn more about these versatile & durable inflatable kayaks. Fly fishing hatches in order of importance: attractors caddis ants beatles hoppers. Listed below are selected river miles for the Middle Fork Flathead River in Montana. Fly Fishing The Flathead River Montana Before we get started, please note that understanding how the Flathead River is made up can be a little confusing for those that are not familiar with it. We'll get you catching fishing in no time! View detailed fishing guide books & river maps for Montana. The Flathead River has something for everyone. Flowing past huge mountains and through deep canyons, the Middle Fork, along with the South Fork, is Montana’s premier wilderness river.  – average The beginner angler can have good chances to catch their first fish on a fly rod, and the expert can work a tough riser on tiny dries. Beginning in the Canadian Rockies north of Glacier National Park, the Flathead flows south through northwestern Montana into Flathead Lake. Enjoy dry fly fishing for native westslope cutthroat trout while floating down this glacial influenced gin clear western freestone. I’ll have to take his word, because I heard about it too and looked for it on my floats and have yet to find it. After West Glacier, the whitewater section ends and most floaters disappear. Read more about each of these amazing fly fishing destinations below. Fly fishing the Flathead River system provides a healthy population of native Westslope Cutthroat Trout, Bull … This is about the main stem of the Flathead River. With a drainage basin extending over 8,795 square miles (22,780 km2) and an average discharge of 11,380 cubic feet per second (322 m3/s), the Flathead is the largest tributary of the Clark Fork and constitutes over half of its flow. It is also one of the wildest, beginning in the Great Bear Wilderness just south of Glacier National Park. The Middle Fork of the Flathead River begins just outside the Great Bear Wilderness, which is located south of Glacier National Park. Grizzly Bears and other wildlife are also frequently found here as well. From the early spring fishing in March and April, May to the end of run-off in mid to late June, to the height of summer from July to September and October, one will need to know the best flies and spots to catch the largest fish on the Flathead River. Group float on the Middle Fork Flathead River in Montana. Except for during spring run-off, which can last well into July in some years, the waters of the Middle Fork Flathead River are exceptionally clear. Even though the Flathead River has many access sites, the river is large and wide with a powerful flow. Typical Flathead River hatches include PMDs, drakes, caddis, and stoneflies. Below West Glacier, the Middle Fork continues to run swiftly with only a few small Class II rapids, and combines with the North Fork of the Flathead River at Blakenship Bridge, where the main-stem of the Flathead River begins. The Middle Fork Flathead River is one of the premiere wilderness rivers in Montana. The Flathead River (Salish Indian: ntx̣ʷetkʷ, ntx̣ʷe) in the northwestern part of Montana, originates in the Canadian Rockies to the north of Glacier National Park and flows southwest into Flathead Lake near Bigfork, Montana, then after a journey of 158 miles (254 km), empties into the Clark Fork River. Fly fishing the Middle Fork Flathead River ranges from easy to very difficult, depending on the section you choose to fish. Hatches on the South Fork of the Flathead River include caddis, mayflies, spruce moths, and many terrestrials including hoppers, ants, and beetles. The beginner angler can have good chances to catch their first fish on a fly rod, and the expert can work a tough riser on tiny dries. However, this section is not recommended for canoes. This keeps the water cool all summer. While there are numerous cutthroats, most tend to be in the 8-10 inch range. The remote setting of the Middle Fork keeps the wilderness portion relatively free of both fishermen and floaters. These months are when the flows are most manageable and the weather is cooperating. South Fork Flathead River One of the best flyfishing streams but it’s a long, dusty 50-mile drive on bumpy gravel roads to Spotted Bear. Fly Fishing Near Glacier National Park The Flathead River system is a unique fishery located around Glacier National Park and is made up of three forks which eventually drain into Flathead Lake. The Flathead River system is a unique fishery located around Glacier National Park and is made up of three forks which eventually drain into Flathead Lake. Additionally, around Moccasin Creek, lots of timber lies along the banks of the Middle Fork Flathead River. For the fly fisherman, pretty much any dry and bushy fly, floated around the usual likely spots will produce consistent results. Once the summer gets rolling, terrestrials are the name of the game. To truly experience the Flathead, you want to make sure you visit later in the summer. Wading boots are quite helpful to avoid broken legs and ankles when fly fishing. Beginning in the Great Bear Wilderness area near Glacier National Park, the Middle Fork offers excellent fishing in its wilderness area and spectacular floats once the river leaves the wilderness area behind. ELK RIVER. This river cuts through the middle of the Bob Marshall Wilderness, offering unbelievable dry fly fishing for cutthroat, and streamer fishing for bull trout. Flathead River Fly Fishing. The river from this point also forms the southern boundary of Glacier National Park. Flathead River The Main Stem of the Flathead River is only minutes from the doors of the fly shop. Beginning in the Great Bear Wilderness area near Glacier National Park, the Middle Fork offers excellent fishing in its wilderness area and spectacular floats once the river leaves the wilderness area behind. Because of the cool water, hatches are not huge. The Middle Fork Flathead River is a 92 mile long river part of which forms the southwestern boundary of Glacier National Park. Generally, the bigger fish are found in the best structure, particularly in the many deep pools that are found behind the massive rocks that lie in the river, and as far away as possible from the easiest and most heavily used access sites. And they aren’t picky about what they eat. On a hot summer day fly fishermen can catch 60 fish a day and rarely see anyone else on the river. Its drains an area east of the South Fork Flathead River. Glacier Anglers: Fly Fishing Drift boat on Flathead River Blankenship Bridge to Coram, MT - See 84 traveler reviews, 43 candid photos, and great deals for West Glacier, MT, at Tripadvisor. The Flathead River isn't nearly as popular among anglers as say the Middle Fork or South Fork of the Flathead. The east side road (through Martin City) is straighter but gets more traffic. Discharge Full and half day trips are available on the Flathead River and our professional guides are eager to lead you down the river both on 1/2 day trips or on a full day of instructional and fun fly fishing. Anglers will fly into Kalispell and drive or get shuttled to the Wilderness Lodge near the Spotted Bear trailhead (or stay the night in a local hotel and drive to the trailhead early the next morning). As the river approaches West Glacier, it becomes a popular place for individual and guide service float trips, since numerous rapids exist just above West Glacier. No worries! Montana's Flathead River offers spectacular scenery and excellent dry fly trout fishing throughout the summer and fall. For the 27 miles from Schaeffer Creek down to Essex and Highway 2, where the Middle Fork Flathead River turns into a “recreational” river, the Middle Fork provides continual whitewater, mainly Class II rapids, with numerous Class III & IV rapids as well. Bull trout can also be found in the river du… Hoppers, ants, and beetles are on the menu, and your guide will often have you throwing a hopper/dropper combination. The Flathead is a large river with flows up to 20,000 cubic feet per second early in the season. While fishing for cutthroat trout in pools, especially if using streamers, an angler has the opportunity to hook into one of these monster fish, which frequently reach twenty pounds. South Fork Flathead River Fly Fishing is the best you will find anywhere – period. south fork flathead fly fishing Let our professional fishing guides show you one of the most remote, trout-filled rivers in Montana on a fishing specific South Fork Flathead trip. Several portages may be required around some of the strong rapids, depending on river flows and what type of boat you are using. On almost every curve between Essex and Moccasin Creek (and the river is basically one ending set of curves) large waves and small rapids exist which can easily swamp an inexperienced canoeist. 2,670 cu ft/s (76 m3/s), Outfitted by Chris McCreedy Hard shell kayaks, inflatable whitewater rafts and inflatable whitewater kayaks are the most popular boats used on this section. Best access point: Teakettle. That said, the wilderness portion of the Middle Fork contains a healthy amount of decent sized cutthroats up to 16 inches. The Middle Fork emerges from the wilderness area near Essex, where it flows past a unique place called the “Goat Lick.” Here, salt is found on the grounds surface high along the banks of the river. So much has already been written about these predators but not much really focuses on fly fishing … The Flathead River System makes a great option for half or full days, with its close proximity to Kalispell, Columbia Falls, Whitefish, and Bigfork Montana. 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