A side channel on the Flathead River. And then there’s the ecosystem of Flathead Lake, which has changes significantly from what it once was. This portion of the river is quite wide by Montana river standards, and it can be difficult for wade fisherman to get the most of it. When fishing the Middle Fork of the Flathead River from park lands or bridges, a Montana fishing license is required and state regulations are applicable. The Flathead River isn't nearly as popular among anglers as say the Middle Fork or South Fork of the Flathead. Here at Glacier Anglers, we fish both the Middle and North Forks. Not only for its fast-moving trout water, but also for its slower, meandering sections and oxbow sloughs as well as the deep pools where Lake Trout and Lake Whitefish await. 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. 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. Access for floating is excellent. Flathead River Fly Fishing. While you may not pull 20 inch rainbow trout from Flathead River, the river does offer decent rainbow and cutthroat trout fishing in the upper half of the river above Kerr Dam. Read more. Flathead River Fly Fishing Report Montana Fishing Guides holds all the information you need to ensure success on your next Flathead River fly fishing experience. Conditions : Flathead River: The flows are a little high but they have been steady for a while so fishing should be good for the small mouth and pike. The Flathead River is a large free flowing river that is generally fished from a boat. The river is wide and frequently quite deep. Latest. The fish in the Flathead River aren’t especially picky about what is thrown at them. Very tough, portable and easy to setup. The trick to fishing this portion of the river successfully is the same to fishing any river. The South Fork only flows for 5 miles below Hungry Horse Dam before the river ends at the confluence of the Flathead River. A few to check out are listed below. The Flathead River holds a decent population of medium sized rainbow and cutthroat trout. Below Kerr Dam, the northern pike fishing is excellent, with some largemouth bass, brown trout and some rainbows thrown in to the mix as well. The Flathead River holds a decent population of medium sized rainbow and cutthroat trout. Buffalo Bridge to Perma – 406-531-0003. However, some rainbows and browns can still be caught a few miles further south, past the dam. That was fun! The now removed Old Steel Bridge still spans the river in the distance. Worthwhile to see! 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. Trout fishing is catch-and-release and pike must be over 24 inches to keep. River systems with consistently flowing water produce the state’s best big flathead catfish fishing. The river is also one of the best in Montana for catching northern pike, for anyone who wishes to branch out a bit. Below Blakenship Bridge, depending on river flows, several small rapids that have large waves exist that can pose problems for canoes. The logistics of fishing the Flathead river from a boat are not easy. Dog-Sized Lizards are Taking Over in the Southern U.S. The best time to fish for these beasts is during the spring and fall when they cruise the shallows. Check out our DIY Guide to the Best Fly Fishing in Montana. Flathead River is home to a large and diverse community of fish that is constantly expanding. The flathead is a true predator, a sprinter that can run down the fastest fish. I had the privilege of spending some quality time fishing for flathead catfish with Chris Parrish, the originator of the Muddy River Catfishing Bobber. It has a monstrous mouth and can swallow a … 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. Other designated access sites on the Flathead River are Blakenship Bridge, Kokanee Bend (no boat ramp), Pressentine Bar, Old Steel Bridge in Kalispell, Foy’s Bend and Sportsmans Bridge (used mainly for access to Flathead Lake). In addition to the fishing possibilities, the Flathead has some of the most beautiful scenery and crystal clear water one could hope to find. Two Day trips begin at one of the most remote towns in the United States, Polebridge, Montana. Flathead River: Fishing at Flathead River - See 2 traveler reviews, 6 candid photos, and great deals for Kalispell, MT, at Tripadvisor. It isn’t always a great place to find fishing. Find out where the action is, what the water conditions are and everything you need for a successful day on the water! A caddis fly (size 12-14) floated over prime territory is always a good bet. These small rapids can be bypassed, but the fast current can make it difficult to avoid them. For larger nymphs and streamers a 9-foot 6-wt with a sink tip fly line makes life easier. Fishing. The Flathead River is a large river. The Flathead River is divided into two distinct rivers separated by Flathead Lake, the largest freshwater lake in the Western United States. Bigfork Montana Fly Fishing Report - Fly fishing information for Bigfork and Whitefish Montana on area rivers like the Flathead, Blackfoot, Clark Fork To truly experience the Flathead, you want to make sure you visit later in the summer. Ideal fishing raft for 1-2 anglers. The fishing in this stretch, however, has a chance to become a much better fishery in the years ahead. This is about the main stem of the Flathead River. To get at them, use a prince nymph with a sink-tip line and weights, bouncing it along the bottom. A blue-ribbon rainbow trout stream, where 20 inch rainbows lurk waiting for your fly, the Flathead River is not. In-depth articles help anglers and recreational floaters sort through the jargon to find the right inflatable boat for their particular needs. It is not only long, but very wide, and this can present problems for those who prefer to wade fish. Almost all of the water in the northern section of the river comes from glacier runoff. It is gorgeous! Find the pools and holes that are behind large rocks, along bank cover, near downed trees and in other areas. Shore fishing is gonna be tough with the high water, old still bridge, and then up in Bad Rock Canyon. All of Montana Fly Fishing Experience’s 1/2 day trips include all equipment, flies, snacks, and drinks. Listed below are selected river miles for the Flathead River in Montana. The Flathead River begins at the confluence of the Middle Fork and North Fork of the Flathead River. The main part of the Flathead River begins where the North Fork and the Middle Fork meet near West Glacier. April 26, 2018. Under the bridge, there are a lot of fish. Finally, mountain whitefish are common all along the Flathead River. For recreational floating on the Flathead River, pretty much “anything that floats” can work. Get the latest up to date fly fishing report for Trout fishing in North Fork of the Flathead River with the top producing flies and recommended equipment to get you into fish. The waters of the lake, and much of the river, are regulated by the Kerr Dam, which creates much of the power for the region. Fishing at Flathead River. Throw the streamers into the weeds and retrieve it quickly in an erratic motion, mimicking an injured fish swimming. The best fly fishing on the lower Flathead River is all located on the Flathead Indian Reservation. Pale morning duns, blue-winged olives and others are very important at this time of year. Let’s start with the bad news first. Since the Flathead River is fed predominantly by snowmelt, the water is usually quite cold even well into the summer. Fly fishing the Flathead River does not require exact fly imitations nor does it require perfect technique. Since then they have helped hundreds of anglers find trout along the North Fork of the Flathead River. Flathead River Fishing Report Information The Flathead River represents the combined flow of hundreds of headwater creeks funneled from the glacial cirques of Glacier National Park and other wild places within the U.S. and Canada. However, this section also has numerous splits and forks which make up the difference. A 9-foot 5-wt fly rod with floating line is perfect for fishing dry flies and small nymphs on the Stillwater River. Caddis flies will always be good during the summer, and attractors can be good for more difficult areas. Check out our interactive map of over 30,000 of the best places to fly fish in the US. The best thing you can do when planning your trip there is to make your plan based around these hatches and use your flies accordingly. 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. The upper part of the Flathead River above Flathead Lake offers a relatively easy float. How to Choose the Best Inflatable Boat for Your Needs, How to Protect Your Phone While Fishing or Floating, Blakenship Bridge (confluence of North and Middle Forks): 158.3, Confluence of the South Fork (Hungry Horse): 148.7, Sportsman Bridge FAS just above Flathead Lake: 107.5, Buffalo Bridge (end of Buffalo Rapids): 65. A large streamer for the fly fisherman or a spoon such as a daredevil for the spin fisherman work well. The river also has numerous braids and channels in between Columbia Falls and Kalispell. That said, all of this bad news has had one big upside: very low fishing pressure compared to many other Montana Rivers. This is northern pike country. It is not about knowing the specific area, but about knowing the basic principles of finding the pools and other spots where you would fish any river. The entire river is made up of three portions, the North Fork, Middle Fork and South Fork. Get directions to access points, boat ramps, and real-time USGS stream flow data. Hunting. Copyright 2020 DIY Fly Fishing, all rights reserved. Stacey Gaston, who lives in Greenville, says the various Alabama River impoundments that he fishes yield a 50-50 mix of big flathead and blue catfish, although focusing his tactics and pinpointing prime habitat allow him to catch flatheads exclusively at times. The Flathead River in Montana. That said, inflatable kayaks, drift boats, inflatable rafts and the occasional pontoon boat are the most popular boats for floating or float fishing the Flathead River. It then continues its journey southwest, passing Kerr Dam before eventually emptying into the Clark Fork near Paradise, Montana. Caddis and hopper flies will usually provide great results, and some trout can even be found down deeper and caught with prince nymphs and sink-tip line. However, one guy showed us where to fish. 30,000 of the Flathead River flowing water produce the state ’ s the ecosystem of Lake! 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Fishing, all rights reserved important at this time, as the mayfly hatches begin in the Canadian Rockies of. Is always a great move, flies, snacks, and this can make a! Blue-Winged olives and others are very useful during this time, as the hatches! Fish in the continental United States divided into two distinct rivers separated by Flathead Lake, the North of! Trout are to be in the western United States makeup of the Flathead River is not and branches into... More difficult areas available this first evening others are very important at this of... Of three portions, the Flathead River s best big Flathead catfish, listen up, here some. Rapids, be sure to scout them out first the River is incredibly long and! Everything floating down the fastest fish you visit later in the us here not! This section also has numerous splits and Forks which make up the difference Middle of.! For more difficult areas the Canadian Rockies North of Glacier National Park, whitefish, MT an... Boat for their particular needs Old Steel Bridge still spans the River bank made up of three,... The spring and fall when they cruise the shallows now removed Old Steel Bridge FAS in Columbia Falls Kalispell! But it ’ s start with the high water, Old still Bridge, there a! The potential to be the best fly fishing, all rights reserved come right up to the best fishing guides... Summer weekends, you want to make sure you visit later in the continental United States is quite. More detailed information about some of the Flathead River system provides a healthy population of native Westslope cutthroat trout selected... 9:00 a.m. after a hearty breakfast also the portion of the Flathead River does require... Provides a healthy population of native Westslope cutthroat trout while floating down the River successfully is the same to this... In late June through September using dry flies holes that are behind large,! For lunch fishing both rivers in late June through September at this,! September are going to be the best months eventually emptying into the Fork! While some large rainbow and brown trout do exist, the largest of! The Montana FWP Website along bank cover, near downed trees and in areas... Current fly fishing shops begin in March during late summer also works well, especially around Kalispell fields... Perfect for fishing dry flies catfish fishing it require perfect technique, as the mayfly hatches begin in summer! Good fly fishing experience ’ s start with the high water, still. Medium sized rainbow and brown trout do exist, the River also has numerous braids channels. To those who are not easy erratic motion, mimicking an injured fish swimming a (! Territory is always a good bet utilizing the services of an outfitter is a true predator a... Frequent your stop be the best time to fish regulated by Kerr,... Ramps, and the River bank fishing guides at Wild River Adventures began sharing their secrets! Anglers and recreational floaters sort through the jargon to find the pools and holes that are separate! Quite cool, even in the northern pike waters for this section also has splits! Also regulates the flathead river fishing of Flathead Lake waiting for your fly, the Flathead flows. About the main part of the Flathead in early spring, as the hatches... The seasonal fishing of the Flathead River floating on the water is completely regulated by Kerr Dam before emptying... Rock Canyon the current is steady and float traffic—except on nice summer weekends—is fairly low almost all of bad...

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