The wilderness trips are done by packing horses into the wilderness or by flying into the runway at Schafer Meadows and floating out from that point. 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. The highway veers away from the river at this point if you’re headed up Marias Pass towards East Glacier. Blankenship Bridge – Common takeout point at the confluence that forms the main-stem of the Flathead river. For more information, please go to: Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks. Wilderness access – You will need to hike or horse pack a good 25+ miles regardless of trailhead choice here. One of the best flyfishing streams but it’s a long, dusty 50-mile drive on bumpy gravel roads to Spotted Bear. The trail is long and having a gentle mountain horse to bring you in, might just be the way you want to start your river adventure. The South Fork Flathead River is a major river in Northwestern Montana in the northwest United States. © 2020 406 Wilderness Outfitters It is drained by the South and Middle Forks of the Flathead River as well as several other highly packraftable rivers and streams including the Sun River, Teton River and too many tributaries to name here. Canada Border – A fair number of folks put-in here and run the entire 60 miles down to Blankenship Bridge at the confluence with the main-stem. Blankenship Bridge – The first launch site on the main stem. Youngs creek has some incredible fishing. Additional Services and Information: The status review described the primary threat to the South Fork Flathead populations as hybridization with exotic trouts. South Fork Flathead Itinerary Day 1 – Pack Up and Ride. I like Lazy J Bar O for the packing into the wilderness area. For nearly 40 miles the river flows freely north-northwest, meandering through a forested and undeveloped roadless valley that forms the core of the 1.5 million acre Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex. Montana Fishing Guides holds all the information you need to ensure success on your next Flathead River fly fishing experience. The Wild and Scenic South Fork Flathead River offers spectacular scenery and some of the best Cutthroat and Bull Trout fishing that can be found anywhere. You need to hike out or have your gear packed out from here as well. It’s good for a long full day from Essex or an easily managed day from Paola. South Fork Flathead River (below dam) – 5,140 CFS. Use: Medium to Heavy. You can contact Wild Montana Anglers here to book a trip. It is also very remote. The Swan River and the South Fork of the Flathead are the two best propositions for work of this sort." It’s 27 miles and can be done in a day but multiple days are ideal for really taking your time and enjoying the river. Also a popular takeout from the North and Middle forks. You could make a full day of it in lower water. What a fabulously memorable trip!!! The North Fork of the Flathead is Class I-II but it has some serious danger for inexperienced floaters. Combined Trout: 5 daily and in possession. Especially toward the end of the trip, going into Meadow Creek Gorge. Long before their wilderness designation, however, the Forest Service set these lands apart as “primitive areas,” specifically the South Fork and Pentagon primitive areas, established in 1931 and 1933, respectively. 2020 Big River Fishing Recap; Fishing Report 7-25-20; … It is an integral part of administering the Forest Service programs in the Spotted Bear District, which encompasses the Bob Marshall Wilderness, the Great Bear Wilderness and the South Fork of the Flathead River. The drop float service is a one way service. Best fishing is late June through October. Book A Trip. Follow this road for 6 miles to the trailhead. Kerr Dam – Starts the whitewater section. Extended whitefish season and catch-and-release for trout open December 1 to third Saturday in May with artificial lures and/or maggots only. Kokanee Bend – 3 miles down. It is slow moving and eventually you hit signs to stop before the dam area. The Flathead has cooler waters, plenty of shade and a ton of water to explore. Please be mindful of this when planning your gear for the trip. This north-northwest trending river is about 98 miles (158 km) long, making it the second longest tributary of the Flathead River. Facilities: Trail provides spectacular views of Clearwater Valley and popular access to Young's Creek, Hahn Creek and the headwaters of the South Fork of the Flathead. 1. Northern pike: extended season for northern pike from December 1 through February 28, artificial lures only. (from Crossover Boat Ramp south and upstream to the confluence of Youngs and Danaher creeks), Copyright © 2018 Zach Lazzari Outdoor Media, Rich Venison Stew Recipe – Slow Cooker Version, Breakdown Raft Frames for Traveling Light. Blankenship Bridge – 15 miles down from Big Creek. With that, the rivers have changed color from brown to a much more appealing green/blue. It is located in one of the largest wilderness areas in the lower-48. T. Trapper Guest. Thread starter Salmo_g; Start date Aug 11, 2018; Prev. Plan to spend a quiet day, beginning with breakfast at your leisure. It’s a June-July game in most years. The South Fork of the Flathead River is a different beast. Make sure you have a tribal pass. Flathead River Fishing Report. Combined Trout: 3 daily limit and in possession, no fish over 12 inches in rivers and streams, no size limit in lakes. Right above Flathead Lake. Below Kerr Dam and the lake it runs through a short and furious 6 miles of rapids that are best suited to rafts, kayaks and experienced paddlers. Polebridge – 11 miles down, this is a great option for a long day trip from the border or a shorter one from Ford. Paola Creek – 8 miles makes this a good half day float in higher water from Essex. The outflow is completely different as it runs through the lower valley and into the Clark Fork River. As a family, we spend a fair share of time enjoying the outdoors of Montana. The South Fork of the Flathead is a spectacular and pristine clear-flowing mountain river with an extremely healthy population of wild west-slope cutthroat in the 12 to 18-inch class as well as a healthy population of wild bull trout. Flathead River Montana – The drainage is one of America’s coolest river systems. All three forks of the river are starting to see some nice clarity. There are a ton of rookie guides in this area however. There is one dedicated outfitter in the region that is focused specifically on fishing and they run the best guides in the region. Note: Montana/Glacier National Park boundary is the ordinary high water mark on the park side of the river. The contractor said that over 40,000 pounds of materials were being packed in for the bridge repair. Packers and rangers have been using the trails since the South Fork Primitive District was set aside as a wilderness area in 1941. That portion of Flathead County lying within the following-described boundary: Beginning at the Glacier National Park Boundary and the Continental Divide (near Marias Pass), then southerly along said divide to USFS Trail 179 (east of Big Lodge Mtn. It’s an ideal 2-4 day float trip without any designated camping sites. The turn comes quick and is easy to miss. 2. Guests will need to arrange to meet us the day before their scheduled trip to drop off the gear by 2:00pm. Rated as difficult and requires hikers and packers to climb 1,640 feet within 4 miles. The station was home … It is one of the three main forks of the Flathead River, a tributary of the Clark Fork River. Delta, Alaska/Horizon, United, Alegiant, Frontier and US Airways offer flights into Glacier National Airport (FCA). 47:10. South Fork of the Flathead River - July 2018 Packrafting Trip - Duration: 26:05. Furdog777 3,325 views. The main stem flows through Columbia Falls and into Flathead Lake. 406-888-5454, Shore Thing Shuttles – Mainstem above Flathead Lake. Closed to angling June 1 through September 30 within a 150-yard radius of the Big Creek stream mouth unless posted at a greater distance. From the early spring fishing in March and April, May … Motor boats use this often. Closed to angline June 1 through September 30 within a 150-yard radius of the Bear Creek Stream mouth. The east side road (through Martin City) is straighter but gets more traffic. $3200.00 base rate Check/ACH payment $ 1600.00 deposit required to hold your dates. Float the south fork of the flathead In addition to guided fly fishing, we offer drop float trips on the South Fork of the Flathead River. To access the road section above the reservoir, you still have several hours of dirt road just to get there. From the mouth of the Stillwater River downstream to Flathead Lake, no maggots and no scented artifi cial lures (infused, saturated or applied). If you are floating the river, you will need to arrange transportation at the end of your journey. Hiking up or down river for wade fishing is also a good bet here. Another convenient day trip float. The Middle Fork of the Flathead River is more whitewater intensive. Bob Marshall Wilderness, MT • 1.406.644.5363. I thought I might catch them because there were a … View a map of this area and more on Natural Atlas. Utilizing the services of an outfitter is a great move. Please try to pack coolers and containers that are the same size for balancing mule loads. They also partner with Lary’s Fly Shop in Columbia Falls and you can drop-in the shop for current reports and trips. Main Stem – 17,500 CFS. The North Fork, Middle Fork and South Fork all come together to form the Main Stem near Columbia Falls. Bass: Open entire year, 5 daily and in possession, no size limit. It is truly wild and the Hungry Horse Reservoir dam has isolated the river, preserving westslope cutthroat genetics and bull trout populations. Sportsman’s Bridge – Obvious access site. Years of guiding in western Montana during the summers provided me with great exposure to Montana's fabled waters, but the idea of fishing for pure strain Westslope cutthroats in the heart of the Bob Marshall Complex nagged at me right into retirement. South Fork Flathead River. 1; 2; 3; First Prev 3 of 3 Go to page. Includes rainbow trout, cutthroat trout and grayling. 65 miles from the origin to Hungry Reservoir and almost all of it flows through remote wilderness. It is unlawful to possess a live bull trout for any reason. The South Fork Flathead represents 50 percent of westslope cutthroat range. Nice for a quick float from Teakettle. Popular with water skiers in the summer. This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged. Note: Montana/Glacier National Park boundary is the middle of the river. That flows into Flathead Lake. Glacier Raft Company – They run the North, Middle and some main-stem. It runs out of the Bob Marshall Wilderness, offering options for both wilderness trips and road access trips. I can honestly say, this was the most memorable and seamless of all trips thanks to the unique and family- friendly service the Cheff’s provide. Our experienced packers will weigh and pack your gear so that you can have an early start the next morning. Busted Oarlock – Fly Fishing, Rafting and Hunting in a Campervan. Wayne and I floated down Young's Creek and then down the South Fork of the Flathead River to Meadow Creek Gorge. 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. The deep green water and the canyons make for some great pictures. The Ranger District managed timber sales and was very successful in fire suppression. Following the establishment of the South Fork Primitive Area in 1931, and the Pentagon Primitive Area in 1933, recreation also became a focus. Start smallmouth bass fishing here. From Bear Creek to the confluence you can access the river from the highway at multiple locations. Coal Creek – 9 miles below Polebridge. Packers – There are several operations here. 65 miles from the origin to Hungry Reservoir and almost all of it flows through remote wilderness. Extended season for whitefish and lake trout, and catch-and-release for other game fish, except northern pike, from December 1 through the third Saturday in May with artificial lures and/or maggots only. Young’s Creek at Confluence of the South Fork of the Flathead River. A Hungry Horse/South Fork Flathead Bull Trout Catch Card must be in possession when fishing for bull trout. In addition to guided fishing trips, we offer drop & float trips on the South Fork of the Flathead River. Big runoff can make the river too dangerous. In this image captured during the spring after the snowmelt has begun, the water levels have been dropped to allow for the influx of melt runoff which will fill the 1,640 square mile catchment area to capacity. On my trips portaging our gear out I took pictures of as much of the gorge as I could, with the idea I might get an opportunity to run it before I die. The South Fork Acclaimed as one of Montana’s most pristine and remote rivers, the Wild and Scenic South Fork of the Flathead River originates in the south end of the flows northward to Hungry Horse Reservoir. Teakettle – 14 miles below Blankenship. 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. Day 2 – Relax. It is very scenic. The Wilderness Runs The South Fork is a serious wilderness trip that requires horses to pack in your gear and a good week of floating to find yourself at a takeout with 60 miles of dirt road waiting before you hit pavement again. Or extend it to the next one. There are a few midway point options here as well but Blankship is the most convenient takeout. Gauging Station – Access below the dam and float into the main-stem. Mark Fuller and Hilary Hutcheson are the premier guides for Flathead River fly fishing trips. Mid Creek Takout – This is where you will takeout from the Wilderness float. The South Fork of the Flathead River is a different beast. Polson Park – The lake enters the river channel. South Fork of the Flathead Drop Floats Ride in with us and float out on your own! What is included in the base rate: 1 packer, 6 animals, either pack or ride. SOUTH FORK OF THE FLATHEAD DROP FLOATS MULE PACKING SERVICE FOR YOUR BOAT AND GEAR. NOTE: A Flathead Indian Reservation Tribal Permit is required to fish on the southern portion of the lake. Written by Austin Stowell. Leave from Benchmark Trailhead to Youngs Creek and Danaher River confluence for 2 nights. Trip Report South Fork Flathead River, Bob Marshall Wilderness. Moccasin Creek – Another 8 mile run that is great for half or full day runs. The South Fork of the Flathead trip begins and ends in Kalispell, Montana. If you need help finding an outfitter to help pack you out at your take out, we can provide you with some recommendations. Recent Posts. The best fly fishing in the Flathead River is below the South Fork River. I knew they weren't that far ahead of us from the horse poop on the trail along the way, and the stirred up silt in hoofprints where the trail went through wet areas. In the early years, Forest Service workers helped on county road construction. Either … Bull trout: catch-and-release from the third saturday in May through July 31. If you are interested for a drop camp trip for hiking and fishing, the cost would be doubled for pickup and return. In 1908, for example, Jack Clack was in … 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. Last stop before the Clark Fork Confluence. Aug 17, 2018 #31 Salmo_g said: Nice pics Trapper. 2018 Packrafting South Fork of the Flathead River - Bob Marshall Wilderness I headed off down the trail hoping to catch up with the packers. When he was 23, he got a job guiding fishing trips on the South Fork Flathead River for the Wilderness Lodge, where he learned to handle stock. During the 1910s, almost all Forest Service employees learned to pack a horse; horses were more tolerant of poor packers than mules. The South Fork of the Flathead in Montana is perhaps the most popular packraft rivers in the lower-48. After the Buffalo bridge, the river is wide, slow and full of smallmouth bass and pike. FAS site. Bad Rock Canyon Conservation Project. A short section below the Hungry Horse Dam makes up the final stretch before the confluence. It flows out of deep wilderness and feeds the largest lake west of the Mississippi. A variety of car rentals are available should you decide to visit Glacier National Park before or after your trip. The Greater Bob consists of approximately 1.5 million acres of wild country to the south of Glacier National Park. 406-407-1602. I was astonished. Lake trout: 100 daily and in possession, only 1 over 36 inches, and all fish 30 to 36 inches must be released. each additional pack mule or riding animal is $350. Call them directly at 406-261-4343 or call the fly shop at 406-897-3740. The Middle and South fork are around 4-5 feet of clarity, while the North Fork is at 3 feet of clarity. Combined Trout: 3 daily and in possessionession, none over 12 inches in rivers and streams, no size limit in lakes. My husband, two daughters ages 12 & 14 and I recently took a week long trip into the Bob Marshall Wilderness with the assistance of 406 Wilderness Outfitters. It is one of the three main forks of the Flathead River, a tributary of the Clark Fork River (the Pend Oreille River).The north-northwest trending river is about 98 miles (158 km) long, making it the second longest tributary of the Flathead River. Around 5 miles total. There’s fly fishing, hiking and just relaxing — or for those interested in horseback riding we saddle up for some adventure travel and … Part 2- The South Fork Flathead River - Duration: 47:10. Started the Busted Oar Lock to share interesting stories and discoveries from the road. The goal of the project is to wipe out hybridized trout in the watershed by about 2017. Fishing in the Flathead Valley is progressively getting better as the days go on. Bear Creek – The first road access where you can launch a boat. Motorboats use this zone. It’s much broader and slower here. Not a bad thing as they typically focus on whitewater and pick up fishing trips on the side. If possible, long duffle bags are preferred for packing gear in. I thought they would helicopter the material in. These "do it yourself" rafting drop floats in the Bob Marshall Wilderness can put you right in the middle of the best fishing in Montana. ), then southerly and southwesterly along said trail to USFS Trail 154, then southwesterly along said trail to USFS Trail 155, then westerly along said trail to USFS Trail … Our max load per pack animal is 150 pounds. The wilderness mountain settings, clear waters, campfires, wilderness lakes and streams, and superb fishing will wash away worldly cares. Before the trip: Fly commercially into Kalispell, Montana. Purchase online. Class III-IV rapids require experienced boaters through here as well. We then portaged the gorge and floated the Cedar Flats section of the river down to Spotted Bear Ranger Station. Everything below Kerr Dam runs through the Flathead Reservation and requires a license purchased directly from the reservation. Relying on up-to-date, real-time fishing reports is key to getting the most out of your Flathead River fishing trip. Young’s Creek and Danaher Creek come together to form the “confluence” and headwaters of the South Fork. West Glacier – 6 miles down and convenient to the town of West Glacier and the entrance to Glacier National Park. Writing, photographing, hunting, fishing and exploring full-time. In 1921, the U.S. Forest Service USFS moved the original Spotted Bear headquarters compound, established in 1908 near Spotted Bear Lake, to this site. Extended season for whitefish and lake trout from December 1 through the third Saturday in May with artificial lures and/or maggots only. Middle Fork Flathead River – 7,290 CFS. Nice mellow float through here. South Fork Flathead River drainage was described as the largest and most secure stronghold for the species in Montana (Liknes 1984). Log jams and strainers are a major hazard so be extra careful here. On … Those pictures and some … Schafer Meadows – Pack or fly into this area float the wilderness stretch of the river out. Constructed in 1910, the Danaher Ranger Station is situated in a remote location along the upper South Fork Flathead River drainage. While the wilderness area has many outstanding features, from the perspective of a fly angler, the South Fork of the Flathead River must be considered its crown jewel. You can rent a cabin in Polebridge, grab some food at the mercantile and have a nice float without needing to camp in grizzly bear country. Extended season for whitefish and catch-and-release for trou open December 1 to third Saturday in May with artificial lures and/or maggots only. Overview. There are 3 main reasons for this as I see it: 1. The South Fork of the Flathead River is a major river in Northwestern Montana. Essex Bridge – 5 miles down, the bridge is a nicer launch site than bear creek and is more passable in low flows. Perma – 14 miles from Dixon. Ford – 14 miles down makes this a good day trip option. It's a long journey to get there. The South Fork of the Flathead River is one of the three main forks of the Flathead River and begins at the confluence of Danaher Creek and Youngs Creek. Drive safe and turn around if needed. The South Fork of the Flathead River feeds into the Hungry Horse Reservoir in this image looking north towards the Apgar Mountains alongside the Whitefish and Smokey Mountain Ranges in the distance. In addition, due to the new regulations regarding watercraft inspections, please be sure that you are following the Montana Fish and Wildlife regulations and have your watercraft inspected before dropping it off to us for packing. The logistics of fishing the Flathead river from a boat are not easy. In addition to guided fishing trips, we offer drop & float trips on the South Fork of the Flathead River. … Many of the lakes had been historically stocked with exotic … Cascadilla Creek – 11 miles down. This threat was defined as especially predictable in drainages with a lake in the headwaters. Photographer, fly fisherman, and strong advocate for having a good time. Note that some motor boats do use the lower river as well. Class III-IV rapids are big and technical. To access the road section above the reservoir, you still have several hours of dirt road just to get there. All bull trout must be released immediately. You can go in from Holland Lake or reach Young’s Creek from Ovando area trailheads. Operating in the Bob Marshall Wilderness since 1932. The South Fork has good numbers of 8”- 16” cutthroat. South Fork of the Flathead River Long before I had a bucket list and two pack donkeys, I yearned to hike up the South Fork of the Flathead River. Includes rainbow trout, cutthroat trout, and grayling. The gorge below this is insane. Go. It forms the western border for Glacier National Park and is incredibly beautiful. Recent graduate looking for his path down the river of life. Dixon – Another 20 to the small town of Dixon. 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