The native west-slope cutthroats found in the South Fork Flathead are gems, each fish carrying the genes and internal wiring of their ancestors, traits developed specifically for survival in a harsh northern Montana climate and the challenging South Fork Flathead River Valley. These days, most of the South Fork’s cutthroat descend the river and spend winter in Hungry Horse reservoir, a 35-mile long impoundment that separates the upper South Fork from its lower five miles. Good casts and good drifts—and even some bad ones—are rewarded. Day two of the wilderness expedition is generally a somewhat shorter ride ending with afternoon wade fishing on the South Fork of the Flathead. In that reservoir the fish find minimal current, which allows them to conserve energy. The Flathead River has something for everyone. Fish from those streams drop to Flathead Lake during winter, just like the South Fork’s fish used to do, where they compete with bull trout and non-native fishes, such as Lake Superior whitefish, lake trout (also called mackinaws), northern pike, and rainbow trout. Aug 27, 2016 #1 Each August , for the past 4 years , my wife and I have ridden 20 miles into the Bob Marshall Wilderness to fish for cutts. Thinking about a trip there next summer with my wife. Whether you are a veteran angler or a first-time beginner, you will be thrilled and amazed at the numbers and size of the Westlope Cutthroat Trout. Adding intrigue to a South Fork foray is the method in which anglers access the river—by horseback or on foot, with heavy packs on their backs, following significant trails that course steep bluffs and lead into the wilderness. South Fork of the Flathead River – Slideshow. Lincoln, MT 59639 Fifteen minutes later I’d released four or five more fish including a 16-inch, solidly built, firm-fleshed specimen. Take, for instance, a recent trip I took to the South Fork with a couple friends. South Fork Flathead River info? Beginning in the Canadian Rockies north of Glacier National Park, the Flathead flows south through northwestern Montana into Flathead … This is when life gets good for the South Fork’s cutthroats and its fly-fishers. Find out where the action is, what the water conditions are and everything you need for a successful day on the water! 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. It was a 2 day horseback, 5 day fly-fishing float trip back into the Bob Marshall Wilderness. The wilderness mountain settings, clear waters, campfires, wilderness lakes and streams, and superb fishing will wash away worldly cares. Fly Fishing in the United States. South Fork Flathead River info? A South Fork cutthroat’s challenges don’t end with winter. When the time comes, I’ll take my children to the river and teach them to fish dry flies for eager cutthroats. Your email address will not be published. The South Fork of the Flathead River is a truly remote stream. You can’t just say one day, I’m going to fish the South Fork and race up there. Several guide services located around the Bob provide packing services, and can pack in gear for the floaters without a horse. Due to the cold, clear, low nutrient water, fly fishing in the North Fork Flathead River can be spotty. Included: We provide transportation from Kalispell to the river and back to Kalispell at the end of the trip. The South Fork of the Flathead begins deep in the Bob Marshall Wilderness at the confluence of Danaher Creek and Youngs Creek. For years now, the South Fork of the Flathead River has sat squarely at the top of that list. Here's the video from our Montana trip in July! 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. Typically, we start fishing both rivers in late June through September using dry flies. Cutthroats levitate for dry flies at a methodical pace that forces anglers to employ every ounce of patience before setting the hook. Recall, brown trout came from Europe in the late 1880s and rainbows arrived from California. Messages 202 Reaction score 5 Location Tucson, AZ winter, Durango,CO summer. i was able to explore a few on my days off in july 2013. Box 265 On some trips, fishing may be available this first evening. Fly Fishing in the United States. Current fly fishing reports and conditions for North Fork of the Flathead River in Montana! Messages 202 Reaction score 5 Location Tucson, AZ winter, Durango,CO summer. this truly is a trip of a lifetime. We started at the Meadow Creek Trailhead on the lower South Fork and charged in about 10 miles, burdened by 50-pound backpacks and the previous evening’s toxic dreams, courtesy of the Bucksnort Bar. We all agree that finding time to fish is more difficult than it used to be. This is outstanding fishing, as there is a wild cutthroat trout everywhere in the river you would expect one to be – and some in places you would NOT expect them to be. Wilderness is wilderness and enforcement of that regulation is nearly impossible. Unfortunately, all they can do is picture those fish because few monster cutthroats are found in the Flathead. I see the cutthroat as a daredevil and a survivor. Fly Fishing in the United States. BWOs – #16-20 (pale olive body grey wing) Dry Fly – Para Adams, Para Haze, Sparkle, Dun, Marabou Cripple During the summer months, numerous smaller cutthroats in the 8-12 inch range cruise the river. Fly Fishing in the United States. When I lost my fly on the rock cliff behind me, I gave up. At that time the river warms and hatches of stoneflies, caddisflies, mayflies and terrestrial insects, such as ants, beetles and moths occur. Good casts and good drifts—and even some bad ones—are rewarded. If it looks fishy, it is. The river opens for fishing on the third Saturday of May until 30 November. Fishing Reports, South Fork The river helps the BWO and mahogany dun activity by having a near constant flow ( 6050 cfs at Irwin, 6700 cfs at Heise, 3550 cfs at Lorenzo) of clear, cool water for several days, but it looks like a drop in flow out of Palisades is coming up. Despite my enthusiasm, some anglers say the South Fork isn’t anything like it used to be, that it’s declined to a point that doesn’t merit their time. The east side road (through Martin City) is straighter but gets more traffic. A Trip Down the South Fork of the Flathead From the Young's and Danaher Creek Confluence to Meadow Creek Gorge July, 2015 Click on any image for a larger view; Contact garya at this domain if you would like the high quality image for printing . Fly fishing the … Many people attribute the river’s decline to increased angling pressure and likely they are correct. The South Fork is the favorite of the Flatheads. The South Fork of the Flathead is known in the fly fishing world as the mecca for dry-fly cutthroat trout fishing. Once in hand, anglers find perfection. Each trip may take a different route in, but all will end the same place, which is nearest to Kalispell. The Flathead River is a crystal clear, clean, cold river inhabited by native … 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. Flathead River Fly Fishing Report. It has plenty of good size cutthroat and rainbow trout along with some grayling and some fully protected bull trout. But, critics add, those fish are “stupid” and offer little challenge to the advanced angler. This cold, clear water flows into the North, South and Middle forks of the Flathead, which merge together near Columbia Falls to begin a southward journey. Fishing seasons . 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. Fishing the North Fork Flathead River. Our Bob Marshall trips are operated in partnership with long time packer and permit holder … Flathead valley has many fishing oppertunities. Many guests choose to have their vehicle shuttled to the Meadow Creek Trailhead where our journey ends. Snow-pack, run-off, and weather conditions can alter the hatch times considerably. A real nice westslope cutthroat ready for release. 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. We tried our best, but we couldn’t really reach the sweet spot. I’m not a numbers guy when it comes to fishing, but I did keep track of the fish I caught on a particular day, August 21. South Fork Flathead River. Messages 202 Reaction score 5 Location Tucson, AZ winter, Durango,CO summer. Bull elk, with antlers rubbed chocolate brown on massive cedars and spruce, slip through brushy, huckleberry-bush laden forests. The South Fork, which is located east of Flathead Lake in northwestern Montana, is one of three major forks of the mother-stream Flathead River. Since the water is so cold and clear, you have to be a qualified angler to land fish. From numerous promontories, located a couple hundred feet above the South Fork, anglers peer into aqua-green holes, some that reach 30 feet deep, and imagine trout as long as their legs holding against the current. The Flathead River’s South Fork: A Haven for Cutthroat Fly-Fishing Mavens Montana’s Flathead River flows through the pristine, densely forested Bob Marshall Wilderness, the one-million acre chunk of protected turf that offers perhaps some of the best western fly-fishing in these United States. July Bull Trout Fishing Trip. First day ride into Salmon Forks camp; next five days horseback rove, camp and fish at different locations that can include: Little Salmon, Salmon Lake, White River, South Fork Flathead River and Salmon Forks, five full days; ride out last day. An explosion occurred at the surface and moments later I twisted a fly from the mouth of an eight-inch cutthroat and set that fish free. One of the best flyfishing streams but it’s a long, dusty 50-mile drive on bumpy gravel roads to Spotted Bear. Current fly fishing reports and conditions for North Fork of the Flathead River in Montana! And, when you’re camping in the Bob Marshall, take all precautions with your food and camp—bears are numerous. Depending on the time of year, anglers could be throwing large foam flies, deer hair caddis flies, or tiny emerging mayflies. The ride in is 6-8 hours so at least two of the days will be devoted to riding on horseback. Bull Trout in excess of 35" can be caught and are often times considered a “bucket list” fish for many fly fishermen. The South Fork is a great river for the elite angler as well as the novice & the beginner, very easy to wade, lots of gravel bars, easy casting & you will catch nice fish! Portions of the upper mainstem Flathead River are classified as 'Recreational' within the Wild and Scenic River Classification system. South Fork Flathead River Fly Fishing. Your target species will be cutthroat trout and rainbow trout. General South Fork Flathead trip rates: inquire here or call us at 208-756-3959. With compliance, anglers could see bigger fish in future years, but don’t count on it. Throughout, the South Fork Valley is vast and offers a primeval feel. And, without words, on a calm summer night in Montana we’ll agree that few fly fishing locals offer as much as the South Fork Flathead. The Flathead is unique because it remains one of the few primarily native Westslope Cutthroat Trout fisheries left. Most common fish species. South Fork Flathead River Fly Fishing is the best you will find anywhere – period. South Fork Flathead River Dave Archer, fishingtips101.com. 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