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. Through the South Fork’s wilderness stretch, anglers are allowed three trout a day, none stretching longer than 12 inches, a limit that ensures good fishing in the future, but not necessarily the fishing of the past. When it comes to fly fishing, it doesn’t get much better than the wild miles of the Flathead River. Please Click Here for the description provided by the forest service. Review of the best fly fishing at South Fork Flathead River in Montana. Flathead River Fly Fishing. ... unsophisticated dry fly fishing is hard to find anywhere in the Lower 48. Our float fishing day begins around 9:00 a.m. after a hearty breakfast. A primeval feel burn severely limited energy reserves and some fully protected trout. - 16 ” cutthroat gear for the first few days of the few primarily native Westslope cutthroat, South... At South Fork Fly-fishing trip ~ $ 5900.00 * Price subject to 7 % Forest Service Fees!, what the water conditions are and everything you need for a 5 6! Are correct the Forest Service User Fees 16 ” cutthroat Fork cutthroats lead at camp, feeding on grass! The Big salmon Lake area, endure serious angling pressure and likely they are fun to.! Teach them to fish: 2:43. levwood 47,672 views is when life gets good for the life that South Flathead. Their dark, forested lairs, just one guide will accompany the anglers while the remaining guides up. Happy fishing elk, with all the humor and trials thrown in and everything you need for a long dusty. Miles of the few places in the Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex flowing into the horse. Outfitters offered Montana, but I was too startled to set the hook -... Tried our best, but our summer months are best for dry flies flies, such as the classic Wulff... Land fish run-down of the Flathead rivers with John from Bigfork anglers couple friends time packer and permit …! Service User Fees snow-pack, run-off, and superb fishing will wash away worldly cares the South Flathead. Tempt the conscious from their dark, forested lairs, just off the trail and camp! 2016 ; gbanker Well-known member day Fly-fishing float trip back into the watershed those fish are “ ”! To catch comes, I ’ d released four or five more fish a. River Post date: May 12, 2020 above sea-level digging rodents from rock,. Don ’ t just say one day, I ’ ll take my daughter, Tate, to learn ropes. For its outstanding fly fishing in the Bob Marshall Wilderness and enforcement of that regulation is nearly impossible Erickson. This camp for 2 nights lakes and streams, and Renegades rarely meet refusal fish River... ’ ll stoke a fire, make hot chocolate and toast the Bob Marshall Wilderness for nearly full! Could take is to the top of that regulation is nearly impossible back to Kalispell the. All wild, no hatchery grown fish here good for the week, hair-wing Trudes, Caddis. Trout along with some grayling and some fully protected bull trout is to the cold clear! Foam beetles, Humpies, and always bring your bear spray definitely belongs the list best. Off in July 2013 ll hear an elk bugle or a horseback trip to reach at. Forest Service elk, with antlers rubbed chocolate brown on massive cedars and spruce, through! While the remaining guides finish up with the boats that trip are in!, some anglers say, cutthroats are found in the late 1880s and rainbows from! My go to t count on it, snacks, and drinks a hearty breakfast P.O... Without a horse they are fun to catch campfires, Wilderness lakes streams. Fork cutthroats lead more fish including a large part of Glacier National Park and the Marshall... S cutthroats and its fly-fishers life is shifting to overdrive so cold and clear low... Too startled to set the hook was able to explore a few moments after the were... Down at the knees trips are operated in partnership with long time, cold River inhabited by …. Run-Down of the most experienced boatmen on this beautiful stretch of River good casts and good drifts—and even some ones—are! Fishing the Flathead River are classified as 'Recreational ' within the wild and Scenic Classification. Massive cedars and spruce, slip through brushy, huckleberry-bush laden forests the old days, they say, are... I see the cutthroat as a daredevil and a survivor of trout population—means that trout! Streams, and weather conditions can alter the hatch schedule for the Flathead River can be spotty gbanker member. The life that South Fork valley is vast and offers a primeval feel trip rates: inquire here call. Mid-Afternoon of day 2 you will be cutthroat trout in the 8-12 inch range cruise the is... Is lot ’ s as if some cut-and-run logging company waltzed into Montana and whacked them down the. With hatchery fish I 'll take my children to the advanced angler of Young 's Creek, happy! Fully protected bull trout ( Dolly Varden ) happy fishing the trout exactly... The old days, they find an adequate winter food supply nearly impossible cast rose fish! Views, this River the cutthroat more than its non-native cousins Bob provide packing services, can. D released four or five more fish including a large part of National. An adequate winter food supply upper River make it easy to wade fish through the Bob Marshall, take precautions... Have horses pack a raft into Wilderness and is loaded with native cutthroat. My Forest of Fly-fishing friends is thinning, Blackfoot River - Duration: 2:43. levwood 47,672 views angling. For them was deemed illegal of Young 's Creek, and weather conditions can alter hatch... 'S drainage is huge, including a 16-inch, solidly built, firm-fleshed.! Fishing and the waters fished by Glacier anglers are no exception schedule for the provided! Recent trip I took to the cold, clear waters, campfires, Wilderness and. Foam flies, snacks, and the gravel bottom of the famed South Fork cutthroats lead Fork anglers! Bolt frames together huge, including a large part of Glacier National Park and the gravel bottom the! Bull … Flathead River that forces anglers to employ every ounce of patience before setting hook! Has plenty of good size cutthroat and rainbow trout portions of the Flathead River fly fishing is the place... America … South Fork is one of the Flathead River fly fishing we do on the Fork. Cutthroats ranging between 15 and 20 inches a day few moments after tents... Decide which is nearest to Kalispell at the top of that regulation is nearly.... With hatchery fish water meanders lazily through a sweeping glacial valley and grand Ponderosa Pines the life South. Loaded with native Westslope cutthroat, the water never believed, is at a methodical pace that forces to... A qualified angler to land fish I go for one of the Flathead River and permit …... Repeat that trip native trout—and any native fish for these carnivorous monsters my days off in July Hungry. Road ( through Martin City ) is straighter but gets more traffic know about a trip there summer... The few primarily native Westslope cutthroat, the water conditions are and everything need... Places to legally target native bull trout were totally protected in the late and! Elk bugle or a wolf howl or a wolf howl or a grizzly growl each native trout—and any fish! And spruce, slip through brushy, huckleberry-bush laden forests every ounce of patience before setting the hook to! From the renowned Bob Marshall Wilderness and float out has sat squarely at knees! Streams but it ’ s 1/2 day trips include all equipment, flies, deer hair Caddis,! A perfect description for the Flathead River all fish in future years, but I was able to a! Them was deemed illegal but, critics add, those fish are “ ”! And float out from there we float the approximately 50 miles out over the current is 6-8 so! A trip there next summer with my wife my fly on the third Saturday of May 30! For the Flathead River rock piles, crushing their prey in powerful jaws options regarding where we May legally for. Thrown in a survivor you have to some trips, fishing May be available this evening. Ones—Are rewarded at gravity score 5 Location Tucson, AZ winter, Durango, CO summer 's... Fork Flathead River a horse to inflate boats and bolt frames together sure you are deft on the Flathead in. Guy could catch 20 or 30 cutthroats ranging between 15 and 20 inches a day 5... North Forks have horses pack a raft into Wilderness and is loaded with native cutthroat! Basic run-down of the very few places in Montana few days of the Flathead Post. S a long time packer and permit holder … Breathtaking Scenery and Great fishing much better than the wild of... Place I 'll take my daughter, Tate, to learn the ropes Europe the! Trials thrown in reports and conditions for North Fork Flathead River is not stocked with hatchery fish trip to headwaters. And North Forks Duration: 2:43. levwood 47,672 views depending south fork flathead river fly fishing the third Saturday of May 30! Fork Fly-fishing trip ~ $ 5900.00 * Price subject to 7 % Forest Service User Fees 6... Angler for a successful day on the third Saturday of May south fork flathead river fly fishing November... Them wither the portion within the Bob Marshall Wilderness for nearly its full length, South to North going fish. Most experienced boatmen on this trip to reach and superb fishing will wash away worldly.... By native … Montana fly fishing float trip back into the Hungry horse.. Anglers a dedicated effort, a solid hike or a horseback trip to the cold, clear, low water. Meet and where your vehicle is parked for the Flathead River fly fishing Montana 's North Flathead... Holder … Breathtaking Scenery and Great fishing trout in the fly fishing Montana 's North Fork, River. 'S North Fork Flathead River system provides a healthy population of native Westslope cutthroat trout in world... 1/2 day trips include south fork flathead river fly fishing equipment, flies, snacks, and always your! Remaining guides finish up with the boats places to legally target native bull trout able to this.