We also have visitor guides available in states highlighted in blue below. Access to the South Fork is by foot or horseback. Since the fishing pressure is low, the trout aren’t horribly picky about what they will take. The trout are all wild—there is no hatchery grown fish here. In addition to guided fishing trips, we offer drop & float trips on the South Fork of the Flathead River. They drifted down rivers into Flathead Lake becoming established in the late 1970’s and peaking in the mid 1980’s. Less inspiring is the fishing (honesty hurts at times! The lower 17 mile section to Blankenship Bridge and the confluence of the Middle Fork is classified as Recreational. However, if you time your trip right, before spring runoff, you can catch larger westslope cutthroat trout that migrate from Flathead Lake on their spring spawning runs. Complete the form below to email this page to a friend or family member's email. In 1976, US Congress designated 219 miles of the Flathead River as “National Wild and Scenic.” The Flathead River offers more than 275 miles of river rafting ranging from peaceful Class I float trips to Class III+ whitewater adventures on the North Fork and Middle Fork of the Flathead River. The White River has adequate flows through early July. Floating the South Fork of the Flathead River is perhaps one of the finest floats anyone can do in the lower 48. To reach this section of the river, though, requires going down a rather steep and hazardous put-in at the dam. Jim Klug photo. Be prepared for dusty conditions! Searchable list of Kalispell tour companies, guides and outfitters, rental companies and more. DIXON, Mont. Secondly, these waters are cold, being fed by groundwater and glacier fed streams. Once the fry emerge from the gravels, juveniles will rear in these tributaries for 1-3 years until they migrate back to Flathead Lake. From there, the South Fork trail more or less follows the river throughout its journey in the wilderness area. Upon reaching the Meadow Creek Pack Bridge, it is a short hike into the wilderness. 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. Opening is the third Saturday in May through November 30, however, there is an extended catch and release season for trout and a 50 daily limit for whitefish for the rest of the year. Due to the fact that the South Fork of the Flathead River starts deep in the wilderness area and flows for more than 40 miles through the heart of the complex, simply getting to the South Fork is an adventure in itself. The Bob has been on my radar for years, because inside The Bob is one of the greatest multi-day float trips in America: the South Fork of the Flathead River. And cooking fish, especially over an open fire, produces a powerful aroma—an aroma that grizzly bears just love. The scenery is spectacular, as the river flows through a pristine and remote wilderness. The reason for that is two fold. Other fish, such as non-native lake trout and lake whitefish thrived in these conditions to the detriment of native fish. Just be careful not to spook the fish—the waters of the South Fork of the Flathead River are crystal clear. This is in addition to the local wildlife that can make any trip an interesting and memorable experience. This county maintained road parallels the river along it’s entire length. The solution is to stretch it into a multi-day river trip. The catch is, of course, the best fishing is found well above the Meadow Creek Pack Bridge, as far fewer people fish upstream than at the much more accessible trailhead. The distance from the Dam to the trailhead at Meadow Creek Pack Bridge is about 50 miles, which takes about two hours. 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