The main part of the Flathead River begins where the North Fork and the Middle Fork meet near West Glacier. It’s an ideal 2-4 day float trip without any designated camping sites. Reaches designated wild and scenic include the entire North Fork south of the Canada–US border, the entire Middle Fork, and the South Fork above Hungry Horse Reservoir.[13]. Trading posts were established north of Flathead Lake. Currently, several log jams on the North Fork are found between Polebridge downstream to the Camas Road Bridge. Only about three percent of Earth’s water is freshwater. At the Jocko River confluence it turns west, and a few miles after flows into the Clark Fork near Paradise. The rapids in the North Fork Flathead River are far from severe, certainly nothing like on the Middle Fork Flathead River. In the 1940s, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers sought permission to build Glacier View Dam on the North Fork of the Flathead River that serves as the western boundary of Montana’s Glacier National Park. The scenery along the North Fork Flathead River is absolutely awesome. Here at Glacier Anglers, we fish both the Middle and North Forks. Flathead River. Throughout it’s length in Montana, it forms the western boundary of Glacier National Park. There are plenty of access points along the way and unless the water is very high, the river usually provides a relatively easy float through some of the most gorgeous scenery you will find anywhere. 1968 was the year of the National Wild and scenic river act. It is one of the three main forks of the Flathead River, a tributary of the Clark Fork River. Just remember, it is illegal to intentionally fish for or keep a bull trout. USGS 12355500 N F Flathead River nr Columbia Falls MT. North Fork Flathead River Boat Ramps 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. Flathead River rafting can be found on the North and Middle Forks of the Flathead River. However, with all the rapids, twists and turns and gravel bars, any floater or fisherman is highly unlikely to see any boat with a motor on it. Copyright 2002 - 2020 Big Sky Fishing.Com, Photographs of the North Fork Flathead River, More info about Sea Eagle Motormount rafts at Sea Eagle, Blakenship Bridge (confluence of the Flathead River): 0. Find out where the action is, what the water conditions are and everything you need for a successful day on the water! Deep Pools along the North Fork Flathead River in Montana provide the best fishing location. While the road is nearby, the river frequently flows down in a steep canyon, making road access difficult. Wet flies also work well, especially in the numerous deep pools. These holes make wonderful fishing holes for the intrepid angler who can reach them. Huge collection, amazing choice, 100+ million high quality, affordable RF and RM images. The remoteness is what brings people to this part of Montana and … Wade fishing is generally good along the river. Current fly fishing reports and conditions for North Fork of the Flathead River in Montana! Access is easy, with numerous designated access sites, and countless unofficial access sites. Overall, the North Fork Flathead River may not appeal to the angler in search of large, trophy sized trout. North Fork Flathead River is a river in Glacier National Park, Flathead National Forest, MT. Always be on the lookout for a logjam partially blocking the river. To get the proper depth, a sink tip line or weights are often needed, since these pools can be quite deep. This north-northwest trending river is about 98 miles (158 km) long, making it the second longest tributary of the Flathead River. Excellent boats for a float down the North Fork include inflatable kayaks, pontoon boats, catamaran kayaks, inflatable canoes and inflatable rafts of varying sizes. Of that, only about 1.2 percent can be used as drinking water; the rest is locked up in glaciers, ice caps, and permafrost, or … View a map of this area and more on Natural Atlas. The Flathead River (Salish: ntx̣ʷetkʷ, ntx̣ʷe), in the northwestern part of the U.S. state of Montana, originates in the Canadian Rockies to the north of Glacier National Park and flows southwest into Flathead Lake, then after a journey of 158 miles (254 km), empties into the Clark Fork. As one might guess, flowing through such wild country, the local fauna is also quite diverse. We camped at the put-in and take-out, so we took 5 days and 5 nights overall. Need a Flathead River Shuttle? [3][9], Near Polson the river leaves the natural basin of Flathead Lake, but first passes through Kerr Dam, which maintains the level of Flathead Lake artificially. Other than those words of caution, the North Fork Flathead River is a wonderful river to float. Upstream of Big Creek, the North Fork Flathead River has a “scenic” designation, meaning no motors are allowed. The first settlers began arriving in the 1860s. The rugged area includes the landscapes of Glacier National Park and the Bob Marshall and Great Bear Wilderness areas. Down stream from Big Creek, the river has a “recreation” designation, with a maximum speed of 10hp. One cannot build houses on its banks you cannot build any dams or divert the water for irrigation. [3] The river then flows westwards to join the South Fork and cuts between the Whitefish Range and Swan Range via Bad Rock Canyon. North Fork Homesteaders in 1910 -NPS. Access for the wade fisherman is generally easy, as the North Fork Road closely parallels the river for much of its length, although some bushwhacking is required to reach the better spots and deeper holes. They are easy to catch on various caddisfly and mayfly imitations, floated around submerged and partially submerged structure, such as rocks and downed trees. 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. For the spin fisherman, small spoons (hopefully with the barbs removed), fished around the rocks and pools will pull in these cutthroats as well. This has been the subject of 33 years of dispute between the United States and Canada. Photo of a river. British Columbia has yet to agree to this. All of the headwaters forks are entirely or in part designated National Wild and Scenic Rivers. During high water is not the time to float this river. That said, there are a couple of things to watch out for when floating the North Fork Flathead River. The North Fork Flathead is undeniably … The North Fork Flathead River is truly one of Montana’s wild streams. USGS 12355500 N F Flathead River nr Columbia Falls MT. Taking a Break on the North Fork Flathead River. But you’ll generally need a boat to reach them. An inflatable raft, inflatable kayak, pontoon boat or other boat is particularly helpful to reach the “hidden pools” between Big Creek and Glacier Rim River Access. A raft floats past a towering cutbank while floating the upper North Fork of the Flathead River in late July. Activities Water Activities HIDE. Map of the Flathead River, its tributary forks and downriver connection to the Columbia River via Clark Fork and the Pend Oreille River. After flowing through the dam the river turns south and meanders through the Flathead Valley west of the Mission Mountains, and at Dixon it is joined by the small Jocko River. There are no major rapids from Ford until reaching the Glacier Northern Flats area, where several small Class II and one Class III rapid exist. Other than the small town of Polebridge, which has no electricity, the North Fork does not pass through a town of any size for it’s entire length. However, while access is good, fly fishing from along shore can be very difficult due to steep hillsides, rocky terrain and dense vegetation. It is also low in nutrient content, and as a result, a fly fisherman will not find monster rainbows or cutthroats lurking in the river. Due to the cold, clear, low nutrient water, fly fishing in the North Fork Flathead River can be spotty. With a drainage basin extending over 8,795 square miles (22,780 km ) and an average discha… Another longer float is between Polebridge and Big Creek – just be prepared for a long, bumpy ride up to Polebridge, as the road is not paved for much of its length and not very well maintained. We completed 43 miles from the Border to Big Creek. Irrigation agriculture began in the 1880s.[11]. Senators praise Canada’s commitment to protect flathead valley : Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park, U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Flathead River, "USGS 12389000 Clark Fork near Plains MT", "Flathead Wild and Scenic River, Montana", BP Drops Coal-Bed Methane Exploration Project North of Glacier Park, http://www.nwcouncil.org/fw/subbasinplanning/flathead/plan/, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Flathead_River&oldid=990035943, Wild and Scenic Rivers of the United States, Articles containing Kalispel-Pend d'Oreille-language text, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, Confluence of North Fork and Middle Fork Flathead River, near mouth, at Perma, MT; max at Polson, MT, This page was last edited on 22 November 2020, at 12:22. We live right by the river. While an inflatable raft or inflatable kayak should have absolutely no problems, inexperienced canoeists may run into problems. Words by Ty Hathaway, photos by Ty Hathaway and Julia DeConcini It wasn't but a few minutes of being back in the van after floating the Snake River that Julia was already figuring out what river was next and how to make it better. That said, the North Fork twists and turns extensively, and small rapids are found behind most curves. The majority of the Class III rapids are located within a 12 mile section between Big Creek and Glacier Rim, just above it’s confluence with the Middle Fork of the Flathead River. Fly fishing the North Fork Flathead River is best done from a drift boat. North Fork Flathead River – Overview & Introduction. These fish, which travel up from Flathead Lake on a somewhat unpredictable basis to spawn in the north fork tributaries, aren’t picky eaters. One excellent float is between Big Creek and Glacier Rim, a float of about 13 miles. Below Ford river access, the river can be floated pretty much all year. The North Fork is 22 miles north of Columbia Falls, Montana. As there are no dams on the North Fork Flathead River to regulate its flow, it runs fast during high water, with huge trees floating down like little twigs. It is part of the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System. The North Fork Flathead River begins in British Columbia, and travels for 47 miles before spilling over into Montana. North Fork Flathead River is a stream located just 8.3 miles from Columbia Falls, in Flathead County, in the state of Montana, United States, near Coram, MT. Forming the western and southern borders of Glacier National Park, the Flathead River is a hidden gem of Montana with spectacular scenery, unsurpassed fishing and excellent wildlife viewing. [6], The Flathead River rises in forks in the Rocky Mountains of northwestern Montana. Other than the small community of Polebridge (which has no electricity), the North Fork Flathead River passes through no towns for its entire length. [12] The South fork of the Flathead, from Youngs Creek to Hungry Horse reservoir; Middle fork of the Flathead – from Schaffer creek to its confluence with the Flathead River; and the Flathead River – to its confluence with the Clark Fork River, are designated. The Flathead River (Salish: ntx̣ʷetkʷ, ntx̣ʷe),[5] in the northwestern part of the U.S. state of Montana, originates in the Canadian Rockies to the north of Glacier National Park and flows southwest into Flathead Lake, then after a journey of 158 miles (254 km), empties into the Clark Fork. PROVISIONAL DATA SUBJECT TO REVISION. The largest tributary is the North Fork, which runs from the Canadian province of British Columbia southwards. The river is a Class I river in Montana for purposes of recreational access. The North Fork Flathead River originates 50 miles across the border in British Columbia, Canada. While fishing for cutthroats, especially if an angler is using a larger wet fly or streamer, the possibility of hooking a large bull trout exists. General location: The North Fork of the Flathead River serves as Glacier National Park's western boundary. In this section, the river cuts through several mountain ridges. The water, which primarily comes from snowmelt, is cold and very clear. Available data for this site Click to hide station-specific text (About shift-adjusted ratings). The North Fork of the Flathead River valley is a broad, meandering valley that sits up against the dramatic backdrop of the peaks of Glacier National. In-depth articles help anglers and recreational floaters sort through the jargon to find the right inflatable boat for their particular needs. Boating - Non-Motorized Recreation areas with activity Boating - Non-Motorized: The North Fork of the Flathead River is part of the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System. DURATION: We spent 3 days on the river. In 2003 Parks Canada requested the province of British Columbia to take part in a park feasibility study. The North Fork area has attracted visitors for well over a century. Additionally, logjams on the river form each year, in various places. North Fork Flathead River Enabling legislation for Glacier National Park established the northwestern park boundary as the middle channel of the North Fork of the Flathead River. There is a proposal to protect one-third of British Columbia's Flathead River by adding it to the Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park. The South Fork of the Flathead River is a major river in Northwestern Montana. DISTANCES: The North Fork of the Flathead from the Canadian/U.S Border to Blankenship Bridge is 58 miles. Grizzly bears and moose are not uncommon along the river. Just outside of Columbia Falls, on the west edge of Glacier National Park, the North Fork Road accesses this incredible valley where timbered mountains, creeks and valleys form a very special place in Montana. The river starts in Canada and flows along the west edge of Glacier National Park. An inexperienced canoeist may have difficulty at times keeping the boat pointed down river in some of these rapids and waves. The North Fork Flathead River is truly one of Montana’s wild streams. [10], Fur traders employed by the North West Company and Hudson's Bay Company entered the Flathead Valley in the early 19th century. The entire river in Montana is essentially floatable, although the area above Ford access site can have some slow floating and some dragging of the raft during low water. The North Fork Flathead River is truly one of Montana’s wild streams. Of Big Creek and Glacier Rim, a float down the North and forks. 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