Life on the Flathead River is good. In the past week we have seen steady improvements to the water quality and level. Water clarity has improved dramatically; all three forks are shaping up very nicely, with as much as 10 feet of clarity.
The main stem of the flathead river is also fishing well. The best way to fish the main stem is to take an outside-in approach. Look for sweeping corners where trout can hold on the inside of the seem. Trout will hold in this inside soft water where they need not exert as much energy to find food. Ride your dry fly or strike indicator along the foam lines and get ready for a fight.
Despite all the dry fly rage, nymphing has still proven to be the best method of fishing. Deep nymph rigs, with lots of weight, fished under an indicator will surely fool some trout. We have been fishing stonefly nymphs, pink worms, smaller pheasant tail and hares ears all with great success. Look for plenty of good fishing to be had in the coming months. The wait is over, and dry fly fishing can be enjoyed almost anywhere.
Dry fly fishing can be the most exciting way to fly fish if you can match the hatch. Fortunately, there are a plethora of hatches to match. Currently there are smaller mayflies (bwo, pmd, and drakes), Caddis, and Stoneflies flying around the Flathead river system. Try fishing a chubby chernobyl or a purple haze for some fun top-water action. Don’t be afraid to fish a double dry fly rig. This can help you cover your hatch bases and determine which bugs the fish are keying in on.
As always be safe out there, The river is by no means low or slow. Wade with a walking stick or partner, be bear aware, and always bring your bear spray. Get out there and enjoy the beautiful Flathead River, have fun, and happy fishing!
North Fork Flathead River- 5,050 CFS
Middle Fork Flathead River – 7,290 CFS
South Fork Flathead River (below dam) – 5,140 CFS
Main Stem – 17,500 CFS