The Flathead River
Breathtaking Scenery and Great Fishing
At Wild Montana Anglers we offer fly fishing trips on the beautiful and pristine Flathead River. Located in the Crown of the Content and down river from Glacier National Park, The Flathead River offers exciting fishing opportunities for Montana’s native trout and breath taking panoramas. The Flathead River is a crystal clear, clean, cold river inhabited by native West Slope Black Spotted Cutthroat Trout and is situated near some of Montana’s most remote wilderness. A trip on the Flathead River is a true Montana outdoor experience.
Dry Fly Fishing Paradise
Throughout most of the year dry fly fishing is great on the Flathead River. Whether you like to throw small technical dry flies to individual rising fish or drift large foam terrestrials to under cut banks and riffle water you are in the right place. Our West Slope Black Spotted Cutthroat trout are more than willing to come up from the bottom of the river and smash a dry fly!
All Skill Levels Welcome
The Flathead River is a great place for the novice angler and the seasoned pro. Cutthroat Trout are aggressive and love to eat dry flies, making the first time anglers introduction to fly fishing fun an exciting. For the experienced angler, there are large trout that inhabit the Flathead River and if your angling skills are good enough, you might find yourself hooked up with a fish of a lifetime. Casting to native West Slope Cutthroat Trout with a scenic background is down-right fun, no matter your skill level. At Wild Montana Anglers we cater to any level of fishing experience. Our professional fishing guides make learning to fly fish an enjoyable experience and can be as hands on or hands off as you want. We love to share this amazing resource!
Located in the crown of the continent, the Flathead River is a beautiful and trout rich western river. Made up of the North, Middle, and South Forks whose origins are located in some of Montana’s most remote wilderness, the Flathead River starts its journey through the Flathead Valley just a stones throw away from Columbia Falls where our Flyshop, Lary’s Fly and Supply, is located. Considered the last remaining stronghold for West Slope Black Spotted Cutthroat trout the Flathead River is unparalleled when it comes to fishing for Montana’s native trout.
The Flathead River is a large free flowing river that is generally fished from a boat. However, as the water recedesthroughout the summer, the high elevation snow melt diminishes, and this large and broad river lends itself to greatwalk and wade fishing. Large and cobbled gravel bars give way to large deep tail-outs and pools that are inhabited by trout looking for a meal. Holding seams and foam lines give away prime trout water and are identifiable if you know where to look. Our guides know this well and can take you to productive stretches of water to fish at any time of year.
The Flathead River offers some of the most consistent dry fly fishing in the state of Montana. From early spring until the snow starts to fall an angler can cast dry flies with a good chance, given proper presentation, and get a cutthroat trout to slurp it down! Hatches on the river can be impressive, with good numbers of Stoneflies, Mayflies, and Caddis, along witha large variety of terrestrials that are consistent with other invertebrate species found throughout Montana’s most productive trout waters.
If you are willing to brave the cold winter temperatures, the Flathead can offer good fishing opportunities with as much solitude as anyone could want. Long deep runs and meandering tailouts can hold some impressive residential trout that forego the migration down river to Flathead Lake in the fall. As the waters start to warm up around March, fishing can pick up with the use of long nymph rigs with large weighted nymphs such as stoneflies followed by smaller nymphs like lightning bugs, hot beaded pheasant tails and zebra midges. As the winter days start to creep into the 40’s an angler can find themselves with the opportunity to cast dry flies. Attractor patterns, as well as mayfly and brightly colored parachutes are all good patterns to use on those colder spring days. As the spring comes on, the opportunities for better fishing parallels the rising temperatures. As more fish move up the Flathead River system and bug activity increases, Spring can be a great time to fish on the Flathead.
Towards the end of May, the river starts to become swollen and off color with spring runoff and becomes unfishable till the snow melt recedes in the high country. At Wild Montana Anglers we switch gears and start to fish surrounding stillwaters such as Whitefish Lake and other surrounding bodies of water for Cutthroat and Rainbow Trout, as well as Northern Pike and Bass. Quite often overlooked in the valley, these lakes can be a great reprieve from the high water blues. Northern Pike are some the most ferocious predators in cold water and offer the angler a chance to break out the seven or eight weight and throw large streamers and sink tips. The trout fishing can be very productive in these stillwaters as well with the opportunity to throw streamers, nymph rigs and dries in clear water when all other waters in the valley are off colored.
Depending on the previous winter’s snow pack the Flathead River can start to run clear around the end of June or early July and incredible dry fly fishing takes center stage for the rest of the Summer. Large dry flies such as Chubby Chernobyl’s, Amy’s Ant, and Turk’s Tarantulas are great patterns for hungry trout after runoff. As the summer season progresses, familiar hatches run their course on the Flathead River. It is not uncommon for anglers to see several different species of Mayflies, Caddis, and Stoneflies hatch throughout the summer and into fall. Terrestrial patterns such as Ant, Beetle, and Grasshopper patterns are always a good choice for a dry fly. Cutthroat seem to go out of their way to track down these larger bug species. Sunny, windy days push these non–stream dwelling insects into the river and cutthroat are always on the lookout for these easy meals.
No matter what time of year, our guides will bring their expertise and knowledge to help you achieve your fishing goals.From the beginning angler to the seasoned fly fisherman, our staff will make sure you have a great day on the river. It is our mission to promote and help protect this amazing resource and we feel the best way to do that is by sharing it with others through art of fishing.