The North Fork Flathead River begins in British Columbia, and travels for 47 miles before spilling over into Montana. Available data for this site Click to hide station-specific text (About shift-adjusted ratings). Since the river makes a lot of twists and turns, and in a few places becomes quite narrow, surprise logjams can pose a real hazard. 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. 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. We guide rafting trips on Glacier Park's rivers, the North and Middle Forks of the Flathead - wild and scenic and lots of fun! 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 … The scenery along the North Fork Flathead River is absolutely awesome. With the passing of the Moose Fire, which burnt both sides of the river in the vicinity of Big Creek in the summer of 2001 and then the Robert Fire and Wedge Canyon Fire elsewhere on the river in 2003, floating trees and downfall are even more of a hazard than it has in the past. 1968 was the year of the National Wild and scenic river act. However, the Cline Mining Corporation still intends to start a mountaintop-removal coal mining project. On February 21, 2008, BP announced to drop plans to obtain drilling rights for coalbed methane extraction in the river's headwaters. All of the headwaters forks are entirely or in part designated National Wild and Scenic Rivers. 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. The largest tributary is the North Fork, which runs from the Canadian province of British Columbia southwards. The North Fork Flathead River originates 50 miles across the border in British Columbia, Canada. For the spin fisherman, small spoons (hopefully with the barbs removed), fished around the rocks and pools will pull in these cutthroats as well. North Fork Valley, Flathead National Forest: Address, North Fork Valley Reviews: 5/5. Only about three percent of Earth’s water is freshwater. The river is a Class I river in Montana for purposes of recreational access. 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. PROVISIONAL DATA SUBJECT TO REVISION. While an inflatable raft or inflatable kayak should have absolutely no problems, inexperienced canoeists may run into problems. An inexperienced canoeist may have difficulty at times keeping the boat pointed down river in some of these rapids and waves. Find out where the action is, what the water conditions are and everything you need for a successful day on the water! 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 North Fork is sometimes considered the main stem of the Flathead River. Trading posts were established north of Flathead Lake. Irrigation agriculture began in the 1880s.[11]. The North Fork, considering the rugged and mountainous terrain it flows through, is a relatively tame river for floating. Alternate names for this stream include Flathead River - North Fork, North Fork of Flathead River and North Fork of the Flathead River. Wade fishing is generally good along the river. The North Fork Flathead is undeniably … Flathead River rafting can be found on the North and Middle Forks of the Flathead River. The river itself is moderately wide and moves quickly. Additionally, logjams on the river form each year, in various places. That said, between the eager cutthroat fly fishing, the beautiful scenery and the wonderful float trips that can be taken on the North Fork, this river ranks as one of Montana’s finest rivers and is worthy of a visit by someone on a Montana fly fishing trip. Wet flies also work well, especially in the numerous deep pools. The river starts in Canada and flows along the west edge of Glacier National Park. That said, the North Fork twists and turns extensively, and small rapids are found behind most curves. Down stream from Big Creek, the river has a “recreation” designation, with a maximum speed of 10hp. USGS 12355500 N F Flathead River nr Columbia Falls MT. But you’ll generally need a boat to reach them. In 2003 Parks Canada requested the province of British Columbia to take part in a park feasibility study. I’m using a Sea Eagle Motormount inflatable raft on this trip, which works well. Overall, the North Fork Flathead River may not appeal to the angler in search of large, trophy sized trout. Flathead River. [10], Fur traders employed by the North West Company and Hudson's Bay Company entered the Flathead Valley in the early 19th century. There is a proposal to protect one-third of British Columbia's Flathead River by adding it to the Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park. Typically, we start fishing both rivers … 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. [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. 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. Map of the Flathead River, its tributary forks and downriver connection to the Columbia River via Clark Fork and the Pend Oreille River. One cannot build houses on its banks you cannot build any dams or divert the water for irrigation. 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. 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. 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. That said, there are a couple of things to watch out for when floating the North Fork Flathead River. 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. These rapids have scattered large waves with lots of conflicting and swirling currents. Senators from Montana.[15]. We live right by the river. 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. Find the perfect north fork flathead river stock photo. This north-northwest trending river is about 98 miles (158 km) long, making it the second longest tributary of the Flathead River. Grizzly bears and moose are not uncommon along the river. They are easy to catch on various caddisfly and mayfly imitations, floated around submerged and partially submerged structure, such as rocks and downed trees. Magnificant views of Glacier Park are found on many sections of the river and along the road that roughly parallels the river from Columbia Falls to the Canadian border. 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]. North Fork Flathead River – Overview & Introduction. Fly fishing the North Fork Flathead River is best done from a drift boat. 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. It is part of the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System. In 1988 the International Joint Commission, ruled that a proposed open pit coal mine would violate the 1909 Boundary Waters Treaty. It starts at the Canadian Border and flows south to the Middle Fork of the Flathead River. The remoteness is what brings people to this part of Montana and … View a map of this area and more on Natural Atlas. 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. The dam would have inundated some 25 miles of river and submerged nearly 20,000 acres of the park. Huge collection, amazing choice, 100+ million high quality, affordable RF and RM images. The North Fork Flathead River is truly one of Montana’s wild streams. While the road is nearby, the river frequently flows down in a steep canyon, making road access difficult. The designated river includes the North Fork, Middle Fork and South Fork above Hungry Horse Reservoir and features recreation, scenery, historic sites, unique fisheries and wildlife such as grizzly bears and wolves. To get the proper depth, a sink tip line or weights are often needed, since these pools can be quite deep. The water, which primarily comes from snowmelt, is cold and very clear. 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. Upstream of Big Creek, the North Fork Flathead River has a “scenic” designation, meaning no motors are allowed. Beyond these rapids, it is smooth, quick flowing water until the confluence with the Flathead River at Blakenship Bridge. A raft floats past a towering cutbank while floating the upper North Fork of the Flathead River in late July. [3] The river then flows westwards to join the South Fork and cuts between the Whitefish Range and Swan Range via Bad Rock Canyon. By the time the Great Northern Railway passed through Glacier National Park in 1893, the North Fork region was already being settled. Boating - Non-Motorized Recreation areas with activity Boating - Non-Motorized: Energy development once threatened the North Fork, which was deemed the "wildest river in the continental United States" by The New York Times in 2004. With a drainage basin extending over 8,795 square miles (22,780 km2) and an average discharge of 11,380 cubic feet per second (322 m3/s), the Flathead is the largest tributary of the Clark Fork and constitutes over half of its flow. Due to the cold, clear, low nutrient water, fly fishing in the North Fork Flathead River can be spotty. General location: The North Fork of the Flathead River serves as Glacier National Park's western boundary. Here at Glacier Anglers, we fish both the Middle and North Forks. No need to register, buy now! We camped at the put-in and take-out, so we took 5 days and 5 nights overall. The river is part of the Columbia River drainage basin, as the Clark Fork is a tributary of the Pend Oreille River, a Columbia River tributary. We completed 43 miles from the Border to Big Creek. After the river leaves the canyon it flows into the broad Flathead Valley and arcs southwest, passing Columbia Falls and Kalispell, before it is joined by the Stillwater River and its Whitefish River tributary, and then empties into Flathead Lake, where the Swan River joins. 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. Access is easy, with numerous designated access sites, and countless unofficial access sites. The rugged area includes the landscapes of Glacier National Park and the Bob Marshall and Great Bear Wilderness areas. It’s an ideal 2-4 day float trip without any designated camping sites. As one might guess, flowing through such wild country, the local fauna is also quite diverse. The main part of the Flathead River begins where the North Fork and the Middle Fork meet near West Glacier. The North fork is very protected river. Current fly fishing reports and conditions for North Fork of the Flathead River in Montana! USGS 12355500 N F Flathead River nr Columbia Falls MT. North Fork Flathead River is a river in Glacier National Park, Flathead National Forest, MT. The North Fork Flathead River in Montana is designated a National Wild and Scenic River. [6], The Flathead River rises in forks in the Rocky Mountains of northwestern Montana. Throughout it’s length in Montana, it forms the western boundary of Glacier National Park. 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. Taking a Break on the North Fork Flathead River. 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. [14], On February 9, 2010, the British Columbia government announced that it would not permit mining, oil and gas development and coalbed gas extraction in British Columbia's portion of the Flathead Valley, which was praised by environmental groups and the U.S. During the summer months, numerous smaller cutthroats in the 8-12 inch range cruise the river. 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. At the Jocko River confluence it turns west, and a few miles after flows into the Clark Fork near Paradise. One excellent float is between Big Creek and Glacier Rim, a float of about 13 miles. 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. The Flathead River provided plenty of fresh water, fish, timber, and animal trapping. This one section of the river is still massive and is separated in two parts by the largest freshwater lake in the western United States, the Flathead Lake. [7][8] Near West Glacier the North Fork combines with the Middle Fork to form the main Flathead River. Even though the river flows through very mountainous country, the North Fork itself is relatively tame, offering only a couple of smaller rapids of Class II or Class III, depending on river flows. PROVISIONAL DATA SUBJECT TO REVISION. British Columbia has yet to agree to this. The river itself is moderately wide and flows quickly. The river is not afforded any protection in British Columbia. 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. The North Fork is 22 miles north of Columbia Falls, Montana. Other than those words of caution, the North Fork Flathead River is a wonderful river to float. Other than the small community of Polebridge (which has no electricity), the North Fork Flathead River passes through no towns for its entire length. North Fork RoadResurfacing from the Whale Creek Bridge approximately eight miles north of Polebridge for 7.7 miles (MP 42.3 to 50.0) to provide a 22-foot wide roadway;Reconstruction from the end of the resurfacing section for 5.1 miles to the Canadian Border (MP 50.0 to 55.15) to provide a 22-foot wide roadway;Reconstruction/slope stabilization at an area of erosion along the It is one of the three main forks of the Flathead River, a tributary of the Clark Fork River. 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. The North Fork of the Flathead River is mostly Class I-II with a few Class III rapids. [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. DURATION: We spent 3 days on the river. Fully licensed and insured. We can help on the North and Middle Forks on Glacier Park's border rivers. However, while access is good, fly fishing from along shore can be very difficult due to steep hillsides, rocky terrain and dense vegetation. This has been the subject of 33 years of dispute between the United States and Canada. 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. Available data for this site Click to hide station-specific text (About shift-adjusted ratings). These holes make wonderful fishing holes for the intrepid angler who can reach them. These pools often exceed fifteen feet deep, although the bottom is often seen due to the exceptional clarity of the water. Thankfully, conservationists prevailed, and in 1976 the North Fork was designated a National Wild and Scenic River alongside its kindred South Fork and Middle Fork. The South Fork of the Flathead River is a major river in Northwestern Montana. Currently, several log jams on the North Fork are found between Polebridge downstream to the Camas Road Bridge. 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. The North Fork area has attracted visitors for well over a century. The North Fork of the Flathead River is part of the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System. In this section, the river cuts through several mountain ridges. 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. Activities Water Activities HIDE. TE Lewis I would like to respectfully suggest to those interested in the NF Flathead River – if newer to river recreation in NW Montana the wild and scenic North Fork Flathead River is a more technical float. 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. Canoes, inflatable rafts and inflatable kayaks all work well for a float down the North Fork of the Flathead River. The rapids in the North Fork Flathead River are far from severe, certainly nothing like on the Middle Fork Flathead River. The North Fork Flathead River is truly one of Montana’s wild streams. The river is part of the Columbia River drainage basin, as the Clark Fork is a tributary of the Pend Oreille River, a Columbia River tributary. 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. Related : Photographs of the North Fork Flathead River. Photo of a river. These fish, which travel up from Flathead Lake on a somewhat unpredictable basis to spawn in the north fork tributaries, aren’t picky eaters. 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. Just remember, it is illegal to intentionally fish for or keep a bull trout. 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. 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