Flathead River Montana, Fly Fishing, Whitewater Rafting

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Flathead River

The Flathead River runs through the entirety of Flathead Valley, beginning just south of Glacier National Park, into and out of Flathead Lake, until it merges with the Clark Fork River in the southwest corner of the Valley. It offers great boating, either via drift boat or raft, as well as some decent fishing.

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  • Great for drift boating and scenic rafting above Flathead Lake.
  • While not the best fishing river around, the rainbows and cutthroats in these waters aren't too picky.
  • Go whitewater rafting along the Buffalo Rapids just below the Kerr Dam at Flathead Lake.

What can I see and do along the Flathead River?

  • Fishing
    The deep wide and cold waters of the Flathead River don't offer the best fishing around, but that very reason is what makes this stretch of water a great place to fish. The Flathead River isn't nearly as popular among anglers as say the Middle Fork or South Fork of the Flathead. From the confluence of the North and Middle Forks to where it enters Flathead Lake, the Flathead River has a good population of rainbow and cutthroat trout. And they aren't very picky when it comes to flies. The best way to fish the Flathead is via drift boat. The waters are simply too swift to enjoy wading along its shoreline.
  • Floating and Rafting
    Above Flathead Lake the expansive views provide exceptional scenery and the ease of floating is superb. One of the best stretches for floating is between Columbia Falls and Kalispell. More serious rafters might want to thrill themselves on the Buffalo Rapids, a stretch of seven river miles just below the Kerr Dam where the Flathead River enters a canyon.

Where is the main stretch of the Flathead River?

The Flathead River begins at the confluence of the North and Middle Forks, just south of Glacier National Park. It flows a total of roughly 160 river miles, into and out of Flathead Lake, and to its confluence with the Clark Fork at the southwest corner of Flathead Valley.