The Heart of the Bob

November 29, 2016

Deep in the million-acre wilderness of the Bob Marshall Wilderness lies the South Fork Flathead River.  The South Fork cuts 40 miles, flowing north the length of “The Bob.”  Access is not easy to the river, with trails being the only way of getting to the headwaters.  There are several trail options and routes but all require twenty plus miles of walking or riding in the saddle.

Time on the trail is not a bad thing as the scenery is beautiful, hiking through lodgepole forests and along meandering streams. Limestone and shale rock outcroppings cap the ridge lines of the dramatic landscape.  During certain times of the year fields of wildflowers cover the forest floor and fireweed fills the avalanche paths plowed by wintertime slides.

With no roads or airstrips at the put in, it means for a river expedition, all the gear must be carried in by horses or mules.  There are several different options for trips in the South Fork.  Some people prefer to float the South Fork with an Orvis fly rod in their hand sitting in the front of a fishing raft as the guide delivers you to the fishing holes.  On this style trip, after a day on the river, you arrive at a camp where a gear boat has gone ahead and started setting up your tents and building a camp for the night.  The ultimate South Fork fishing experience includes a horseback ride to the river with one night spent on the trail as the pack string delivers the fishing rafts and rest of the gear to the river so they are ready for the next day.  Find out more about the Ultimate South Fork Fishing Experience on the trip page on our website.

montana fly fishing paradise

On the other end of the spectrum is for the people looking for the more active option, the hike in and BAKraft out!  On this trip you spend two nights backpacking on the trail.  For these two nights, we go lightweight with just what we need to be comfortable on the trail.  On the third day, when we reach the river we rendezvous with the pack string that is carrying the supplies for the rest of the trip and the rafts.  Aire Inflatables has just released the new 10-foot expedition BAKraft.  Weighing only 10 lbs, this is a personal craft with room for some gear in the front and back of the boat.  Certainly room for the fly rod on this trip as well and even though you aren’t in the front of a guided fishing boat, there is still plenty of time to fish the South Fork from the banks.  On this trip we bring one small gear raft, to carry the kitchen and some other group gear.  With new smaller and lighter gear options now available, this has opened up new trip potential in the South Fork.  The new BAKraft trip will also be on the website soon.

south fork flathead pack rafting

This photo is of pack rafters on the South Fork Flathead, not the new AIRE Expedition BAKraft.

So whether you are looking for the ultimate fishing experience on the high-end luxury trip or the light and fast active option, we have you covered.  WRO has been operating in the South Fork for a long time and is excited to offer these new style trips.  The Bob Marshall Wilderness was one of the first wilderness areas designated under the Wilderness Act of 1964, come to experience Montana and enjoy your wild public lands!