This is a fly fishing specific South Fork Flathead trip. Let our fly fishing guides show you the legendary fly fishing that Montana has to offer. Each fishing boat will carry two fisherman to maximize the fishing experience. After two days on the trail to access the starting point of the float and spend five days fly fishing some of the best waters in Montana. Come see for yourself why the South Fork of the Flathead is a legendary wilderness fishing trip! Similar Trips:Middle Fork Flathead • Middle Fork Salmon
Departure Month: July, June Region: Montana Rating: Expedition, High Adventure, Intermediate Pricing: Above $2000
“The fishing was unbelievable, the river was perfect, the food was great, the hikes were beautiful and the company was the best. Speaking for Trent and myself, we did not want the trip to end. We will forever cherish the time we shared in the Bob Marshall Wilderness.” Steve Page, 2012
On this trip, we include a two-day horseback ride to access the river. With no roads or airstrips as access, everything is horse packed to the put in. Spend one night on the trail to break up the 25-mile horseback ride. The scenery on the ride portion of the trip is spectacular as you ride over a mountain pass and drop into the headwaters of the South Fork. Riding horses to the put in makes this a real Montana experience. This remote valley, deep in the Bob Marshall Wilderness is home to extraordinary wildlife including elk, moose, wolf, eagles, mountain goats, grizzly and black bear.
The river is one of the prettiest and most productive trout streams in North America. For the first few days, the water meanders lazily through a sweeping glacial valley and grand Ponderosa Pines. On this trip, we dedicate the river time to fishing for one of the purest strains of Westslope Cutthroat trout in the world. Big and plenty, these native fish average 12-20 inches. During July the South Fork is one of the only rivers where you can target bull trout. Catching one of these bull trout in the South Fork will be a lasting memory for any fisherman! On this trip, we offer a deluxe camping option where a gear boat goes ahead of the other fishing boats to start setting up camp. As the fishing boats arrive, some of the crew will start getting appetizers ready and will have most of the camp set up. Each fishing boat will carry one or two fishermen with a professional fishing guide, with knowledge of flies and they are eager to help if anyone needs assistance or if you are an experienced fisherman, they can help put you in the right spot and let you do your thing. Join us for seven wonderful days of luxury camping and dry fly fishing in the incredible Bob Marshall Wilderness of Montana.
Included: We provide transportation from Kalispell to the Rich Ranch and back to Kalispell at the end of the trip. All meals and snacks beginning with dinner at the Rich Ranch the night before the trip and ending with lunch on the last day. We also provide use of our sleeping bags, pads, pillows and tents. You will also be given dry bags for clothing, sleeping gear and a smaller bag for day use. Most people prefer to bring their own fishing gear, but fishing guides will also have a rod setup and other fishing accessories.
Not included: Prices do not include motels after the trip and guide gratuities.
DISCOUNTS: Group discounts based upon the number of people in your party. Charter Trips: Charter trips are available for groups of 6 or more. This means your group has reserved the entire trip. Ask for details.
DEPOSIT & RESERVATION Reservations can be made by contacting our office at 800.252.6581. A 25% non-refundable deposit is required to reserve your spot. The remainder is due 45 days prior to the trip departure.
We will promptly send you a trip packet including general information on your trip, your invoice and statement, gear list, and medical and liability waiver forms that you will need to return to our office.
Cancellation and Refunds: Operating quality trips is a costly operation with no margin for losses resulting from late cancellations. The space you reserve is held for you, and this may mean turning others away. Each trip is planned for the number of reserved spaces, guides scheduled, supplies bought, rafts and vehicles assigned. If notice of cancellations is made more than 45 days prior to departure, you may transfer to any other trip in the same season without penalty. Otherwise the cost is non-refundable.
Travel Insurance: We strongly recommend that you protect yourself with a short term traveler’s insurance policy. Trip cancellation will cover your losses on non-refundable air and land cost on unexpected cancellations.
Cancelled Trips: We reserve the right to cancel a trip due to insufficient reservations, water or weather conditions. In such cases, a full refund for the trip is given. If possible, we will offer an option of a different trip of comparable type.
The South Fork of the Flathead trip begins and ends in Kalispell, Montana.
Before the trip: Fly commercially into Kalispell, Montana. Delta, Alaska/Horizon, United, Allegiant, Frontier and US Airways offer flights into Glacier International Airport (FCA). A variety of car rentals are available should you decide to visit Glacier National Park before or after your trip. Please alert our office of your arrival time and we can arrange to pick you up.
We will provide transportation from Kalispell to the Rich Ranch the day before your trip is scheduled to begin. Please make sure you arrive in Kalispell before 3 p.m. We will have cabins reserved, dinner reservations and orientation at the Rich Ranch. We will need to have our gear ready early the next morning so after dinner and orientation, it’s time to get packed for our morning departure. A short drive to the trailhead and we’ll be on our way.
Motel After: Make your reservations at the Red Lion Hotel (1-800-547-8010) or Travellodge (1-406-755-6123) in Kalispell. The hotel will provide shuttle service from the airport.
After the trip: We provide transportation back to the Red Lion Hotel in Kalispell where we typically have an optional farewell dinner that evening.
Suggested reading: Montana’s Bob Marshall Country by Rick & Susie Craetz. A very good and concise resource on “The Bob”, especially the sections on wildlife and history.
SAMPLE ITINERARY We like to keep our schedule flexible so we can customize every trip. Activities will vary according to the group interests, weather, and water levels. Day before the trip: Arrive in Kalispell, MT. We will provide transportation from Kalispell to the Rich Ranch. Please make sure you arrive in Kalispell before 3 p.m. We will have cabins reserved, dinner reservations and orientation at the Rich Ranch. In the evening we’ll get together to go over gear, hand out WRO cups and T-shirts and answer any last minute questions.
Day 1: We’ll get an early start for our drive to the Lodgepole Trailhead. We will cover about 12 miles on horses the first day, going over a low mountain pass and camping along the headwaters of the South Fork. This is usually a great place to spot wildlife. While the crew riding horses will stop part way, some of the crew will go all the way to the river to start rigging boats and gear at the put in.
Day 2: Finish the ride to the river arriving in the afternoon. There are some fishing holes near the confluence of Youngs Creek and the Danaher, so if you feel like doing a little fishing that afternoon that can be an option. We usually camp near the confluence the second night and finish rigging the boats for the next mornings departure.
Day 3: The first day on the river! As the river meanders through gravel bars there are nice fishing holes that can be fished from the boats or the bank. On lower water trips, there are some places we may need to have fisherman get out of the boats in shallow water.
Day 4-6: We’ll keep working our way down the river from hole to hole stopping for a nice lunch along the river and staying at comfortable riverside camps. Besides just fishing in the river, we can take some side hikes and fish in some of the tributaries and lakes. There will be plenty of opportunities for enjoying the superb fishing! We’ll can also take some time to wander through the beautiful Ponderosa forests, for the chance to see grazing elk or other wildlife.
Day 7: After a morning of fishing, we reach Mid Creek take out at the head of the Meadow Creek Gorge, where the easy-going South Fork becomes very narrow and fast. With the fishing rafts used on this style trip, the class V gorge is un-runable. Horses will come in and pick up the rafts and other river gear to be packed out to the Meadow Creek Trailhead where we will meet the van. From the trailhead it is about a four hour drive back to Kalispell. There is the option to fly from nearby Spotted Bear airstrip to avoid the long and sometimes bumpy car ride back to Kalispell for an additional fee.
*Itinerary and route to river is subject to change based on water levels, horse packer requirements and trail conditions.
South Fork of the Flathead River Suggested Gear
PLEASE READ CAREFULLY
This is the suggested gear list for this particular trip. Having the right gear is important to make it the best possible experience for you. Most of the gear listed you will have or you can use it year-round on any outdoor excursion (football games, boating, skiing, etc.) We want you to have everything you will need to be comfortable and happy.
We encourage no stereos or speakers and promote a wilderness experience
GEAR PROVIDED – we provide LIFE JACKETS, 2 WATERPROOF DUFFEL BAGS (one for sleeping bag, pad, pillow & ground cloth, and one for clothing), WATERPROOF DAY BAG for items you would like accessible during the day (dry shirt, suntan lotion, camera, etc.). We provide SLEEPING BAGS, PADS, PILLOW AND TENTS.
Small hiking day pack if desired.
RAIN GEAR… good jacket and pants, poncho’s aren’t enough. AVOID VINYL & CHEAP PLASTICS.
3 LIGHTWEIGHT SHIRTS…one long sleeved.
2 PAIR LONG PANTS, one synthetic is best. You will also want a pair a jeans for the horseback portion of the trip.
2 pair SHORTS…synthetics dry faster.
SWIMSUITS…nylon is best because it dries faster.
CAP TO BLOCK SUN, & WOOL OR SYNTHETIC HAT for cool evenings…a must for everyone. In case of wind attach with a tie or clip.
GLOVES OR MITTENS…synthetic or wool.
2 WARM SHIRTS… polar fleece
LONG UNDERWEAR…polypro or capilene (not cotton) tops & bottoms.
WARM JACKET…synthetic down are popular because they are warm even when damp.
FOOTWEAR: The comfort of your feet will make a big difference in your enjoyment of the trip!
HIKING BOOTS or TRAIL SHOES …well broken in. You will need a good shoe for the horse back ride in or other side hikes we may take on the trip.
SOCKS…4-5 pair, 3 medium synthetic wool and 2 liner socks or lighter weight socks.
RIVER SANDALS/SHOE or OLD RUNNING SHOES FOR WATER. It’s nice to have a good shoe for walking around on the rocks fishing and getting in and out of the boat.
NEOPRENE SOCKS can be worn under river shoe to help keep you feet warm in the cold water.
SUNGLASSES AND TIES FOR GLASSES…protects against glare. Pack an extra pair of glasses or contacts.
SUNBLOCK LOTION BIODEGRADABLE SOAP & SHAMPOO CHAPSTICK INSECT REPELLENT FLASHLIGHT…small one is fine, headlamps work great. WATER BOTTLE…At least 1 liter. CAMERA…bring an extra battery and memory card. SMALL DAY OR FANNY PACK…for side excursions. ZIPLOCKS…for personal trash and organization ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGE…if desired (unbreakable containers), we recommend hard alcohol on this trip as everything is packed in on horses and weight sensitive. BINOCULARS (optional) WRO provide a MAJOR FIRST AID KIT. However, we do recommend you bring your own preferred personal medication and accessories (Advil, Tylenol, Aspirin, Band-Aids, Cold medicine, etc..)
One this wilderness fishing expedition everything is packed by horses to the put in at the beginning and packed out on horses at the end. Please pack up you need, but do not bring extra stuff. Weight limit to 35 lbs/person.
Reviews from the South Fork of the Flathead River Trip