Blue Stream Fly Fishing
Fly Fishing Report for:

Middle Fork Flathead River - West Glacier - Montana

Hatch Chart - Best Access/Spots - Local Fish - About

Water Flow Chart

Using Water Flow Charts & Weather Reports: Begin with our water flow charts to grasp stream velocity and volume – look for stable or rising trends to pinpoint ideal fishing times. Learn to interpret sudden spikes or drops, which can indicate potential challenges. Next, consult our weather reports to understand ambient conditions. Pairing the two, you can anticipate fish behavior, choose the right gear, and select the best fishing spots. Use these tools together for a holistic approach to your next fishing adventure.

In-Depth Weather

Directions To Location

Hatch Chart

Month Hatch Time of Day Recommended Fly Sizes Popular Fly Patterns
January No major hatches Daylight hours 8-12 Midges
February No major hatches Daylight hours 8-12 Midges
March Midges Mid-day 18-22 Zebra Midge
April Blue Winged Olive Mid-day 16-20 Pheasant Tail Nymph
May Blue Winged Olive Mid-day 14-18 Pheasant Tail Nymph
March Brown Late Afternoon 12-14 March Brown Emerger
June Salmonfly Morning, Evening 6-10 Giant Foam Salmonfly
Caddisfly Evening 14-18 Elk Hair Caddis
July Green Drake Morning, Evening 10-14 Green Drake Dun
Stonefly Daylight hours 8-12 Golden Stonefly Nymph
December No major hatches Daylight hours 8-12 Midges

While we strive to ensure the precision of our hatch charts, some reflect broader river region insights. Through ongoing partnerships with local guides and fly shops, we’re committed to refining our data. Should you notice any inconsistencies or have feedback, we welcome you to reach out. 

Best Fishing Spots

Flathead River – West Glacier in Montana is a premier destination for Fly fishing. Some of the top spots along this stretch are:

  • Belton Bridge: Located in West Glacier, this spot is easily accessible and abundant in trout species.
  • Blankenship Bridge: This spot just downstream of the confluence of the North and Middle Forks is teeming with fish.
  • Paola: With the panorama of Glacier National Park, Paola offers unique fishing spots amidst the meandering river.
  • Moccasin Creek: This area is characterized by slower waters which is good for beginners.
  • Essex Below BNSF Trestle: You’ll find a steady supply of Cutthroat and Bull Trout here.

Remember to respect local regulations and always practice catch and release to sustain the healthy fish populations.

Best Access Points

The Middle Fork Flathead River in West Glacier is a sought-after spot for fishing enthusiasts. Here’s a compact list of the best access points:

  • Belton Bridge : Located near the Park entrance, it gives great access to both the Middle Fork Flathead River and its Band Creek tributary.
  • Moccasin Creek – Ford : Anglers can find high-quality trout at this ford is located 2 miles upstream of Park Creek.
  • Paola : This location, downstream Middle Fork Flathead River, offers a prime spot for fly fishing owing to its calmer pace.
  • Schafer Meadows : Reachable only by foot or boat and offers the most pristine fly fishing experience in West Glacier.
  • Essex : Situated near the confluence of the Middle and South Forks, this locale provides access to slower pools and productive riffles.

Remember to always check for local fishing restrictions and licensing requirements before you set off.

Local Fish

  • Westslope Cutthroat Trout: This popular fish species is native to the Middle Fork Flathead River, and serve as a prominent target for fly fishing due to their aggressive nature and accessibility.
  • Rainbow Trout: Rainbow Trout can be found in the river, and they can provide a real challenge for fly fisherman due to their strength and canny resistance.
  • Montana Grayling: A unique and stunning fish, the Montana Grayling is a highly coveted catch for the dedicated and experienced fly fisher.
  • Mountain Whitefish: Despite its modest reputation, Mountain Whitefish are abundant in the Middle Fork making it a common catch for fly fishers.
  • Bull Trout: Noted for their large size and stunning colors, Bull trout are another local species that are targeted by fly fishers, although fishing regulations must be thoroughly respected due to the species protected status.
  • Brook Trout: Though not native to the region, Brook Trout were introduced in the past and have since made themselves a home in the waters of the Flathead River system.
  • Brown Trout: Brown Trout are also non-native but have adapted well to the Flathead River, presenting a fun and challenging catch for fly fishers.
  • Northern Pike: Native to the Flathead River system, Mature Northern Pike can grow rather large and provide a thrilling challenge for any skill level of fly fishing.

About The River

Flanked by remarkable green mountains, the Middle Fork Flathead River traces the southern border of the awe-inspiring Glacier National Park, right next to West Glacier, Montana. Undisturbed in its natural beauty, this gem has a rich tapestry of history.

  • The river catapulted into prominence in 1854 during the gold rush era, becoming a prime attraction for prospectors. However, not much gold was found.
  • In the early 1900s, the Great Northern Railroad brought tourism to West Glacier, opening up the wild beauty of the river to a broader audience.
  • In 1976, the Middle Fork Flathead River was declared a National Wild and Scenic River, acknowledging its unparalleled natural and cultural value.

Today, this magnificent river continues to charm with its crystalline waters, abundant wildlife, and thrilling whitewater rafting experiences. Its legacy enthralled gold miners, pioneers, adventurers, and will surely captivate you too!


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