Blue Stream Fly Fishing
Fly Fishing Report for:

North Fork Flathead River - Columbia Falls - Montana

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

Water Flow Chart

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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

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Directions To Location

Hatch Chart

Month Hatch Time of Day Recommended Fly Sizes Popular Fly Patterns
January Midge Afternoon #18 - #22 Griffith's Gnat, Zebra Midge
February Midge Afternoon #18 - #22 Griffith's Gnat, Zebra Midge
March Midge, Blue Winged Olive Afternoon #16 - #20 BWO Emerger, Parachute BWO
April Blue Winged Olive, Skwala Stonefly Morning and Afternoon #12 - #18 Skwala Dry, BWO Dry
May Blue Winged Olive, Caddis, Salmonfly Morning and Afternoon #8 - #18 Salmonfly Dry, Elk Hair Caddis
June Golden Stonefly, Green Drakes, PMD Morning and Afternoon #10 - #16 Golden Stone, Green Drake Parachute
July Yellow Sally, Caddis, Terrestrials All Day #12 - #18 Yellow Sally Dry, Hopper Patterns
August Terrestrials, Caddis Morning and Evening #10 - #16 Hoppers, Ants, Beetles
September Blue Winged Olive, Mahogany Dun Morning and Afternoon #14 - #18 Parachute BWO, Mahogany Dun Dry
October Blue Winged Olive, October Caddis Afternoon #12 - #18 October Caddis Dry, BWO Emerger
November Midge Afternoon #18 - #22 Zebra Midge, Griffith's Gnat
December Midge Afternoon #18 - #22 Zebra Midge, Griffith's Gnat

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

The North Fork Flathead River near Columbia Falls is an angler’s paradise with great fly fishing spots.
  • Big Creek Campground: A popular fly fishing location with abundant cutthroat trout.
  • Glacier Rim: Offers impressive mountain views and river access for fly fishing.
  • Polebridge: A serene setting that’s ideal for hooking cutthroat and rainbow trout.
    1. Polebridge Mercantile: Go to North Fork Road in Polebridge for a fantastic fly fishing spot.
    2. Bowman Lake: Also found in Polebridge, head to the inlet of Bowman Lake for cutthroat trout.
  • Ford: Well known for its excellent fly fishing, particularly for bull trout and cutthroats.
  • Blankenship Bridge: Perfect for fly fishing from the shore or a watercraft.
Many of these fishing holes along the North Fork Flathead River have fantastic sceneries and diverse fish species, making it a favored destination for fly fishing enthusiasts.

Best Access Points

The North Fork Flathead River – Columbia Falls in Montana offers various access points for enthusiasts to fly fish.
  • The North Fork Road: This 58-mile-long road runs parallel to the river, offering numerous access points to pull over and fly fish.
  • The Big Creek Campground: Located on the west side of Glacier National Park 23 miles north of Columbia Falls, this campground provides ample space to fly fish.
  • The Polebridge: A small community located along the river that provides easy access.
  • Glacier Rim: Situated south of the Glacier National Park border, this site offers river access for fishing.
  • Blankenship Bridge: Located where the North Fork and the Middle Fork of the Flathead River meet, this spot offers an excellent location for fly fishers.
Remember to comply with all fishing regulations and restrictions in these areas when you pursue your fly-fishing expedition.

Local Fish

  • Rainbow Trout: Known for their vibrant colors and fighting spirit, Rainbow Trout are extremely popular among fly fishermen.
  • Westslope Cutthroat Trout: Native to the North Fork Flathead River, these trout are eager biters making them a favorite target for fly anglers.
  • Brook Trout: These highly adaptable fish are prevalent in colder, mountain streams making them an ideal catch on the North Fork Flathead River.
  • Brown Trout: Less common in the North Fork Flathead River, but a prized catch due to their size and elusive nature.
  • Bull Trout: This threatened species is catch and release only. Bull Trout are known for their sizes and aggressive strikes.
  • Mountain Whitefish: Not typically targeted by fly fishers, but abundant in the North Fork Flathead River.
  • Arctic Grayling: Arctic Grayling are a popular catch due to their stunning, sail-like dorsal fins and aggressive feeding habits.
  • Northern Pike: Northern Pike are rare to this area, though some substantial catches have been reported. Release is required if unintentionally caught while targeting other species.

About The River

The North Fork Flathead River is one of nature’s best-kept secrets. This stunningly beautiful river originates in Canada and flows southwards into Montana, USA, and into the serene town of Columbia Falls. It has remarkable significance to the history and vitality of the region.

Montana’s early settlers relied on this river for fishing, transportation, and water supply. Its crystal-clear waters and surrounding forests are teeming with diverse wildlife, making it an ecological haven to this day.

  • The river has been a major transportation route since the early 1800s.
  • Its rich pteridophyte life has been studied since 1912 and continues to intrigue scientists.
  • Over the years, the river has become a popular recreational spot for kayaking, fishing, and wildlife viewing.

Brimming with natural beauty and historical richness, the North Fork Flathead River in Columbia Falls is truly an integral part of Montana’s very fabric.


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