Whitefish area

Discussion in 'Fly Fishing Forum' started by dcslick, Jul 23, 2013.

  1. dcslick

    dcslick Member

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    Hello,
    My family is renting a place in Whitefish between the middle of August to the middle September. We plan on heading over there sometime during that month. Any suggestions on where to fish in the area? Any suggestions on what fly shops to visit? I have never been to the area so any info is much appreciated.

    Thanks
    DC
     
  2. Richard Olmstead

    Richard Olmstead BigDog

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    I don't know the fly shops, but I had a lot of fun on the North Fork of the Flathead a few years back in mid-August. The rivers have a very different feel there than the ones further south in MT or in ID and WA. The westslope cutts that migrate up from Flathead have quite a distinct look, too.
     
  3. Kim McDonald

    Kim McDonald member

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    2nd what Richard said. North Fork of the Flathead....you're literally casting looking at the Northern Rockies (Glacier National Park). Lots of access. Polebridge is a hoot...

    One of my favorite places to fish, quite frankly.

    Kim
     
  4. Josh Johns

    Josh Johns New Member

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    Lakestream flyshop is located in downtown Whitefish. If I were walking and wading I would head to the NF. Grab something from the Polebridge mercantile bakery or a beer from the Northern Lights.

    Read the regs if you plan on fishing any of the feeder creeks to the NF, some are permanently closed to fishing.
     
  5. bakerite

    bakerite Active Member

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    Middle fork and the Main Flathead are good too, maybe bigger fish in the main river. The fish are more transitory than most rivers. There are some good hike in lakes too, starting with Hidden at the top of Going to the sun road in the park. The Kootnei is fairly close and the Elk in BC is not to far for a day trip either. Both are better rivers than the Flathead. See if you can borrow a copy of John Holt's book about fishing western Montana and you will have lots of choices!
     
  6. generic

    generic Active Member

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    +1

    Don't count out the actual whitefish itself, as they will be migrating out of the lake, and into the river to spawn at that time. And they are quite large!
     
  7. ScottP

    ScottP Active Member

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    NF Flathead is pretty country; it's also bear country so plan accordingly and the NF road is a bit rough outside Columbia Falls (heading up to Polebridge today, as it happens). Mainstem Flathead has fish, but it's not a destination stream and is best fished from some sort of watercraft. As a general note, Montana FWP has started issuing Hoot Owl restrictions (no fishing from 2PM-Midnight) on a number of rivers in the state due to the extended hot/dry weather we've been having http://fwp.mt.gov/news/drought/waterClosure.html ; although waters in the Flathead valley haven't been affected yet, if we don't get any relief, expect more closures to come. As it stands now, fishing in the area is an early morning/evening game; mid-day has been a bit tough.

    As mentioned, Lakestream flyshop is probably your best bet for info; never done much business with Stumptown Anglers (I may have caught them on a bad day). Arends flyshop in Columbia Falls is another resource.


    Best breakfast in Whitefish - Loula's (Buffalo is THE breakfast institution in town but they serve dishwater for coffee and in MT, that should be a capital offense)

    Best burgers - Bulldog (head's up - you have been warned about the restrooms!)

    Best family dinner that won't cost you an arm-and-a-leg - Mckenzie River Pizza; yeah, it's a chain, but their food's pretty good.

    Best dinner that will cost you those body parts - Tupelo Grill; Ciao Mambo used to have great Italian food but it seems the past few years it's been in a bit of a slump.

    Even if the fishing's off, it's a fun place to visit and you and the family will have a blast. Make sure you take some time to visit Glacier

    Regards,
    Scott
     
    Duane J likes this.
  8. Kim McDonald

    Kim McDonald member

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    Oh yeah, I second Tupelo!!! Great place!

    Kim
     
  9. Trustfunder

    Trustfunder Active Member

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    Off the beaten path and a less touristy destination is the S. Fork of Flathead above Hungry Horse Res. Bring good tires and a spare the east side road usually is in better shape than the west. The S. Fork and Spotted Bear river is good cutty fishing all hours. If you're an ambitious angler and like to hike n fish, the bob is at the end of road west side. The trailhead might be busy starting in Sept all the outfitters will be setting up camp in the backcountry.

    Closer to town for a change of pace if you like Northerns and Bass, Church and Fennon slough is worth a few casts in a boat.
     
  10. bakerite

    bakerite Active Member

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    If you go up the west side of HH to the South fork you may want to check out Handkerchief Lake...At one time the home to the state grayling record. I caught an 18 incher there once as well as some nice cuts. You will need a personal floatation device for that water......On the other hand if you are driving all the way up to the South Fork, you may as well head up to the Elk, not much further, much better road, better fishing for the same species of fish. Or the Kootnei if you prefer rainbows!
     
    Bill Aubrey and triploidjunkie like this.
  11. triploidjunkie

    triploidjunkie Active Member

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    We went to handkerchief lake last summer. Pretty little lake, but I'll second needing a boat of some kind. I managed a few nice cutts from shore and the creek mouth. But I was there for grayling, and they were all jumping out in the middle. Tons of griz sign around that lake.
     
  12. Oonique

    Oonique New Member

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    Grew up in the Flathead Valley. Can't say how awesome it is! I grew up with Lakestream's longtime owner and they were great. Ask them and they'll point you well. Too bad I didn't fly fish then.

    N. Fork of the Flathead from W Glacier to Polebridge. There's some great fishing on the lakes in the park too, if you want to hike it in. I grew up trolling on Bitterroot Lake and love that western part with 5-8 lakes within an hour drive out west on US2. Also, though no one else knows it, I loved fishing for little trout 6-10" on Ashley Creek out that way. I've also heard the fishing in the Bob Marshall can be good (once again a hike).

    You can't go wrong even if you get skunked. Beautiful place.
     
  13. dcslick

    dcslick Member

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    Wow! So much great info. Thanks so much, I really appreciate all the help!

    ~DC
     
  14. Explosion5000

    Explosion5000 Member

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    I second that! I am heading out to the Whitefish area over Labor Day and was going to post the same question. Thanks for all the tips!
     
  15. Explosion5000

    Explosion5000 Member

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    Does anyone have any experience angling for bull trout on this area?