The Flathead River begins its 55 mile journey into Flathead Lake at the confluence of
Middle Fork and the
North Fork at Blankenship Bridgemarks.
Ten miles downstream the
South Fork meet the Flathead. From there the river will ever so slowly meander to Flathead Lake.
The last few miles of river not only make a thoroughfare
for the migrating fish; they also hold some good numbers of nonmigrating fish
year-round. Big cutthroats spend the winter in this section of the
river. This section is properly the highest fished area of the Flathead.
The Flathead below the lake is still pleasant to the eye, but fishing conditions are
fair at best.
picturesque qualities but holds little promise for the trout-seeker. Poor
spawning streams may be to blame for the dearth of trout. Most available streams
either dry up due to diversions or silt over so badly that they become
unsuitable for fishing.
The lower Flathead does have a cutthroat, rainbow, and
brown trout, but in such a large river their small numbers make them few and far
between. The northern pike provides most of the piscatorial excitement,
especially in the backwaters and below Dixon. Larry Petersen, a fisheries
biologist, found he could tag a pike, release it, and return to the exact same
place in the river weeks later to find the pike again. The northerns often weigh
in at over thirty pounds.