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Old 02-15-2010   #1
penguin's Avatar
Tahoe City, California
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 53
MF Flathead River - Seeking input!

Hey there, like so many others we weren't drawn for any rivers this summer. As a backup plan we're going to plan a trip down Montana's MF Flathead River from Shaeffer Meadows to Essex.

We're a family of four (8, 10 boys) with some experience (MF Salmon, Deso, South Fork American, East Fork Carson) in multi-day trips. Very comfortable with the trip logistics having bike toured a bunch and backpacked too.

I'm having trouble finding details about this river. Searching the net only shows raft companies and their trips. I'm interested in special gear requirements, any river guides for the [few] rapids, and river flow data around late July. So I come to the Buzz as the source. What can ya all tell me about this MF Flathead? Thanks!

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Old 02-15-2010   #2
Red Lodge, Montana
Paddling Since: 2003
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 73
late July=low water rapids not really an issue
Flying into Schaffer? If so give Red Eagle Aviation a call.
P M me if you need info hope this helps

Nate Dogg
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Old 02-15-2010   #3
Pugetopolis, Washington
Paddling Since: 96
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 767
I don't think there's many guidebooks out there. I have this one. Its decent. Covers the 3 forks.

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Old 02-15-2010   #4
Join Date: Feb 2006
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there is little info on this run because it is sacred and very well guarded, MONTANA STYLE, by gorilla boatmen and their amazon boat popping chicks, this means stay out please. Monster log jams the size of tina turners bush lurk upstream, you may end up griz bait also, i would suggest idaho, that state has real water,
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Old 02-15-2010   #5
lhowemt's Avatar
at my house, Montana
Paddling Since: 2020
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 4,346
Ignore our unemployed brethern above. He seems to have gotten out of intensive care of something. There have been a couple of threads on this over the past year or so, try searching and find some of the old discussions also.
I am a river, babe - I've got plenty of time, I don't know where I'm going, I'm just following the lines..... - "We are water" by Shaye
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Old 02-15-2010   #6
penguin's Avatar
Tahoe City, California
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 53
@northwestg guess we'll have to keep our tourism dollars in California if that's the case! Would hate to come to Montana and fuel the economy, buying airline tickets to the put-in, staying in hotels, eating at restaurants and spending money on who know's what else Those amazon boat-popping chicks sound interesting though.

Can you guys give me more details about water level? Do you know if fishing is good in mid-July, too? Better when the levels are lower?
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Old 02-15-2010   #7
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 90

Fishing will bebetter in July, for sure. If you are experienced river runners, this run will not fool you in any way, especially once the water starts to mellow out. Even pretty high flows would not be out of hand for an experienced rafter, but for best weather, fishing and good flow, my vote would be early or mid-july. Have fun. Feel free to email me if you want any more detail or logistic info.
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Old 03-09-2010   #8
Whitefish, Montana
Paddling Since: 2001
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 11
You can pick up a spiral bound river map from Flathead National Forest. Not so much info out there as some of the Idaho rivers but not nearly the amount of boat traffic either. Beautiful pristine river flowing out of the largest wilderness in the lower 48.
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Old 03-09-2010   #9
Whitefish, Montana
Paddling Since: 2003
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 4
We've got no snow pack here, so I wouldn't expect much water at all that late in the year. This week I was up the north fork and there is literally no snow. None at all at lower elevation. None. This time last year there were three or four feet in those places, and it was still snowing. This whole state's gonna burn this summer too. Damn little Spanish boy...
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Old 03-10-2010   #10
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Seattle, Washington
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 365
take the warning about territorial guides seriously.

camps are not as established as those on the idaho permit runs. they are also not as clean, as no groover is required.

some stellar scenery and some lovely rock.

don't miss the goat lick wall, and bring the telephoto.

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