South Fork Flathead float levels - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 08-28-2018   #1
 
Nashville, Tennessee
Join Date: Sep 2017
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South Fork Flathead float levels

Anyone have an idea on what the low end threshold is for rafting from the confluence of Danaher and Youngs Creek? And on the high end, what's too high (with the primary goal fish and camping, not whitewater). I'm trying to get a handle on what the typical float window is there.

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Old 08-28-2018   #2
 
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Kalispell, Montana
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Generally late June through early August.
Early to mid-June could be some smokin' whitewater.

July probably has the most consistent flows, and on its way down for water level for clear, fishable water.
June could be rainy, August could be smoky.



August is a crapshoot. If you're willing to drag your boat over some shallow spots, you probably have most of August...the three forks of the Flathead all drop off SLOOOOWWWLLY but consistently from late July through fall.
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Old 08-29-2018   #3
 
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I don't remember any whitewater until the gorge at the end, and that seemed really tight to get a raft through. Do people raft the gorge? I always figured rafters got out at the "dangerous waters ahead" sign.
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Old 08-29-2018   #4
 
Nashville, Tennessee
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jaffy View Post
I don't remember any whitewater until the gorge at the end, and that seemed really tight to get a raft through. Do people raft the gorge? I always figured rafters got out at the "dangerous waters ahead" sign.
That's my understanding and that's what I would plan to do. My reference to whitewater was intended to signal that my primary reason for doing this trip is fishing, so I don't want to go when water levels are really high.
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Old 08-29-2018   #5
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MT4Runner View Post
Generally late June through early August.
Early to mid-June could be some smokin' whitewater.

August is a crapshoot. If you're willing to drag your boat over some shallow spots, you probably have most of August...the three forks of the Flathead all drop off SLOOOOWWWLLY but consistently from late July through fall.
Quote:
Originally Posted by jaffy View Post
I don't remember any whitewater until the gorge at the end, and that seemed really tight to get a raft through. Do people raft the gorge? I always figured rafters got out at the "dangerous waters ahead" sign.
Sorry, my post was vague. I was referring to the three forks of the Flathead and local summer weather/flows in general. I don't have any specifics on the South Fork itself.
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Old 08-29-2018   #6
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
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Here's some info I compiled when we did it almost 10 years ago. Some of it might be useful to you.

https://drive.google.com/open?id=1kk...CrdE9pP1E1cbMs
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Old 08-29-2018   #7
 
Denver, Colorado
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What size boats? Second week of July is usually the date that fills up the fastest with packers this far in advance.
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Old 08-31-2018   #8
 
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Belgrade, Montana
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I did it about 12 years ago in mid july, it was a low water year and it was low in places. We had to drag around a few log jams on the main river but it was fine. We put in way up on Youngs creek and that was LOW with a lot of dragging, cursing and awesome fishing. The float window will depend on when, what kind of water year it is and your tolerance for pain. There is no white water, I guess there could be early season but I don't think your going to get in there during true high water - the trails will be impassable. When the snow is gone and you can get in, the water will have been on the drop for a while. The big concern at higher flows would be log jams - coming around the corner and finding river wide jams was common when we went. There was usually a route through but it took some scouting occasionally. Typically the log jams occur in areas that get really braided and the river is really wide and shallow - so usually very slow. You get out and walk the boat around to find a path.

Awesome trip but the fishing is way better away from commonly used camping areas. When I do it again I'll be spending the majority of my time on Youngs creek and at the confluence. Then I'll haul out through the wilderness highway in a couple 3 days. It gets really crowded in there in mid July! We saw a handfull of people the first 3 days, then were rarely out of site of people after that. We were in there 8 days I believe including the hike in on the first day and a half. It took 2 days to get to the confluence from where we started floating (the confluence of Youngs creek and Babcock creek). There is a narrows on Youngs creek that was very shallow for us, but with another foot of water would have been some fun, but easy white water.
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