Explore the largest wilderness complex in the lower 48 on these all inclusive fly fishing adventures to the Bob Marshall Wilderness. The Bob Marshall wilderness complex (Bob Marshall, Scapegoat and Great Bear Wilderness areas) offers over 1.5 Million acres of forests, mountains and crystal clear streams and rivers, and was America’s first ever designated wilderness area. Wildlife is found in copious abundance in the "Bob" where grizzly bears, black bear, elk, moose, mountain goats, bighorn sheep, mule deer, mountain lion, lynx, wolf and bald eagles all roam and fly in healthy numbers. The fisheries in the Bob Marshall are just as pristine and prolific as they were in the days of the Lewis and Clark expedition and provide an unequaled opportunity to target the native west slope cutthroat trout and the bull trout. The South Fork of the Flathead is known in the fly fishing world as the mecca for dry-fly cutthroat trout fishing. The South Fork is formed from the junction of Danaher Creek and Young’s Creek and runs for 45 miles due north, fed by dozens of small tributaries, where it exits the wilderness near Spotted Bear Ranger Station. Our Bob Marshall trips are operated in partnership with long time packer and permit holder Rich McAtee.
The focal point of these unique fisheries are the South Fork of the Flathead River and its tributaries. This remote river drains much of the "Bob" and is home to the largest genetically pure native trout population in Montana. The South Fork is also one of the few places in Montana where the threatened bull trout may be directly targeted by anglers. While bull trout numbers in other fisheries are low where they must compete with non native trout species, they are still healthy and robust in the South Fork. These large predatory trout are eager to hunt well placed over-sized streamers. The South Fork drainage is the largest stronghold of these native Char in the Lower 48 states. These lunkers act like an anadromous species, migrating upstream every July from Hungry Horse Reservoir. Bull trout are frequently caught in excess of 20" and specimens up to 30" are possible. Legal fishing season for bull trout usually closes on July 31. Many of the cutthroat also run out of the massive Hungry Horse Reservoir to the north producing surprisingly sizable fish mostly in the 12-18" range with a few over 20".
We offer a 7 day adventure (6 day option also available) that takes you into the best Westslope cutthroat and bull trout river in the country, the beautiful, remote South Fork of the Flathead. This river cuts through the middle of the Bob Marshall Wilderness, offering unbelievable dry fly fishing for cutthroat, and streamer fishing for bull trout. Anglers will fly into Kalispell and drive or get shuttled to the Wilderness Lodge near the Spotted Bear trailhead (or stay the night in a local hotel and drive to the trailhead early the next morning). The first two days of your trip will be spent travelling on horseback to get to the upper reaches of the river. These first two days are mostly riding days but you will have the chance to fish near the camps in the evenings and mornings while camp is being setup or taken down. The third day of the trip will be spent wade fishing the upper reaches of the South Fork as the gear team transitions gear from the horse pack to floating portion of the trip. The remaining three and a half days of your trip will be enjoyed travelling down river in rafts, enjoying both guided wade and float fishing, great meals on the river, and comfortable backcountry accommodations. All camping and fishing equipment is provided.
Because the South Fork lies within the Bob Marshall Wilderness, special regulations and permits apply. There are only a few commercial Outfitting Permits on the river, and we are one of them.
2022 trip dates:
June 22nd to June 28th
June 30th to July 6th
July 9th to July 15th
July 17th to July 23rd
July 25th to July 31st
August 2nd to August 8th
August 10th to August 16th
August 18th to August 24th
(Guests should plan on flying into Kalispell the night before the trip departs and fly home the day after)
$7100 per angler (2022)
$7900 per angler (2023)
$320/day single angler fee for single anglers or an odd number in the group
6 people max (unless one exclusive group then can do 8 people) Single anglers add additional $300/day
NOTE - we recommend guests stay in Spotted Bear for the night before the trip and the night after. Nights at the Wilderness Lodge are $75/person/night (so add $150 person to stay both on arrival and departure)
OPTION to fly into Spotted Bear: depending on your dates it may be possible to fly into Spotted Bear via small aircraft. Typically this is a 900lb capacity per flight including guests and gear. Each flight leg is about $400 (so $800 per aircraft). The drive to Spotted Bear is about 2 hours from Kalispell.
Included: all meals, non-alcoholic beverages, fly rods and all flies and tackle, all camping equipment
Excluded: airfare, alcohol (guests can bring with them to be packed), arrival/departure lodging (can add at additional cost), transportation to from Kalispell, Montana fishing license, wader rentals ($140) gratuities
Bob Marshall pack trips operated by Flathead NF permit holder Rich McAtee.