Flathead River Fishing

The lower Flathead River is a great place to fish
By Hookemharry

Posted: September 7, 2009

Western Montana has many great places to fish. One of those places is the Flathead River – specifically, the lower Flathead approximately 5 miles southeast of Paradise on Highway 200, or 3.9 river miles upstream of the Flathead and the Clark Fork River confluence.

For years, anglers used a undeveloped boat ramp, but that has changed thanks to Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks. A site was purchased from a private landowner in 2005 after the it was closed for a couple of years.

Inquiries from conservation groups like the Montana Bass Federation, the Flathead Chapter of Walleyes Unlimited, the Eastern Sanders Conservation District and the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes were the impetus for purchasing the land from the private landowner with the intention of developing the approximately two-acre parcel into a public fishing access site.

This stretch of the lower Flathead River is the 91st-most fished body of water in Montana. In the region, it ranks 18 and boasts 6.753 days fished with 114 trips.

While it contains many species of fish, most of the anglers take advantage of the excellent smallmouth bass and the hit-and-miss northern pike fishing.

Late last month. FWP opened the Kookoosint Fishing Access site on the land they purchase in 2005. The site is a dramatic improvement to the old site with a turnaround and an outhouse added along with more room for parking boat trailers.

My girlfriend Berny Croy and I had chance to use the new fishing access site a couple of times in the past two weeks. The boat ramp works well even in the current low water conditions. The fishing, however, has not changed from when we used the old undeveloped site earlier this year. The smallmouth bass fishing was excellent.

Every angler seems to have different technique when fishing for bass. Some use jigs others use Power Bait, but regardless what technique is used, most catch a lot of bass.

I like the Carolina Rig set-up which consists of the three-way swivel with a bell sinker attached to 4 inches of line that hangs down and a single hook with a 24-30 inch leader. I tip the hook with a whole night crawler – a partial crawler doesn’t seem to attract the bass for some reason. I also found leeches to be very successful.

We like to fish off of rocky points in about 10-20 feet of water. Most of the fish seem to be on the bottom but occasionally you will hook one that is suspended. Every once in a while, you will hook onto a northern pike fishing this way but you will have better luck this time of the year trolling a 5 of diamonds green or yellow colored lure along the weeds beds of the river.

Who could ask for more – a new access site and the same old great fishing. To view a couple of nice bass and pike caught by Berny on our last trip, log onto www.montanaoutdoor.com.