Kalispell, MT — Vehicle access is temporarily limited at certain fishing access sites in the Flathead Valley due to high water.
Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks has closed the gates at Kokanee Bend in Columbia Falls, Smith Lake west of Kalispell and the east side of Old Steel Bridge near Evergreen. The sites remain open to walk-in access but users are urged to exercise caution on the water. The roads will remain closed to vehicles until further notice. Additional closures are possible. Minimal damage to infrastructure is anticipated.
Warmer temperatures and increased precipitation are driving heightened streamflow. High water can create hazards and lead to periodic closures at fishing access sites.
A Personal Flotation Device, or life jacket, is required for all boaters on the water.
Boaters and anglers should be prepared for dangers during spring high-water season that may include:
- debris in water
- cold water
- heavy currents
- logs that get lodged together and create a hazard where water can flow through and around them but a large object cannot pass
- bridge abutments that catch debris and create swirling waves
- turbid, muddy water that makes other hazards in the water difficult or impossible to see
- boaters should not assume a river is the same as it was during a previous trip