The flathead's body is mottled yellowish brown which fades to a gray belly. Couples. In 1976, the 219 miles of the Flathead River was designated as Wild and Scenic. The best stretch to fish is Teakettle to Presentine. The Big Three include blue catfish, flathead catfish, and channel catfish. Business. Don’t go out expecting a monster catfish, though. Deep water or shallow water are both home to these catfish. The South Fork of the Flathead River is one of the few places in the Lower 48 where it is legal to target bull trout. The Flathead River flows through the broad and beautiful Flathead Valley near Glacier National Park, Whitefish, MT, and Bigfork, MT. They are an important part of Native American tradition in that area. The head may be a slate or olive-grey color. Copyright 2016 - Bigfork Anglers | All Rights Reserved | Jason Lanier MT Outfitter #8509, Flathead River Fly Fishing Patterns & Hatch Guide, October Fly Fishng Report | Bigfork Montana. Solo. Language All languages. They can reach lengths of 60 inches or more. A respectable weight would be around 40 pounds. Fishing. It’s not uncommon to find them stocked in ponds in which you have to pay to fish. The flesh of this catfish is pleasant tasting and reddish-pink. The Flathead region is home to the strongest population of Westslope Cutthroat trout in the state of Montana. Identify which Fishing District you will be fishing (Eastern, Central, or Western). Given the small size, it is best to throw them back in most cases. The belly itself will often be white. A diversity of fish and wildlife complement the land and water resources, and contribute to both the natural and cultural values of the Flathead Basin environment. However, one guy showed us where to fish. Read the Standard Regulations that apply to all waters in that District. A flathead is one of a number of small to medium fish species with notably flat heads, distributed in membership across various genera of the family Platycephalidae.Many species are found in the Indo-Pacific, especially most parts of Australia where they are popular sport and table fish. You can find channel cats in the southern parts of Canada. It was caught in Elk City Reservoir, Kansas. Anglers call the most popular catfish species The Big Three. Look for sweeping corners where trout … When fishing for them, a variety of baits work. Flathead River Fly Fishing Hatches. The largest channel catfish came from the Santee-Cooper Reservoir and weighed 58 lbs. The rainbows and cutthroats can inter-breed, resulting in the "cuttbow"hybrid. The cutthroat move around a lot and you’ll find them in pods. Bass Fishing the Flathead River: Captain’s Column (7.31.14) By angelamontana . The Flathead River is one of the few fisheries for this type of fish. While it’s possible such fish may exist, there’s no definitive proof. As with other bullhead catfish, they respond well to baits like worms and chicken livers. The main stem of the flathead river is also fishing well. The taste is actually quite pleasant but you may need to trim some yellow fatty meat. Flatheads prefer to live in large bodies of water. Due to it’s glacial influence, the Flathead is not known for it’s prolific insect life. Headwater catfish live in the Southwestern US and parts of Mexico. The Flathead River and the Swan River (known also as the Bigfork River where it enters the lake) are the lake's major tributaries. Hudson Bay, the Great Lakes, and the St. Lawrence River are all home to brown bullheads. The types of catfish you want to catch affect many things. Average Length: 15-45 inches These include Mudcat, Mud Pout, and Horn Pout. Being the opportunistic feeders they are, getting them to rise to a dry fly is no problem. Headwater catfish anal fins have 23 to 26 rays. I was looking forward to a day trip on the lower Flathead River last week. The cool weather has the lakes fishing well as an … Fish are placed in totes before being brought to a processing plant at Blue Bay on the east side of Flathead Lake. They’re also well-stocked across 20 states. You can catch them on a wide variety of baits from dip baits to even unusual ones like hot dogs. Unlike some species, a squared-off and flat tale is characteristic of the breed. Unlike blue catfish, flathead catfish prefer slow-moving water. All content is © Copyright 2020. Best Spots For Fly Fishing Flathead River. The anal fin has 19 to 25 rays. That said, they’re still not as popular as most other catfish. Channel cats are hearty eaters. There are several types of bullhead catfish aside from whites. Various types of carp -- common carp, bigheads, silver carp and others -- are common in big rivers where flatheads are found, and they, like other fish, are attracted to drift piles. The rest is a grey or slate blue color, hence the name. For public, it will tell you the agency such as Forest Service or … Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Kalispell Tourism; Kalispell Hotels; Kalispell Bed and Breakfast; Kalispell Vacation Rentals; Kalispell Vacation Packages; ... Traveler type. The sides of the fish are usually the palest shade. It does get all of the western freestone insect hatches but slightly muted in numbers. The river is also home to some rainbow trout, lake trout, and whitefish. Rainbows are found in the upper section. In Fishing. That means they eat almost anything. Fish size is generally 8-16″ but we normally get opportunities at larger fish and an occasional fish approaching the 20″ mark on our guide trips. The Flathead River is one of the last strong holds for pure strain wild westslope cutthroat and bull trout. Channel catfish are the most abundant species of catfish in North America. The geographic range includes the Mississippi River and the Great Lakes. Channel catfish is also sold commercially. The Big Three include blue catfish, flathead catfish, and channel catfish. I was looking forward to a day trip on the lower Flathead River last week. They live along the Atlantic seaboard. They have a moderate but not deeply forked tail and flat dorsal fins. The rain event never materialized and the river dropped and cleared for over a week. Bull trout can also be found in the river dur… Enjoy dry fly fishing for native westslope cutthroat trout while floating down this glacial influenced gin clear western freestone. Fly fishing the Flathead River system provides a healthy population of native Westslope Cutthroat Trout, Bull Trout, Rainbows and Mountain Whitefish. You can find brown bullhead in the northeastern United States and Canada. They can also be a dark black shade. Friends. They extend all the way down to Mexico. The Midwest is also home to a large population. The Flathead river is home to some of the most unique fish around. They have a short anal fin with 14 to 17 spines. You can tell a yellow bullhead from another bullhead because the whiskers are white. Some catfish are best caught at night. The plan seeks to increase and protect native bull trout and westslope cutthroat trout to at least Their range is limited in the United States. Look up the specific water you will be fishing to see if it is listed as an exception to the Standard Regulations. As a result, this water is heavily protected and many of the areas are great to fish. Brown spots are common. Fly selections: This is easy. Nicknames for different types of catfish can get confusing, though. You can catch them in Texas and most of the southern states. They can also thrive below dams and lake outlets. Summer is considered to be the prime fishing time in the Flathead. The most noticeable difference is their forked tails. Headwater catfish resemble channel catfish, only smaller. Wow! Trout are starting to move out of the winter water with all this bug activity. Channel catfish may be the most popular species for eating. While you may not see as many 20’’ Rainbow Trout as in other rivers in the state, the Flathead River does offer good size Rainbow and Cutthroat Trout.  It is one of the cleanest lakes in the populated world for its size and type. Mike had his fishing pole, thinking he could fish while we floated down the river. However, the water can flow at impressive speeds so make sure you pick your areas carefully. Also called Ictalurus nebulosus, the brown bullhead has several common names. Your target species will be cutthroat trout and rainbow trout. You can eat the meat of the black bullhead catfish, but it’s best only to do so if they’re caught in clean water. They are one of the few types of catfish that are not considered invasive in most places. The South Fork of the Flathead River is home to native Westslope cutthroat trout and bull trout. Flathead is over 27 miles long and over 15 miles at its widest point and covers 191 square miles. ... into the water and the river has gouged deeply into the bank, forming undercuts. White catfish is an edible fish. A diversity of fish and wildlife complement the land and water resources, and contribute to both the natural and cultural values of the Flathead Basin environment. South Fork Flathead River Fly Fishing is the best you will find anywhere – period. You can find it fresh or frozen in many places. Some are but only in the right conditions. … They are rarely fished for sport, but it does happen sometimes. From deep in the wilderness, it flows roughly 70 miles before it’s confluence with the North Fork of the Flathead. We guide our fly fishing float trips on the Flathead River above Flathead Lake. by Ian Fortey Despite the name, brown bullhead are often green in appearance. The largest ever caught weighed 123 lbs. The barbels on its chin will also be white. True Water Fly Shop, Kalispell fly shop, is a full … The belly is a pale white. This gin-clear river runs through the Bob Marshall Wilderness for nearly its full length, south to north. Blue cats, channel cats and even bullheads are excellent table fish as well, but many hardcore catfish fans, myself included, believe a young flathead has a delectable flavor … Low oxygen and stagnant pools of water do not pose a problem for them. 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. Some trout are looking up and smashing dry flies and the rest are eating the nymph or streamer. This is especially true in the upper portion of the river, where the largest populations of rainbow trout are to be found. Flathead River. The barbels around their mouths are usually black or brown and yellow. We do throw a dropper off the back from time to time but we are primarily searching likely trout holding water with attractor dry flies. The bull trout is a threatened species and can reach 40 inches long. Many of the catfish species in North America are in isolated areas or small populations. Inland, you’ll find them stocked in places like Nevada, Illinois and, California. Though some channel cats prefer murky water, you’ll often find channel catfish in clear water. Familiarize yourself with the different types of catfish and good luck. The distinctive lower jaw protrudes further than the upper jaw. Flathead catfish respond best to live bait. Worthwhile to see! Knowing the difference between types of catfish is important. The trick to finding them is to cut the river down to size, fishing obvious holes and pools behind rocks, fishing around the numerous forks in the river, and along bank cover, such as downed trees. Millions of anglers go out in search of these fish every single year. Hiding in the deep water next to banks, in the many riffles and runs or along waist deep boulder gardens the fish of the Flathead River love to eat dry flies. Their weight rarely exceeds 40 pounds. Flathead catfish are not native to New Jersey; nor are they native to Eastern Pennsylvania and the Schuylkill River, where it is widely believed that they came from. There are decent sized populations of other fish around North America as well, though. Bugs are popping, more fish have moved into the river system, and the trout are on the feed. The Flathead River (Salish: ntx̣ʷetkʷ, ntx̣ʷe), in the northwestern part of the U.S. state of Montana, originates in the Canadian Rockies to the north of Glacier National Park and flows southwest into Flathead Lake, then after a journey of 158 miles (254 km), empties into the Clark Fork. There are over 25 fish species found in the Flathead River-Lake ecosystem, 10 species are native and 15 have been introduced. Some people will call them Mudcats, Shovelhead Cats, and Johnny Cats. Like other bullhead catfish, yellow bullheads are hearty eaters. The South Fork of the Flathead, located in the heart of the Bob Marshall Wilderness, is a horsepack in/float out trip of 5-7 days, putting you over feisty Cutthroats to 22″ and “Bull Trout” to 15 pounds. In the wild, they feed on insects, crustaceans, and small fish. The Flathead is a glacial influenced river so the hatches are not as prolific as some of the more famous rivers in Montana. In 1976, the 219 miles of the Flathead River was designated as Wild and Scenic. When they can be obtained alive (often from a commercial fisherman or caught on hook and line), carp of 6 to 12 inches long make great baits for drift-pile flatheads. Flathead catfish respond best to live bait. We also have a decent population of wild rainbows that have sustained in the system since their introduction in the 70’s. The Flathead River holds a decent population of medium sized rainbow and cutthroat trout. Flathead River Fishing. Your email address will not be published. The meat is white or yellow and mild-tasting. My husband, Mike, and I set off to Montana during July, the height of a vacationers paradise in that part of the world. There are four pairs of prominent whiskers around their mouths as well. Smaller fish like perch, bluegill, and goldfish make great bait. It is gorgeous! As the name suggests, they have flat heads. Like other types of catfish, they have four pairs of barbels around their mouths. Hiding in the deep water next to banks, in the many riffles and runs or along waist deep boulder gardens the fish of the Flathead River love to eat dry flies. Trout up to the Flathead River riparian habitat just as the name suggests, yellow bullhead from another bullhead the... Week we have seen steady improvements to the Flathead River is one the... Fish the main stem is to take an outside-in approach whiskers around their are! Of cats in the 70 ’ s size Valley near Glacier Park a... 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