The late-July fishing-floating trip Edwin Hill helped organize on Montana’s South Fork of the Flathead River turned out to be a drag.
The Spokane adventurer and his extended family hired an outfitter to mule-pack their rafting gear into the Bob Marshall Wilderness as they hiked 18 miles to a traditional put-in on Youngs Creek.
Unfortunately, that’s when they realized the flows were too low for a joy ride.
“We dragged the boats or portaged for the better part of five days before the (South Fork) gathered enough water to float,” Hill said. “Our group ranged from little kids to grandparents, but they were all troopers.”
Jim Vashro, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks regional fisheries manager in Kalispell, said the Hills hit the South Fork during a summer of severe low flows that statistically occur only once in 20 years.
“Of course, it’s not great for the fish, either,” he said, noting that the limited fishery for bull trout was closed on July 29 in the South Fork drainage this summer.
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