4. DIY South Fork of the Flathead

4. DIY South Fork of the Flathead

per person

If true wilderness and the best native Westslope Cutthroat fishing in the “lower 48” interests you, then we have the trip you’re looking for!  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.  The wilderness mountain settings, clear waters, campfires, wilderness lakes and streams, and superb fishing will wash away worldly cares.

These mid to late summer expeditions are best experienced when this high country river flows low and clear, and trout willingly rise to attractor patterns.    We have other wilderness and backcountry trips too, so call soon to reserve your dates on these pristine and permit only wilderness waters.

We can provide all the rental equipment that you may need from rafts to breakdown frames to tents.  We work with a number of horseback outfitters and can help you to arrange you pack in and pack out,  the average number of stock used for people using traditional rafts and frames along with regular food will average 2 pack animals per person on groups of less than 4. Groups of 4 or more will average 1.5 pack animals per person when using traditional rafts with frames and regular food. People using pack rafts, dehydrated food and backpacking gear get by with dramatically less. For example a group of 10 going in and they will only be using 2 pack animals for all 10. Rates are $300 per animal for both riding and pack animals. We do not have a packer or wrangler fee and do not charge for any animals that the packers or wranglers are riding or any pack animals we need to pack in our gear for staying over night. 

The trip into the confluence of Gordon Creek and the South Fork is a 26 mile (9 hour) horseback ride and we do it in 1 day.  

You can usually reduce pack animals by 1 or sometimes 2 for the takeout due to eating all of the food and being able to fill the empty coolers with other gear. Almost everyone walks out the 3 miles from mid creek to meadow creek trailhead. 

Other costs may include $300 per vehicle if they would like us to shuttle vehicles to the meadow creek trailhead for them. If they feel inclined to tip packers or wranglers it is a nice gesture but not expected. We do not provide any food or drinks for any part of the trip including the ride in. We stop for a short lunch break but do not provide food or drink. I spell all of this out in the contract as well.



Pale Morning Dun #12-16                         Hoppers #6-10                         Royal Wulff #10-14                         Elk Hair Caddis #8-16                         Parachute Caddis 10-16                         Stimulator #6-12                         Royal Trude #8-16                         Parachute Adams #10-18 Lightning bug #12-18                         Humpy #10-14                         Girdle bug #4-8                         Montana Nymph #6-12                         Bead Head Prince Nymph #10-16                         Bead Head Pheasant Tail #12-18                         Bead Head Hares Ear #8-16


  • One or two changes of outer clothes should be adequate (use layering method)
  • Long johns are a good idea, particularly the new high tech wicking, quick drying materials
  • Foot gear: light weight hiking boots serve well as combination riding and hiking boots
  • A pair of camp shoes is a good idea
  • Canteen/water bottle
  • Day pack
  • Rain gear can be a saddle slicker, poncho, or rain suit
  • Extra eye glasses
  • Special medications and pain relievers
  • Pillow case stuffed with a jacket or sweater makes a comfy “pillow”
  • Pack everything in one soft luggage or duffel bag
  • Maximum weight of bag should be 50 pounds

It is helpful but not necessary to do some riding prior to your trip.  Being in shape for riding will make your ride more enjoyable, especially the first day.  Bicycling is useful because it helps prepare your posterior as well as the rest of your body.

On the day of the trip please separate everything except the few items you will take with you on horseback.  The only items you should have with you for the horseback ride are: full water bottle, camera, rain gear, fleece jacket or sweater, hat, and riding clothes.  The rest of your gear will be packed up the afternoon before the trip.  Your personal day gear will be packed in saddle bags or a small dry pack.

If you need any specialized clothing or equipment from saddle slickers to sleeping bags, canteens, or underwear, let us know.  We can have it ready for you to purchase or rent when you arrive.

Please contact us if you have any questions.

We look forward to making this horseback/float fishing trip a comfortable, enjoyable, and exciting adventure.

  • Departure
  • Departure Time
    Please arrive by 10:15 AM for a prompt departure at 10:30 AM.
  • Return Time
    Approximately 6:00 PM.
  • Dress Code
    Casual, comfortable athletic clothing, hiking shoes, hat and light jacket.
  • Included
    4. DIY South Fork of the Flathead