FLY FISHING FOR TROUT ON THE SWAN RIVER IN MONTANA
The Swan River originates high on the eastern front of Mission Mountains out of Gray Wolf Lake. It flows downhill into Lindberg Lake just outside of Condon, Montana. The river closely follows the Swan Highway (Highway 83) but hides just out of view from the road. On its path north multiple rivers and creeks from the Swan Mountain Range and also the Mission Mountain Range pour into the Swan River. They bring ample high mountain cold, clean water that the trout thrive in.
This river is isolated from civilization and will transport you back in time to what Montana was like before it was settled. Bent Fly Fishing obtained one of four permits for several of the sections of this wild river. However, it is worth noting that these trips are not for everyone. You must be able-bodied enough to get out of the boat and portage around log jams and gravel bars.
On a fishing trip here, you will be targeting rainbow trout. These sport fish are notorious for putting up a fight and sometimes a show. After hooking one of these beauties, they often jump out of the water to try and shake the hook from their mouth.
The upper portion of the Swan River dumps into the south end of Swan Lake. It then remerges on the north end of Swan Lake and resumes its path towards Flathead Lake. Several small tributaries from the Swan Range include Johnson Creek, Bear Creek, and Peterson Creek. The water flowing out of the lake is swift and skinny. A float on the stretch starts slow in the lake and gradually picks up speed. The shallow stretches with large rocks create deep pools and the crystal clear water lets you know where the fish will be hiding.
WHEN TO FISH THE SWAN
Every year the Swan River opens for fishing on the third Saturday in May and closes on November 30th. Being a freestone river, it is affected by spring runoff. This usually lasts for a couple of weeks around May/June. Fishing is still possible in high water on this river especially nymphing and tossing a few streamers.
It is a quick-moving stream that holds the opportunity for some above-average, hard-fighting Rainbows. The convenient location, beautiful scenery, and fun riffles, runs, and pools make this river our favorite option.
The Swan Valley is nestled between the Mission Mountains on the west and the Swan Mountain Range on the east. This area was shaped during the most recent ice age which ended around 10,000 years ago. A massive ice sheet nearly one-mile thick was split by the Mission Mountains. Glaciers formed along both sides of the mountains and partially covered some parts.
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FISHING IN BIGFORK, MONTANA
The Swan River begins around halfway down the Swan Highway, Highway 83, and flows through Bigfork, Montana. Only a short drive from other towns in the Flathead Valley, the Swan River is a great option in you are staying in Kalispell, Columbia Falls, Whitefish, or visiting Glacier National Park.
We offer full and half-day fishing trips to this fantastic river. Give us a call for more information or to get on the books for your next fishing trip!