Montana Fly Fishing
The Stillwater River

The Stillwater River

Stillwater River near Whitefish, MT 
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The Stillwater River flows for eighty miles from its origin at the small Russky Creek down to its end at the confluence of the Flathead River just south of Kalispell. The river flows through pretty country, primarily timber on the upper half of the river and a mix of timber, fields and agricultural land on the lower half. For most of it's journey, the river flows fairly slowly through the Flathead Valley, with a few faster spots being found near Kalispell and up near Stillwater Lake.

The river is known for its pike fishing, with fish in the twenty to thirty pound range are not uncommon. Catching these fish involves some stout gear. When fly fishing for these monsters, use either streamers on a sink tip line or large spoons (spin fishing), throwing them into the many deep pools that are found along the river, focusing on those that are situated in backwaters or where the current is slow.

Stillwater River in Kalispell, MT 
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Whitefish, cutthroat trout and brook trout are also found in the river. However, the trout are quite small, with any trout going over 10 inches being considered a large fish.

Floating the Stillwater River presents some special problems. Except for during high water, the current is generally slow. As a result, a canoe is the best vessel.

A class III whitewater begins just below the Stillwater Lake Outlet and runs for 1 mile. The river also has a number of logjams below Lower Stillwater Lake that need to be portaged. Finally, three fences rudely cross the entire width of the river, resulting in some awkward portages.

The river has decent access. The upper portion of the river flows through sections of state land. Quite a few bridges cross the river, and the three lakes the river flows through (Duck Lake, Stillwater Lake, Lower Stillwater Lake) also provide access. Motors are allowed on the river, and are frequently used to traverse between these lakes.

Stillwater River : River Miles

Origin at Russky Creek: 80
Town of Stryker: 68
Duck Lake: 60
Upper Stillwater Lake: 58
Lower Stillwater Lake: 50
Star Meadow Bridge: 42
Twin Bridges (near Whitefish): 28
Highway 93 Bridge: 9
Confluence with Whitefish River: 3
Confluence with Flathead River: 0

Next Page : Photos of the Stillwater River


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