Montana Fly Fishing
The Swan River

Swan River

The Swan River

Swan River at Swan River National Wildlife Refuge 
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Beginning in the Mission Mountains Wilderness Area, the Swan River flows north through a heavily timbered valley nestled between the Mission Mountains on the west and the Swan Range (part of the Bob Marshall Wilderness Area) on the east. This section of the river has heavily forested banks, numerous turns, and lots of logjams that lie in wait for the inattentive floater - especially in the upper portion of the river around Condon.

The river continues flowing through this heavily forested countryside before it reaches the Swan River National Wildlife Refuge. As it passes through the refuge, the velocity of the river slows down considerably as it nears Swan Lake. As the river passes through the refuge, it offers spectacular views of the Swan Range as the refuge consists primarily of grassland, wetlands and marshes.

Below the refuge, the Swan River enters Swan Lake, a beautiful ten-mile long mountain lake whose beauty is only partially dimmed by the numerous clear cuts on the lower mountains above it.

Below Swan Lake, the river slows down considerably as it nears Bigfork Dam, flowing through a mix of forests, fields and farmland.

Below the dam, the Swan River turns into a wild whitewater ride for a mile, called the "wild mile," before it enters the upper portion of Flathead Lake in the town of Bigfork.

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