the Beaverhead River
Eagle Inflatable Kayaks -
An inflatable kayak is a wonderful way to both float and fish the
many rivers in Montana. You can also learn more about inflatable
kayaks in our Inflatable
Kayak Guide, too. I own a Sea Eagle Kayak and highly
Beaverhead River : Barretts Diversion Dam to Dillon
A float or raft trip down the Beaverhead River is not
considered one of the prime float trips in Montana. The countryside is
very arid. The river frequently flows right next to an interstate highway.
Below Barretts Dam, the current frequently slows to a crawl and countless
obstacles in the river exist, such as fences and diversion dams. The
frequent low water due to irrigation also makes floating difficult.
Still, while the Beaverhead River may not offer what other Montana rivers
do in terms of float quality, floating the Beaverhead River is the best
way to fish it. The deep pools and somewhat limited shore access allows
float anglers to reach areas shore anglers cannot.
Below Clark Canyon Dam and running to the Barretts Dam, the Beaverhead
River twists and turns as it runs through arid hills. Don't expect solitude
on this stretch. Numerous float parties use this section of the river
for fly fishing. At times, the river can resemble a water bound highway,
as so many parties at times are floating this river section. But of course,
the reason all these parties are here is because the fly fishing in this
section of the Beaverhead River is excellent.
At Barretts Dam, a portage is required. Below Barretts Dam is where
floating pressure drops off substantially. The water frequently runs
very slow with many obstacles due to the irrigation withdrawl.
From Barretts Dam all the way down to the rivers end in Twin Bridges,
a floater can expect to encounter numerous diversion dams, pipes in the
rivers, jetties, fences that span the entire river and many irrigation
channels - with most of these obstacles encountered around Dillon.
In sum, the Beaverhead River is divided into two distinct sections.
The upper sixteen miles of the Beaverhead River provides nice floating
with excellent fly fishing. The remainder provides a slow float around
many obstacles with very good to poor fishing - with the best fly fishing
being found upstream from Dillon.
Selected River Miles on the Beaverhead River
Listed below are selected river miles for the Beaverhead River in Montana.
Clark Canyon Dam: 82
Bridge FAS: 73.2
Pipe Organ Bridge: 67.5
Grasshopper Creek Access Site: 66
Barretts Dam: 63.5
Slough FAS: 53.4
Interstate 15 Bridge (Dillon): 50
Rock State Park: 25.2
Twin Bridges: 2.5
Confluence with the Jefferson
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