Montana Fly Fishing
The Beaverhead River

Beaverhead River

Floating the Beaverhead River

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Beaverhead River : Barretts Diversion Dam to Dillon

Beaverhead River as it emergest from the canyon 
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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
High Bridge FAS: 73.2
Hennebury FAS: 69.8
Pipe Organ Bridge: 67.5
Grasshopper Creek Access Site: 66
Corrals FAS: 64
Barretts Dam: 63.5
Poindexter Slough FAS: 53.4
Interstate 15 Bridge (Dillon): 50
Beaverhead Rock State Park: 25.2
Twin Bridges: 2.5
Confluence with the Jefferson River: 0
 


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