Montana Fly Fishing
The Beaverhead River

Beaverhead River

The Beaverhead River : Overview

Origin of the Beaverhead River at Clark Canyon Dam 
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The Beaverhead River is one of the premier brown trout fishing rivers in Montana. The Beaverhead produces more large trout, particularly brown trout, than any other river in Montana.

The Beaverhead River begins at Clark Canyon Dam, near Dillon, and flows for 80 miles to the confluence with the Jefferson River.

For the first sixteen miles, up to Barretts Dam, the river flows through arid hillsides. Traversing this section of river, the Beaverhead is rarely in a straight line for long, as it constantly twists and turns in its route through the hills. The banks of the Beaverhead River are lined with willows, cottonwood trees and grass. Due to the excellent nature of the fly fishing, this section receives very heavy use from float parties. Access to this section of the Beaverhead River is good, as many official access sites exist and the river flows partially through public lands.

Below Barretts Dam, the Beaverhead River flows into the valley. Irrigation takes a heavy toll on the Beaverhead from Barretts Siding down to Dillon. In late summer during low water years, this section of river may not be able to be floated due to very low river levels. The fluctuating river levels also severely hamper the fishing. Except for at the designated sites, access is difficult as the Beaverhead River flows primarily through private land.

Below Dillon, irrigation use is somewhat less, but the river flows very slowly through predominantly private land.

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