Montana Fly Fishing
The Jefferson River

Jefferson River

Floating the Jefferson River

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Jefferson River near Three Forks 
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The Jefferson River provides an easy float for anglers of any ability. No rapids are found anywhere on the river and the current moves slowly for most of its length.

The fastest flows on the Jefferson River, which aren't especially fast, are found in the upper section, between Twin Bridges and Cardwell. Below this section, a canoe may be the best boat to use, as frequent paddling may be needed to get anywhere.

Low water can also pose problems for floaters, especially on the last twenty miles of the Jefferson River. Irrigation for all the hayfields that line the river take up much of the rivers water. A number of braids and channels also exist on this lower stretch. Taking a wrong turn during low water can lead to long pulls of your boat over the streambed.

Several diversion dams exist along the Jefferson River that, depending on river flows, may need to be portaged. The first dam is located at the Parsons Bridge Access Site, twenty miles downstream from Twin Bridges. The second dam is found eight miles further downstream.

Selected River Miles on the Jefferson River

Listed below are selected river miles for the Jefferson River in Montana.

Origin near Twin Bridges: 84
Hells Canyon FAS: 70.7
Silver Star FAS: 66
Parsons Bridge: 60
Parrott Castle FAS: 50.3
Kountz Bridge FAS: 44.2
Mayflower Bridge FAS: 40.5
Cardwell Bridg FAS: 35.5
Lewis and Clark Caverns State Park: 30.3
Limespur FAS: 29.5
Sappington Bridge FAS (end Canyon section): 21.6
Williams Bridge FAS: 18.5
Drouillard FAS: 7.6
Interstate 90 Bridge: 4
Missouri River Headwaters State Park: 0

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