Carol Northcut | Wednesday, 14 June 2023

Saturday was my choice of where to go and what to do. I chose to explore the northern section of the North Fork of the Flathead River that has wild and scenic designation. We drove several miles on dirt road to the old, small, timber town called Polebridge, now a tourist trap. We had to stop at the Polebridge Mercantile to get the most scrumptious huckleberry bear claws on the planet. It was my birthday, so the pastry served as my piece of cake. Our initial thought was to drive across the bridge there, which used to be a bridge made of timber poles, and then north on the Inside North Ford Road, just inside Glacier National Park. However, the Park has become so popular that a reservation is now required to drive into the park, even at remote points.

We continued to drive northward on the Outside North Fork Road, which became “greasy” from mud, to the permanently-closed border entry. By this time, our car looked like we’d been four-wheel driving in the mud.  At the border there is a raft launch on the U.S. side. Living life on the edge, I fished three feet across into Canadian water without a license. Shhhh. I didn’t know precisely where the “line in the sand” was drawn. Trying to wade downstream didn’t get us very far because the water was too deep and swift. Staying below the high-water mark was impossible as we quickly cliffed-out. (For those who may not know, stream access laws in Montana allow you to get into the water at any bridge or other public access point, but from there you need to stay below the high-water mark if on private property.) We didn’t fish long with such a limited area, but got some tips from a local angler who grew up in the area. We decided to drive south to another boat launch.

By this time, it was close to 2:30 when we reached the other access point. The sun was high and bright, despite clouds. We fished upstream for an hour or so, turning a few fish. A few came up and hit my top fly, but I pulled it out of the mouths of at least two. I’d forgotten that Cutthroat are a little slower at takingthe fly, or so I’ve been told. By the time we got back to the car, it was late enough in the day, and we were hungry so we headed home. It was a good day of initial exploration, though sadly with insufficient fishing. But there is a lot left to explore.

Sunday was more work in the woods, hauling out a few logs cut down to 40” sections. Mind you, these logs are no bigger than 9” in diameter, so not too heavy. Then back to the Pig Farm for some more mountain bike riding and exploration. We made it to the “lake” seen on the map, hoping it might be fishable, but it was nearly dry with only bugs and algae. It’s an ephemeral catch pond that, in big precipitation years, might last through August.