Blackfoot River Montana Fly Fishing, Camping, Boating

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Blackfoot River

One of the most famous streams in western Montana, the Blackfoot River is a popular fly fishing, pleasure floating and rafting destination, made even more famous by a novella and early-90’s Hollywood film.

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  • The Blackfoot River flows from the Continental Divide to the confluence of the Clark Fork River. 
  • From Missoula, travel east on MT-200. 
  • Enjoy trout fishing and rafting adventures. 
  • Recreate in Lolo and Helena National Forests and the Bob Marshall/Scapegoat Wildernesses. 
  • Made popular by the book and film, A River Runs Through It

Overview

The Blackfoot River is a spring and snow-fed stream, originating at the Continental Divide, 10 miles northeast of the town of Lincoln, Montana. The river then flows west and ends at the confluence of the Clark Fork River, 5 miles east of Missoula. The Blackfoot is a renowned fly fishing and rafting location that passes through truly remarkable mountain scenery within Lolo and Helena National Forests and is a great spot for other recreation including camping and hiking. Bring your camera – gorgeous vistas lurk around every river bend and commonly-spotted wildlife species include elk, deer and big horn sheep as well as elusive grizzly bears and wolves.

Location and Information

There are several places to access the Blackfoot from Missoula. In general, travel east on I-90 towards Butte before taking exit 109 for MT-200 E towards Bonner/Great Falls.

For more information, contact:
Lolo National Forest
Fort Missoula Bldg. 24
Missoula, MT 59804
Ph: (406)-329-3750
Website: www.fs.usda.gov/main/lolo/home

For those exploring the Blackfoot nearer to its origins, find more information at the Helena National Forest webpage: www.fs.usda.gov/helena/  

Activities

Fishing
One of the most well-known fly fishing rivers in western Montana, each year anglers float and wade the Blackfoot in search of big trout. Rainbows, browns and cutthroat congregate in the river’s fast runs and deep pools. Near to Missoula, plenty of access sites are located along MT-200. Annual hatches include stoneflies in spring and summer and mayflies from spring through fall. Check with Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks for fishing regulations and licensing information.

Rafting
The Blackfoot’s waters make it a great place for kayaking, floating, paddle-boarding and rafting. Several outfitters are located in and around Missoula and will take you for whitewater adventures and scenic float trips. A popular stretch is the 39-miles between the put-in at River Junction Campground and the take-out at Johnsrud Park.

Hiking
Explore the Blackfoot River Valley on one of numerous trails within Lolo and Helena National Forests as well as the Bob Marshall/Scapegoat Wildernesses. For a leisurely backcountry hiking trip near to Missoula, travel north on Hwy-83, about 15 miles north of Clearwater Junction, and take the 4-mile out and back hike to Morrell Falls.

Camping
Camping areas dot the national forests and wilderness areas surrounding the Blackfoot. In the Seeley Lake Area, why not try River Point Campground, camp at Monture Creek near Ovando, with trail access to the Bob Marshall and Scapegoat Wildernesses as well as fishing opportunity.

Wildlife Viewing
If you love spotting big game animals in the outdoors then this area is ideall. Spot big horn sheep, elk, deer and even the occasional bear or wolf. Remember to keep a respectful distance from all wildlife and carrying bear spray is recommended, especially in wilderness areas.

Fun Fact

The Blackfoot River was featured in the novella, A River Runs Through It, and became even more popular after the release of the early-90’s film of the same title, starring Brad Pitt.

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