Thursday, March 22, 2012

Clark Fork River, Bonner County, Idaho

Clark Fork River - West of Cabinet Gorge Dam to Lake Pend Oreille

The Clark Fork River in Bonner County Idaho extends from Cabinet Gorge Dam on the Idaho Montana board to Lake Pend Oreille in Idaho. The Cabinet Gorge Dam was completed in 1952. It produces 231 megawatts annually, is 200 feet high and 600 wide, and creates a 20 miles long reservoir into Montana. There is an overlook at the dam site. This river from the dam progresses through some rapids and eventually slows to a wide river and extensive marsh area until it empties into Lake Pend Oreille. This river is extremely popular for fishing, kayaking, and canoie. The entire river and river delta is a no wake area. Fishing: Large and Small Mouth Bass, Aggregate limit of 6; no size limit. Rainbow & Lake Trout, aggregate limit 6; no size restrictions. Fish species closed to harvest: Bull, Cutthroat, & Kokanee Trout. Call the Idaho Department of Fish & Game for changes in these rules at 208-769-1414. Cabinet Gorge Dam Directions: Off of HWY 200 on Idaho Montana Border.  Directions: See specific launches and access points, and info below. Maps: To view a map click on http://www.mapquest.com and type in Clark Fork Idaho to view the river in either direction via aerial setting.
SEE PICTURES AND INFO ABOUT BOAT LAUNCHES/ACCESS POINTS BELOW!

Lower Clark Fork River Boat Launches & Camping - Traveling from the Dam west to Lake Pend Oreille


1. Clark Fork Fish Hatchery & Launch - Large gravel launch, beach, hatchery with fish ladder, restroom, running water. For more info contact Idaho Department of Fish & Game. This launch is just down stream from the Dam. The prefer only drift boats to launch from this site as there are other spots of the river where kayaks/canoes can launch from. This is a no motor launch site. You must call first to get permission to launch from this site as if you do not call they may not allow you to use the site. Directions: In Clark Fork Idaho on HWY 200 - turn south onto Stephen Rd. (fish hatchery signs point the way), then left/east onto River Rd. Follow this road all the way to ware you will turn left (north) onto Cabinet Gorge Rd. Follow this road down to the gorge where the railroad tracks are, cross the tracks at the hatchery sign. Park in the parking lot at the office and sign in at the office.


Sometimes there is a yellow metal
barrier that prevents launching
2. Clark Fork Access - paved launch for small craft, bank launch area, rocky beach, picnic tables, restroom, heavily shaded picnic area, no running water, gravel railroad hiking trail. This launch is just a short distance down stream from the Dam. Directions: On HWY 200 just few miles from Cabinet Gorge Dam and the Idaho Montana border you will see a sportsman access sign. Turn there to access this site. This site is between mile marker 60 & 61, and just east of River Delta Resort. Just up the road or trail from the launch is a heavily shaded area to launch kayaks/canoes from and/or picnic at.



3. River Delta Resort - Paved launch, camping for RV and tents, cabins, lodge, restrooms, running water, store. Directions: On HWY 200 between Clark Fork Idaho and the Idaho Montana border you will see a sign on the south side of the road, pointing out the road that leads to this resort. Near male marker 60.


4. Colby Landing Resort - Steep bank access site, rocky beach, small parking area, no restroom or running water. Not well suited for launching kayaks/canoes from due to the very steep bank but is possible. Well suited for fishing from during summer water levels. Directions: In Clark For Idaho on HWY 200 - turn south onto Stephen Rd. Then left/east onto River Road continue on this road crossing the bridge over the river and continue on this road for about 4 miles. There is no sign along the road designating this site. The gravel road to this site is about a mile up the road from River Lake Dr. and there is a single tan house across the road from the access road. The place you park is next to a double set of railroad tracks. There is also a sign in-between the tracks that says Colby. ATTENTION please watch for trains and do not parking your vehicle or place any craft you have near the railroad tracks.


5. Henderson Ranch Wildlife Park & Derr Creek - Gravel parking lot, some groomed trails, no restroom or running water. Wildlife include Elk, Deer, Black Bear, Ball Eagles, Osprey, Peregrine Falcons, etc. Directions: In Clark For Idaho on HWY 200 - turn south onto Stephen Rd. Then left/east onto River Road continue on this road crossing the bridge over the river and continue on this road for about 4 miles. There is a wildlife sign just off the road designating along the gravel road that gives access to this site. This gravel road to this site is about a half mile up the road from River Lake Dr. The sign to this park says Adopt a Wetland, Clark Fork High School Environmental Studies Class, & Henderson Ranch Trust. The gravel road from the main road to the parking area about .4 miles long.




6. River Lake Resort - Paved launch, camping for RV and tents, restrooms, running water, butane fuel available. ATTENTION one can only use the launch at this resort via camping at this resort or calling to get pre-approval to use the launch if not staying at this resort. Just up river from this resort is a Island on the north side of the river. Directions: In Clark For Idaho on HWY 200 - turn south onto Stephen Rd. Then left/east onto River Road continue on this road crossing the bridge over the river and continue on this road for about 3 miles. Turn left (north) onto River Lake Dr. When the road T's turn left to the resort.



7. Clark Fork Bridge Access - Bank launching suite for kayaks/canoes, small parking area, no restroom or running water. This is a great location to access the main river or fish at. Directions: In Clark Fork Idaho on HWY 200 - turn south onto Stephen Rd. (sportsman access signs also point the way), then left/east onto River Rd. After crossing the bridge over the river take an immediate right onto Johnson Creek Rd. (NF 278). Then turn immediately right going under the bridge to the small parking area.



8. Derr Island Road Private Launch - Dirt Launch, limited parking. This is used only by the land owner and approved users. The land owner has asked that we post that this site is a private launch and is not to be accessed by the public. There is no sign at this site indicating its private so some boaters do uses this site by accident. Directions: Directions are only supplied to prevent you and others from using this site by accident. In Clark For Idaho on HWY 200 - turn south onto Stephen Rd. (sportsman access signs also point the way) then left/east onto River Road. After crossing the bridge over the river take an immediate right onto Johnson Creek Rd. (NF 278). This river access site is on this road at the turn off and next to Derr Island Rd.



9. Johnson Creek Road Access - Primitive muddy launch, muddy shoreline, no restroom, running water, or camping. This site is owned by the county due to it being a part of the county road easement. Directions: In Clark For Idaho on HWY 200 - turn south onto Stephen Rd. (sportsman access signs also point the way) then left/east onto River Road. After crossing the bridge over the river take an immediate right onto Johnson Creek Rd. (NF 278). This river access site is just up (west) the road Derr Island Road next to an old private railroad bridge (on the west side of this bridge). is on this road at the turn off and next to Derr Island Rd.


10. Johnson Creek Recreation Area - Launch, dock, muddy beach, restroom, 3 camping limit, no running water. Directions: In Clark Fork Idaho on HWY 200 - turn south onto Stephen Rd. (sportsman access signs also point the way), then left/east onto River Rd. After crossing the bridge over the river take an immediate right onto Johnson Creek Rd. (NF 278). Follow this road all the way to the Johnson Creek Recreation Area sign, turn right/west and proceed to the launch/camping area.


11. Clark Fork River Driftyard - launch, restroom, parking, 3 day camping limit, no running water. This site is closed from March 1through June 15 for water foul nesting. For further information contact the Idaho Department of Fish & Game at 208-769-1414 or http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/ Directions: Idaho on HWY 200 between Clark Fork and Hope Idaho - Turn south onto Driftwood Yard Road. Follow this road to its end. Physical features clue... looking southwest and seeing a lot of driftwood. Driftwood Yard Road is, of course, next to all the driftwood.



12. Lee's Point - Dock, vault toilet, skipping stone beach, picnic tables, fire rings, 4 camp sites. No restrooms. This is a spit that extends into the lake and at times open to weather systems depending on wind direction. There is a beautiful marsh and large mountain behind the spit. On the south side of a spit is a nice bay to anchor in but if weather is an issue one could anchor on the north side of the spit but make sure not to anchor in the river channel, and watch the depth as it is 2-10 feet during summer lake levels. Water depth at the dock is 4-5 feet during the summer but during the winter when the lake is drawn down there is not water at the dock. The skipping stone beach is always available to beach at no matter the water level. Directions: To access this site the closest launch is Johnson Creek (click here) in the Clark Fork section of this Lakes & Rivers Guide. If accessing this site by boat form other areas of the lake Lee's landing is behind/east of channel marker 29.

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