Just got off the Flathead and thought I would give a quick conditions report for everyone.
I went in from the Lodgepole TH over Young’s Pass and down to Babcock Creek were I put on and started floating. The trail had been cleared to the Jenny Creek / Young’s confluence and was in good shape. The rest of the hike to Babcock had moderate downfall and wasn’t too bad. After Babcock the downfall on the trail is horrendous and I would strongly recommend you put on at Babcock, or if you want to avoid a couple of log jams, put on at the next creek crossing below Babcock. I estimated Young’s was flowing around 1000cfs at Babcock and probably 2000cfs at the confluence of Young’s and Danaher. The micro narrows before the confluence were a blast at that level.
There was four or five easy portages on Young’s that required 5 minutes to drag the boat over rock bars, and one that required a full de-rig but still only took 15 minutes to get around. There was only one portage on the SF proper at Gordan Creek. I layed over at the White River and hiked to the Chinese wall and then floated the White back to camp. I estimated the White to be running around a 1000cfs and it was nothing short of SPECTACULAR at that level. It was six miles of splashy face shots the entire way. AMAZING! If the SF Flathead is epic, the White River is sublime.
Bugs were a minor nuisance until around the Black Bear packbridge, and then became an unstoppable hoard until I got off the river at Mid Creek. The Mid Creek exit is not obvious, I floated a half mile beyond it before I realized my mistake. Luckily the trail parallels the river from Mid Creek to Meadow Creek TH and it is not to much of a hassle to de-rig below Mid Creek and hike up to the trail. Don’t go to much further below Mid Creek as it narrows into a gorge and you definitely don’t want to be running that section unless you intend too.
I used Tommy at 4 Rivers shuttle to get my rig to Meadow Creek TH and he did exactly what and when he said he would. Would definitely recommend his services. It’s expensive, but it’s a hellva shuttle (300+ miles).
Hope this helps. What an amazing river through a spectacular wilderness.