Clark Fork (River)

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Clark Fork
Map of the Clark Fork with its tributaries and its mouth

Map of the Clark Fork with its tributaries and its mouth

Water code US798973
location Montana , Idaho (USA)
River system Columbia River
Drain over Pend Oreille River  → Columbia River  → Pacific Ocean
Confluence of Silver Bow Creek and Warm Springs Creek
46 ° 11 ′ 13 ″  N , 112 ° 46 ′ 19 ″  W.
Source height 1462  m
muzzle Lake Pend Oreille Coordinates: 48 ° 11 ′ 0 ″  N , 116 ° 16 ′ 9 ″  W 48 ° 11 ′ 0 ″  N , 116 ° 16 ′ 9 ″  W.
Mouth height 626  m
Height difference 836 m
Bottom slope 1.7 ‰
length 499 km
Catchment area 59,324 km²
Discharge at the Whitehorse Rapids
A Eo gauge: 57,166 km²
Location: 14 km above the mouth
MQ 1929/2014
Mq 1929/2014
622 m³ / s
10.9 l / (s km²)
Left tributaries Bitterroot River
Right tributaries Blackfoot River , Flathead River , Thompson River
Reservoirs flowed through Noxon Reservoir ,
Cabinet Gorge Reservoir
Medium-sized cities Butte , Missoula
Communities Deer Lodge , Thompson Falls
The Clark Fork River in Missoula

The Clark Fork River in Missoula

The confluence of the Clark Fork and Pend Oreille Lake

The confluence of the Clark Fork and Pend Oreille Lake

Clark Fork to the west of the map of rivers in Montana

Clark Fork to the west of the map of rivers in Montana

The Missoula River in 2003

The Missoula River in 2003

The Clark Fork is a 499 km long river in the US states of Montana and Idaho .

It rises near Butte and then flows through Deer Lodge , Goldcreek , Drummond and Clinton before the Blackfoot River joins from the east. The river then flows through the city of Missoula and the Bitterroot River flows south a short time later. In the Lolo National Forest , the Bitterroot Range rises to the west of the river valley , Interstate 90 , which has accompanied the river until then, leaves it, while the Clark Fork flows east for a short time, accompanied by the Montana Highway 135 . After the Flathead River empties, the river flows north-northwest again and is accompanied by the Montana Highway 200 (later Idaho State Highway 200 ). In Thompson Falls opens Thompson River from the west. Around the place Trout Creek the place is dammed up to the Noxon Reservoir and behind the place Noxon to the Cabinet Gorge Reservoir . Just eight kilometers beyond the Idaho - Montana border, the river flows into Lake Pend Oreille at Clark Fork .


During the last ice age , there was a result of the North American ice sheet ice sheet , of the Lake Missoula , an Ice Lake dammed. With the end of the Ice Age, this lake suddenly emptied over the Missoula floods into the Columbia River , with the current landscape being eastern Washington and the Willamette Valley ( Oregon ) was formed.


At first the area was populated by the Flathead . It was discovered by Meriwether Lewis on his return from the Pacific in 1806 on the Lewis and Clark Expedition and named after William Clark . In 1809, David Thompson of the North West Company founded several factories in the area , including the Kullyspell House on Lake Pend Oreille and the Saleesh House . At the end of the 19th century, the mining and with it the pollution of the river increased, in particular by the copper mines in Butte and the smelters in Anaconda , a town close to the river. As a result, the largest superfund site in the USA still exists today , which consists of three different parts: one in Butte, one in Anaconda and the Milltown Reservoir Superfund Site . The site is z. Currently still renovated. Still, the Clark Fork is a popular fly fishing river in the United States .

Individual evidence

  1. ^ A b Clark Fork in the Geographic Names Information System of the United States Geological Survey
  2. ^ Northwest Power and Conservation Council ( Memento December 11, 2012 on WebCite )

Web links

Commons : Clark Fork  - collection of images, videos and audio files