The Yaak River is a fair-sized tributary of the Kootenai River, which enters at the Yaak Campground. The Yaak River splits the campground, which provides good access to both rivers as well as a boat launch. It has two distinct types of water. Below the falls by the Yaak Falls Campground (non-fee), the river quickly drops in elevation, which provides lots of holding water down through a steep canyon gorge. The canyon is difficult to access, and much of it is posted. After a long hike down the canyon during a heat spell, I caught a few fish in the 12-inch range, but most of the ones I caught were 8 to 10, which is more typical of the river in general. Good water may be found above the falls, but a good portion of it flattens out and heats up during summer. Above and below the town of Yaak, the river looks like a slough, and most of it runs through private property. This valley section is home to a lot of brookies, rainbows and a few small cutthroats. The Yaak Falls Campground offers seven campsites, toilets, and is a non-fee area. It offers a great swimming hole, if you are hot and driving through the area.
Seventeen Mile Creek
A few miles above the Yaak Falls Campground, Seventeen Mile Creek Road is closed and gated due to flood damage. It is also a wildlife sanctuary. The lower stretch of the creek can be accessed at the first right turn, which provides an access by the bridge. The area is posted, so stay in the creek. Take Seventeen Mile Creek 4.5 miles to the gate and hike into a great little creek. This would be a good creek to ride in on a mountain bike, as the closed road parallels the creek. The first 4.5 miles of the creek is blocked by private property.
Access to the Yaak River (Revise summer of 2010)
MM 15.6: Red Top Recreation. Five primitive camping sites.
MM 20.9: Bridge access to the south fork.
MM 24.1: Whitetail Campground. 12 campsites, water, toilets, fee area, right on the river.
MM 26.8: Pete Creek Campground. 12 campsites, water, toilets, fee area.