I've not specifically hunted Flathead but have hunted open water on plenty of other waterbodies in MT and the West. Layout hunting isn't that much different from selecting a shore blind in that you want to set up either where the ducks want to be or where they will pass en route to where they want to be. I wait to see what the birds are doing before dropping the first decoy. Consequently, I don't worry about setting up in the dark when using a layout. It may be 50 feet or 1/4 mile from shore in three feet or 50 feet of water. You said you have all of the tools but exactly what tools you have (e.g. a tender boat with a second person) may (should) limit how far you want to hunt from shore. You need to be able to get the heck to shore instantly if bad weather shows up.