Flathead Lake Montana Fishing, Camping, Boating

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Flathead Lake

Besides being the largest fresh water lake west of the Mississippi, Flathead Lake offers year-round recreational fun that shouldn’t be missed on your next visit to Montana.

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  • Enjoy miles of fresh water on a jetski, sailboat or motorboat. Flathead Lake is a boater’s playground. 
  • Catch a hefty whitefish or northern pike in the lake’s 300-foot depths. 
  • Admire bighorn sheep, bald eagles and even wildhorses while hiking Wildhorse Island.

What can I do at Flathead Lake? 

  • Boating: With 13 public access cites, all managed by Montana Fish and Wildlife and Parks department, there are plenty of places to drop your watercraft. Both motorized and non-motorized watercraft are allowed on Flathead Lake, so whether by jetski or canoe it’s easy to explore the 191 square miles of pristine water. Because the lake’s depths reach 300-feet and its feed by glacier water via the Swan and Whitefish Rivers, the water temperature tends to be chilly. In summer the water temp averages between 55 to 65 degrees. If you are looking to swim, waterski or tube in the spring or fall, be sure to bring a wetsuit. 
  • Wildlife: Whether you hop on board of one of the tourist boats or command your own vessel, a visit to Wild Horse Island is a must. Accessible only by boat, the 2,000-acre state park rests in the middle of Flathead Lake and offers miles of trails with lots of opportunity for wildlife viewing. Believed to once be a horse sanctuary for the Salish-Kootenai tribe, today visitors can see bighorn sheep, wild horses, eagles and lots of mule deer. 
  • Fishing: Due to the many vacation homes that line the lake, fly-fishing is not very popular on Flathead. In order to snag yourself a giant lake trout, whitefish, rainbow trout, northern pike or bull trout you should boat out to the deeper depths. Only in the fall is shoreline fishing popular, when the trout move into the lake’s shallow shores. 
  • Scenic Drive: It’s not just for boaters. Stretching for 28-miles from north to south, Flathead Lake offers the perfect opportunity for a leisurely cruise, either by car or motorcycle. From the west side, Route 93 offers beautiful vistas of the Mission Mountains and the lake’s sparkling blue coves ringed with tall pines. The east shore is accessible via Highway 35.

Where is Flathead Lake?

Getting there is easy. Located just 7 miles south of Kalispell, Flathead Lake is located along Route 93.

When is Flathead Lake open?

The lake is open year-round with tons of recreational activities offered in every season.

How much does Flathead Lake cost?

The state park recreation area day-use fee is $5.00 with camping fees starting at $15.00.

Who can I call if I have more questions?

Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks at 406-837-4196 or visit http://fwp.mt.gov/