Lakes Glacier National Park & Western Montana


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Enter to win a one-year pass to Montana’s Glacier National Park.

Lakes: Water Fun

Western Montana is home to numerous lakes, some of the most notable being Flathead Lake, Whitefish Lake, Lake McDonald, Lake Como, Seeley Lake and Lake Koocanusa. In addition to these notable waters, we're also home to high alpine glacier-fed lakes, quiet pools and of course, plenty of waterfalls.

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Northern Tier

Duck Lake

Located on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation, Duck Lake is well-known for its large fish, coming in at an average of eight pounds each. The lake is home to rainbow trout, bull trout, brown trout and westslope cutthroat trout. Be sure to obtain a tribal fishing license before fishing the waters.

More information:

Blackfeet Country

Hungry Horse Reservoir

Created in 1953 after the construction of Hungry Horse Dam (the upper most dam in the Columbia River hydro-power system), Hungry Horse Reservoir is managed for flood control and power production. Today, fish use the reservoir to rear and reach maturity. The reservoir is home to bull trout, mountain whitefish and westslope cutthroat trout. The reservoir is open year-round to fishing, with May through November being prime fishing times. There are 14 campgrounds and recreation sites around the reservoir.

More information:

Montana FWP
Flathead National Forest

Flathead Lake

Surrounded on the east side by the Mission Mountains and the west side by the Salish Mountains, Flathead Lake is the largest natural body of fresh water west of the Mississippi River. This Montana lake is 30 miles long, nearly 15 miles wide and has a depth of 300 feet, providing unparalleled fishing and recreational opportunities. It also has numerous fishing access sites and state parks along its 185 miles of shoreline, as well as several communities, including Polson, Bigfork, Big Arm, Elmo, Lakeside, Dayton and Somers. Wild Horse Island, the lake's largest island, is day-use state park that is home to wild horses, bighorn sheep, coyotes, deer and a variety of birds.

The southern half of the lake is located on the Flathead Indian Reservation, home of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai tribes. When recreating or fishing on these waters, be sure to obtain a tribal permit (available at most area sporting goods stores).

More information:

Montana FWP

Lake McDonald

Glacier National Park's biggest lake, Lake McDonald is 10 miles long and 472 feet deep. Located on the western side of the park, the lake is surrounded by mountains on the north, south and east. Boat rental, boat tours, fishing and general water recreation are popular activities on the lake.

More information:

Glacier National Park Boating
Glacier National Park Fishing

Swan Lake

Located at the north end of the Swan Valley is Swan Lake, a lake popular for both fishing and water recreation. Sitting at about eight miles long and one mile wide, the lake is home to northern pike, salmon and rainbow trout. Also located nearby are a day-use area, small beach and campground.

More information:

Montana FWP
Flathead National Forest

Whitefish Lake

Offering sandy beaches and beautiful state parks, Whitefish Lake sits just north of the community of Whitefish and at the base of Big Mountain—home to Whitefish Mountain Resort. At seven miles long and more than two miles wide, the lake offers plenty of space for water recreation, such as boating, swimming, water skiing and fishing.

More information:

Montana State Parks

Lake Koocanusa

Located in northwest Montana, Lake Koocanusa sits at nearly 30,000 acres and is home to a healthy fish population that includes bull trout, rainbow trout, bass, kokanee salmon and whitefish. In addition to stellar fishing, this 90-mile long reservoir provides excellent boating opportunities and there are several recreation areas along the lake, with campgrounds, boat ramps, picnic shelters and more.

More information:

Montana FWP

Murphy Lake

Located southeast of Eureka, Murphy Lake is a prime fishing destination for largemouth bass and northern pike. Sitting in a heavily forested area, this small lake and its surrounding area is home to a variety of birds, including common loons, bald eagles and osprey.

More information:

Montana FWP

Southern Tier

Lake Como

Located a few miles north of Darby is Lake Como, a popular lake in Montana's Bitterroot Valley. The Lake Como National Recreation Loop Trail extends around the lake for seven miles and is a popular route for hiking and mountain biking.

More information:

Bitterroot National Forest

Placid Lake

Located three miles south and three miles west of Seeley Lake is Placid Lake, known for its good trout fishing and smooth waters. Placid Lake State Park has facilities for camping, picnicking, boating, swimming and more.

More information:

Montana State Parks

Salmon Lake

Located five miles south of Seeley Lake, Salmon Lake is known as being one of the most picturesque lakes on the Clearwater River. Popular activities include fishing, boating and other water sports. Salmon Lake State Park also has camping facilities, as well a boat dock and ramp.

More information:

Montana FWP

Seeley Lake

This 1,000+ acre lake is popular among fishermen, as its home to kokanee, largemouth bass, whitefish, northern pike and yellow perch, as well as rainbow and westslope cutthroat trout. The lake is also a popular destination for water recreationists and is prime for boating and swimming.

More information:

Montana FWP

Noxon Reservoir

Located along Highway 200 near Trout Creek, Noxon Reservoir has a hearty population of largemouth and smallmouth bass, as well as northern pike. Its waters are fished primarily by boat, with several available access points along the reservoir.

More information:

Montana FWP
Kootenai National Forest

Thompson Falls Reservoir

Located in Thompson Falls, the reservoir offers a variety of recreational activities that include boating, water activities and fishing. Several boat launches can be found along the reservoir. Recently a fish ladder was added, allowing visitors to witness the endangered bull trout as it makes its journey upstream.

More information:

Montana FWP

Additional Resources:

For a complete list of fishing access sites Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks. For more on State Parks with fishing access sites visit the Montana State Park's website.


Lakes in Western Montana & Glacier National Park

Western Montana's Glacier Country

News from Glacier National Park: Currently all of the Going-to-the-Sun Road is open for travel.

Bird Woman Falls

An icon in Glacier National Park, Bird Woman Falls is a glistening 492-foot-high waterfall that cascades down the side of Mt. Oberlin. From West Glacier, travel the Going-to-the-Sun Road to Bird Woman Falls Overlook, located on the west side of the Continental Divide.

Trail of the Cedars

This short boardwalk trail (ADA accessible) takes visitors through an old growth cedar forest. It’s also the beginning of the Avalanche Lake Trail (just over two miles long) that leads to Avalanche Lake—one of the most popular day hikes in Glacier National Park. Trail of the Cedars is located about five and a half miles north of Lake McDonald Lodge.

Drive the Going-to-the-Sun Road

If your time in Glacier National Park is limited, one must-see attraction is the Going-to-the-Sun Road. This 50-mile long road takes travelers between St. Mary and West Glacier through the heart of the park, crossing the Continental Divide at Logan Pass. There are numerous pullouts along the road, ideal for taking photographs and enjoying the scenery.

See a Glacier

As you’re traveling the Going-to-the-Sun Road, pull over at Jackson Glacier Overlook (located east of Logan Pass). The overlook offers the best opportunity to see a glacier from the road.

Many Glacier Valley

Home to incredible mountains, active glaciers, abundant wildlife and miles of hiking trails, Many Glacier is located in the northeast section of Glacier National Park. Trails leave from this valley in numerous directions, with popular hiking destinations including Iceberg Lake, Grinnell Lake and Ptarmigan Tunnel.

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