USA

Flathead Lake (Montana)

Flathead
calendarOct 09 2017
Located in the northwest corner of the state of Montana, 7 miles (11 km) south of Kalispell, it is approximately 30 miles (50 km) long and 16 miles (25 km) wide, covering 191.5 square miles (495.9 km²), making it approximate in size to Minnesota's Mille Lacs Lake and half the area of San Francisco Bay (main bay). Flathead Lake is 30 miles (48 km) southwest of Glacier National Park and is flanked by two scenic highways, which wind along its curving shoreline.

Flathead Lake is the largest natural freshwater lake by surface area that is west of the Mississippi River in the contiguous United States , if one takes Red Lake and Lake of the Woods to be north of the Mississippi River, rather than west of the river.The lake is a remnant of the ancient, massive glacial dammed lake, Lake Missoula of the era of the last interglacial.

Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks maintains thirteen public access sites around the lake. These sites include: Sportsmans Bridge, Somers, Big Fork, and Juniper Beach fishing access sites; Wayfarers, Woods Bay, Yellow Bay, Finely Point, Walstad Memorial, Big Arm, and Elmo state recreation areas, which have toilets, boat launch, camping, swimming and picnic facilities; and West Shore State Park, located twenty miles south of Kalispell on Highway 93. Also located along the west shore near the Big Arm is Wildhorse Island, a 2,165-acre state park. The park is accessible only by boat and is a public day use and picnic area only, no overnight camping.

The lake and its islands are home to hundreds of species of birds and wildlife. Wild Horse Island, the lake’s largest, is a wildlife refuge for more than 75 species of birds along with deer, bighorn sheep, coyotes and bears. Hiking trails meander around the island, through forests and open prairie meadow, past early 20th century homesteads. Geese, osprey, herons, and eagles frequent the aptly named Bird Islands, a popular spot for peaceful paddling.

The lake has a complex fisheries, which is headlined by the native westslope cutthroat and bull trout. Unfortunately, the introduction of non-native species including the mysis shrimp and lake trout have contributed to the decline of the native trout. To help the natives, state and tribal biologists encourage fishermen to target the large, predatory lake trout. Not a bad assignment!

Yellow Bay (State Park) Yellow Bay is in the heart of the famous Montana sweet cherry orchards, blossoms color the hillsides during the spring. The park includes Yellow Bay Creek, four walk-in tent camping spots and a wide, sandy beach for swimming, sunbathing, scuba diving, boating, fishing, and bird watching.

Location
Lake / Flathead counties, Montana, US

Flathead Lake

Flathead
calendarOct 09 2017

Flathead Lake

Flathead
calendarOct 09 2017

Flathead Lake

Flathead
calendarOct 09 2017