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Weekend Getaways

The ten Largest Lakes in Montana

The very best lakes in Montana exemplify the state’s rugged and wild nature, starting from massive reservoirs to glacier-carved our bodies of water. Montana, nestled throughout the Rocky Mountains, is thought for its numerous panorama, together with flatlands within the east and towering mountains within the west. Resulting from its geography, it’s the fourth-largest state in the USA and one of many least populated. Nonetheless, it’s a stunning state identified for its massive blue skies, incomes the nickname ‘Large Sky Nation.’

Western Montana lakes are identified for his or her pristine and beautiful nature, sometimes complemented with facilities equivalent to campgrounds, lodging, eating places, and boat leases. Nearly all of these lakes are fairly accessible, and several other of them have a beautiful rustic ambiance. So allow us to take a deeper dive into 10 of Montana’s greatest lakes.

The ten Largest Lakes In Montana

    10. Ashley Lake

Masking an space of three,250 acres, Ashley Lake is considered one of Montana’s largest lakes.

Tiffany Sims/

Ashley Lake is a part of a bunch of lakes in northwest Montana, produced by the Cordilleran Ice Sheet’s glaciers 12-14,000 years in the past. At 3,500 toes above sea stage, the lake lies amongst low mountainous terrain. It has 16.5 miles of shoreline and covers an space of round 3,250 acres (13.15 km2), making it one of many state’s largest lakes. Ashley Lake is ideal for all freshwater leisure actions equivalent to swimming, fishing, kayaking/canoeing, and motor boating. Fishing is superb for kokanee, cutthroat, yellow perch, and the occasional rainbow-cutthroat hybrid. The very best fly fishing outcomes are across the shoreline, particularly early morning and late within the night, alongside the inlets of a number of creeks and streams. The wildlife across the lake can be numerous, offering residence to moose, deer, black bears, coyotes, and wolves.

    9. Holter Lake

Holter Lake at Sunset
The ninth largest lake in Montana is Holter Lake.

Bureau of Land Administration Montana and Dakotas / flickr – License

Holter Lake is close to Helena in west-central Montana. With a floor space of 4,800 acres (19.42 km2), the lake made it to the ninth place. Alongside the banks of Holter Lake are well-maintained campgrounds which can be excellent for boating, horseback driving, swimming, animal statement, and mountain climbing. Holter Lake has wholesome populations of rainbow trout, brown trout, walleye, perch, carp, burbot, and land-locked kokanee salmon. Holter Lake is sort of in style with locals, owing to its proximity to Nice Falls and Helena. This stunning lake, surrounded by many trip properties and cabins, has nearly all of the facilities obtainable alongside the lake and within the surrounding communities of Craig and Wolf Creek, which cater to fly anglers on the Missouri River.

    8. Bighorn Lake

Bighorn Lake
Stretching 70 miles upstream into Wyoming, Bighorn Lake has a floor space of 5,574 acres. Schofield

Bighorn Lake is a reservoir throughout the Bighorn Canyon Nationwide Recreation Space, situated in northern Wyoming and lengthening into southern Montana, behind Yellowtail Dam. It sometimes contains 17,300 acres and stretches 70 miles upstream into Wyoming, however in Montana, the lake covers a floor space of 5,574 acres (22.56 km2). Bighorn Lake gives an plentiful alternative to seize quite a few forms of fish whereas being surrounded by a few of the most beautiful out of doors surroundings within the northwest United States, whether or not you fish from a ship or the shoreline. Walleye, brown and rainbow trout, yellow perch, carp, catfish, and crappie are just some fish that thrive in Bighorn Lake’s waters. Within the neighboring Bighorn Nationwide Forest, there are quite a few searching choices. Elk, mule deer, white-tailed deer, black bear, mountain lion, and pronghorn antelope are examples of huge recreation animals.

    7. Lake McDonald

Lake McDonald
The seventh-largest lake in Montana is Lake McDonald. WANG

Lake McDonald is the biggest of many lakes in Glacier Nationwide Park, situated in Flathead County within the US state of Montana. The floor space of the lake is 6,823 acres (27.61 km2). The scale and formation of Lake McDonald, presumably essentially the most iconic of all Montana lakes, are the product of glacier carving. It’s preferrred for anybody planning to go to this breathtaking piece of heaven on earth for swimming and picnicking. The multicolored rocks and stones that present beneath the crystal blue water of Lake McDonald are among the many most beautiful options of the lake. The Continental Divide surrounds the lake apart from the western facet, including to the lake’s scenic magnificence and serving to stop any oncoming rain. There are additionally some fascinating wildlife viewing choices within the lake’s neighborhood, with probabilities of recognizing bighorn sheep, mountain goats, elk, and the occasional black bear.

    6. Hebgen Lake

Hebgen Lake
Hebgen Lake has a floor space of 13,440 acres.

Hebgen Lake is a synthetic physique of water present in Montana’s southwest space. Positioned simply north of the state’s Idaho border, the lake and dam are about 20 minutes from West Yellowstone. With a floor space of 13,440 acres (54.39 km2), the lake is the sixth greatest lake in Montana. Though a extreme earthquake in 1959 destroyed many residences within the space, it has a protracted historical past as a resort and vacation vacation spot. Extremely wanted, the lake is called considered one of Montana’s most prestigious stillwater fishing lakes, with a hefty variety of brown trout, cutthroats, and rainbow trout. Boating, tenting, and swimming are among the many actions obtainable, along with glorious dry fly fishing. 

    5. Lake Elwell

Lake Elwell, often known as Tiber Reservoir, is a 14,800-acre (60.06-km2) lake within the north-central area of Montana, 15 miles southwest of Galata. It’s residence to massive walleye and lake trout. At Lake Elwell, you may as well catch channel catfish, black crappie, walleye, rainbow trout, yellow perch, and northern pike. Tiber Dam-Lake Elwell offers vacationers considered one of Montana’s most numerous leisure alternatives. The world gives over 178 miles of shoreline, a marina, and 5 well-maintained boat ramps strategically located all through the lake for boaters and swimmers. There are additionally a lot of campgrounds the place chances are you’ll unwind.

    4. Canyon Ferry Lake

Canyon Ferry Lake
Canyon Ferry Lake is Montana’s fourth-largest lake.ğba Omaç

At 33,500 acres (135.6 km2), Canyon Ferry Lake is Montana’s fourth-largest lake. Accomplished in 1954, the development of the Canyon Ferry Dam alongside the Missouri River shaped this beautiful lake. Since then, its functions have included energy, irrigation, and flood management. Boat ramps, day-use areas, tenting grounds, and marinas dot the 76-mile shoreline of Canyon Ferry Lake. As well as, there are additionally swimming and fishing alternatives. Rainbow trout, perch, and walleye thrive in abundance within the lake. Positioned towards the Large Belt Mountains of the Rocky Mountains, the lake can be a well-liked out of doors vacation spot that gives wildlife habitat. The Montana Division of Fish, Wildlife, and Parks manages a wildlife administration space close to the reservoir’s edge, residence to a tern and pelican colony.

    3. Lake Koocanusa

Lake Koocanusa
Montana accounts for greater than half of Libby Dam’s 46,460 acres.

The Libby Dam, which impounded the Kootenai River in 1972, shaped Lake Koocanusa in British Columbia, Canada, and Montana, United States. The lake has 46,460 acres (188 km2), with Montana accounting for greater than half. The mountainous and inaccessible setting of Lake Koocanusa, surrounded by a nationwide forest, makes the world wealthy in wildlife. Due to this, Lake Koocanusa is a wonderful place to get away from the hustle and bustle. Swimming, boating, picnics, and fishing can be found on the lake, a well-liked leisure web site. There are a couple of campgrounds alongside the lake’s shoreline as properly. Lake Koocanusa hosts loads of fish species, together with rainbow trout, west slope cutthroat trout, brook trout, kokanee salmon, and burbot, whitefish, and Kamloops salmon. 

    2. Flathead Lake

Flathead Lake
The second-biggest lake in Montana is Flathead Lake.

Are you a naturalist who seeks out new experiences? Have you ever thought-about taking a highway journey to Montana quickly? If that’s the case, you need to go to Flathead Lake. Probably essentially the most visited and well-known, Flathead Lake is the largest pure freshwater lake within the western US outdoors of Alaska and the second-largest lake in Montana, with a floor space of 126,100 acres (510.2 km2). It’s a large pure freshwater lake with largemouth bass, brook trout, smallmouth bass, rainbow trout, and brown trout in abundance. It boasts 185 miles (297 kilometers) of shoreline and 200 sq. miles (517 sq. kilometers) of water, making it a superb location for crusing, waterskiing, fishing, swimming, and different water actions. Wild Horse Island State Park, the lake’s largest island, is a well-liked location for hikers and wildlife aficionados.

    1. Fort Peck Lake

Fort Peck Lake
The largest lake in Montana is Fort Peck Lake.

For those who’re on the lookout for excellent Montana fishing, Fort Peck Lake is considered one of your greatest choices, with greater than 50 totally different fish species in its waters. Fort Peck Lake is Montana’s largest lake, shaped by an impoundment of the Missouri River in jap Montana. With over 1,500 miles of shoreline, this gigantic man-made reservoir is roughly 245,000 acres (991.5 km2) in dimension. Essentially the most sought-after species embody walleye, northern pike, paddlefish, sauger, lake trout, and chinook salmon. The Charles M. Russell (CMR) Nationwide Wildlife Refuge, which surrounds Fort Peck Lake, is a good place to go when you’re in search of one thing apart from fishing. Over a million acres of public property can be found for fishing, mountain climbing, searching, tenting, bird-watching, and different out of doors actions at this refuge.

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