Lakes near Missoula are great destination areas for water activities, camping and wildlife viewing.
Salmon Lake State Park is the first lake that you hit as you travel through the Seeley-Swan Valley from Missoula. Salmon Lake is nestled along the Clearwater River and is a beautiful and tranquil setting for many water recreation opportunities. Fish you can find in the lake include rainbow, cutthroat, brown and bull trout, large mouth bass and many more.
Seeley Lake is a 1,025-acre glacially-formed lake. It is stocked several times each year with rainbow trout, some weighing up to 15 pounds. The lake is also very popular among bass fishermen and boasts one of the finest bass fisheries in western Montana. Other fish species include kokanee salmon, bull trout, whitefish, perch and bluegills.
Placid Lake is known for its good trout fishing and smooth water. A number of facilities are provided for camping, picnicking, horseshoe pit, boating and swimming. Interpretive panels give an account of the early-day logging practices attested to by the massive western larch stumps in the area.
Brown Lake Fishing Access Site permits camping. There is a 7 day stay limit. A boat launch, toilets, and access for camp trailers is available. Marshy areas around the lake are excellent bird viewing areas. The site is adjacent to Blackfoot Waterfowl Production Area.
Georgetown Lake is a popular recreation area for boating, fishing, camping and windsurfing. It is a large; 3,000 acre, high; over 6,000 feet, mountain lake. The lake is surrounded by the Flint Creek Range to the north and the Pintlers to the south. At Georgetown Lake Kokanee salmon is the most sought after species, followed by rainbow trout. The Lake has four public boat ramps.
Flathead Lake is the largest natural freshwater lake west of the Mississippi in the lower 48 states, with over 200 square miles of water and 185 miles of shoreline. The southern half of Flathead Lake is within the boundary of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes Flathead Reservation. Recreationists must purchase a tribal recreation permit.
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.