Flathead Lake Montana Fishing, Boating, Activities

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Flathead Lake Activities

All year round you can enjoy many fun outdoor activities at Flathead Lake, known for its clear waters and surrounded by wilderness land that gets you back to Mother Nature.

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  • You’ll enjoy many outdoor activities at Flathead Lake
  • Rent a sailboat, kayak or canoe and get out there in the sun on the lake
  • Swim at the beach at Polson’s Boettcher Park
  • Fish for perch, pike or bass
  • Try some ice fishing in winter
  • Snowmobile over the wintry trails

Flathead Lake in northern Montana is known for its crystal clear waters, and more importantly its legend of a lake monster that swims in the depths of the lake. The lake is 28 miles long and 15 miles wide, with more than enough room to entertain all enthusiastic visitors. Summer and fall are the best times to visit Flathead Lake, but they also are the busiest times.


  • Boating and Kayaking
    Flathead Lake provides all kinds of water sports, and boating and paddling are perhaps the favorite. There are a number of boat launches and marinas around the water’s edge. You can rent a sailboat, boat or canoe and get out there in the sun.
  • Fishing
    The lake is busy throughout the summer with anglers who try for that trophy Mackinaw, salmon, yellow perch, pike or bass. Whitefish are common on Flathead Lake, too. If fishing on the southern half of the lake, you’ll need a tribal fishing permit, as it’s on the Flathead Indian Reservation.
  • Swimming
    Swimming is possible anywhere on Flathead Lake but there are some key spots that have great beaches and swimmer-friendly waters. Try Bigfork’s Wayfarers State Park and Polson’s Boettcher Park. Enjoy the clear cold water and pebbly bottoms along these beaches.
  • Painted Rock Petroglyphs
    If you do decide to rent a boat or bring your own, make sure to visit the Painted Rock Petroglyphs. These scenic wonders are only viewable by boat.


  • Ice Fishing
    Anglers thrill to some old-fashioned ice fishing on Flathead Lake, and it’s pleasant because the climate is moderately temperate.
  • Downhill Skiing
    Two ski areas are close, Blacktail Mountain Ski Area and the Whitefish Mountain Resort, where you can enjoy that deep powder so popular in Montana.
  • Cross-Country Skiing
    Nearby you can tour the countryside on cross-country skis so you can appreciate this spectacular area at a leisurely pace. Explore hundreds of miles of trails in Glacier National Park, the Flathead National Forest and throughout the valley.
  • Snowshoeing
    Snowshoeing is another great winter experience where you can traverse the white landscape and get a real taste of adventure.
  • Snowmobiling
    With 200 miles of trails in the surrounding valley, you can ride all over Flathead Valley. And with about 2,000 miles of National Forest roads, you are sure to have the winter vacation of a lifetime.

In the Spotlight

Other Flathead Lake Activities Resources


Official site for the Flathead County department of Parks and Recreation.