Flathead Lake, in Montana

What's the greatest pure freshwater lake west of the Mississippi River? At 28 miles (forty five km) in length, 15 miles (24 km) in width, 370 feet (113 meters) at its deepest and 124 miles (200 km) of shoreline the answer is Flathead Lake, in northwestern Montana. In all, it's nearly 200 square miles (518 square kilometers) present masses of put for the boater, sailor, swimmer, camper and angler to partake of their well-liked water-borne game. And for numerous recreationists, equivalent to hikers and mountain bikers, campgrounds, picnic areas and trails scattered alongside the shoreline offer views of the lake and the surrounding mountain peaks.

Flathead Lake, at a bit of lower than three,000-feet (914 meters) elevation, occupied a basin that used to be scoured out by a gigantic glacier about 12,000 years ago. The Flathead and Swan Rivers at the northern end are the most necessary streams that stock up the lake, whereas the Flathead River drains out of the lake's southern end at the metropolis of Polson.

To attain Polson from the south, you'll power through the Flathead Indian Reservation occupied by the Salish (Flathead) and Kootenai tribes. The lake is called for the Flathead Indians, who obtained their title from the flattered foreheads they’d catch from their miniature one-carrying cradles. The southern half of of the lake is at some level of the reservation boundaries. To fish within the southern allotment of the lake, you'll want a reservation fishing permit, which is available from the reservation or from wearing items stores around the lake.

Polson sits on the shore of Polson Bay and has several boat launching facilities, alongside side the general public Sacajawea and Riverside parks. Every parks also have picnic tables. Riverside has the added bonus of overnight camping with electrical RV hookups.

For folk who would trip a narrated tour of the lake, the 41-foot (12.5 meters) Port Polson Princess takes passengers on sight-seeing cruises on daily foundation from about June 1 through September 30 starting from KwaTaqNuK Resort in Polson, at 49708 US Hwy ninety three E, Polson, MT 59860. The on-board guides are wanting to level out probably landmarks alongside the lakeshore and to fragment their knowledge of the pure historic past of the lake. Four excursions are scheduled daily, alongside side a three-hour cruise around Wild Horse and Bird islands and three 1-h hour cruises. It's most optimistic to compose reservations earlier than time by calling 800-882-6363.

A region to examine the human historic past of the home is the Polson-Flathead Historic Museum, located at 708 Main Avenue, Polson, MT 59860. Their cellphone number is (406) 883-3049. Here, that you just must presumably be brought in contact with the pioneering technology through shows equivalent to a homesteader kitchen, the ranch mess (or chuck) wagon, military artifacts and steamboat memorabilia.

Sooner than the Tall Northern Railroad reached the valley in 1892, steamboats did a thriving replace ferrying passengers and cargo to facets all alongside the lakeshore. And build no longer omit to hunt the “Flathead Monster”, a 181-pound 7—foot-long (eighty two kilograms, 2.three meters) white sturgeon caught in 1965. The museum, does no longer charge bills, but they worship pledges .

South of Polson is the metropolis of Pablo, Montana, the attach that you just must compose exhaust of the products and companies of Native Ed-Ventures, which affords company a deepest tour manual to the native native cultures and cultural events, equivalent to pow-wows at the lake. Their address is Box 278, Pablo, MT 59855, cellphone number is (800) 883-5344.

Heading north from Polson, your attain Colossal Arm Bay and its units of the Flathead Lake State Park – Colossal Arm, Elmo and, within the mouth of the bay, Wild Horse Island.

Here’s the greatest island in Flathead Lake at 2,134 acres (864 hectares) and, of route, is one in every of the greatest islands within the inland United States. Privately owned sooner than the bid offered it in 1978-79, several non-public rather a lot and homes stay on the island. Otherwise the bid has left the the rest of the island as desolate tract.

It used to be named for the horses the Flathead and Pend Oreille Indians saved there as protection from Blackfeet raids. To provide the practice a recent-day connection, Montana maintains a population of untamed horses on the island.

Alongside the wild horses, the island is effectively identified for its bighorn sheep, which number around 200. Others of the hooved persuasion include mule and whitetail deer. Among those predatory in nature, bald eagles dwell and nest on the island and coyotes and mink search the woods, plains and rocky shores for his or her meals. Additionally it is miles dwelling to the endangered Palouse prairie plant species.

Wild Horse island is offered for day-exhaust handiest by condo or non-public boat. Wild Horse and its neighbor to the south, Melita Island, build a channel that native anglers call “Mackinaw Alley” as a result of the lake trout that linger here at the a hundred-foot (30 meters) and deeper depths. Fishing around the island, nonetheless, requires the tribal permit.

The metropolis of Somers, at the northern end of the lake, used to be a serious port for steamboat online page online visitors. One explanation for that used to be the huge bolt mill that operated here within the early twentieth century. Somers is aloof a key region for watercraft since it is dwelling to the greatest sailing almost today at this end of the lake, plus it's the dwelling of the Far West tour boat; (406) 857-3203.

The Far West takes as many as 200 passengers on daily 1–hour cruises looping around the northern end of Flathead Lake. It is probably you’ll trip a sunset cruise on the lake on Sundays, Mondays and Tuesdays. They are located at 7220 US ninety three S, Lakeside, MT 59922, cellphone number is (406) 844-2628.

For a facet time out from Flathead Lake, head north from Somers for seven miles on Dual carriageway ninety three and you'll attain the beefy provider metropolis of Kalispell. Restock your larder here from supermarkets, gas stations, malls, tantalizing locations and completely different agencies.

After you've performed that, that you just must pay homage to the founding father of this bustling metropolis by visiting the Conrad Mansion six blocks east of Main at 4th Avenue. Charles E. Conrad built this 26-room, Norman-trend Victorian in 1895, and in 1974 his youngest daughter married it to the metropolis. Completely furnished with normal family assets, it is listed on the National Register of Historic Areas as basically the most genuine flip-of-the-century dwelling within the Pacific Northwest.

Whilst you're in Kalispell, that you just must presumably also hang up recreational knowledge for the 2.three-million acre (930,777 hectares) Flathead National Wooded space at the most necessary region of job, 650 Wolfpack Arrangement, Kalispell, MT 59901. You'll come by the region of job for the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks and its knowledge on bid parks at 490 North Meridian Road, Kalispell, MT 59901, (406) 752-5501.

On your methodology encourage to Flathead Lake, resolve Dual carriageway eighty two north of Somers and head east toward Bigfork. Explore for the nest platforms of osprey that game officers have established atop cellphone poles upright next to the avenue. Osprey eggs hatch around mid-June, and the fledgling are ready to test their wings by late July.

That also happens to be the time to trip the Flathead dwelling's most prized delicacy – the huckleberry. The season for huckleberries can surely final through Labor Day at larger elevations and some folks claim that these later berries are the sweetest of all. The National Wooded space lands around Flathead's shores present the ideal spots for berry selecting, but State lands also have berries for selecting. Seek data from at the National Wooded space and State Park offices in Kalispell for the ideal locations. In plentiful years, that you just must presumably be ready to resolve huckleberries at farmer's markets, some grocery stores within the home and some roadside stands.

The coolest region to catch a form of huckleberries, in preserved build, is in Bigfork. Salvage Substantial Avenue into metropolis and flip upright on Electrical Avenue; peek for Eva Gates Preserves on the upright.

Eva Gates began her huckleberry replace in 1949 the usage of her grandmother's recipe, and they aloof attach up the preserves by the identical recipe within the identical miniature batches. To boot they compose huckleberry jelly and syrup. Also huckleberry's, Eva Gates also makes preserves from cherries, spiced apple, strawberry, raspberries, dark caps (which is a form of raspberry) and rather a lot forms of syrups.

Just correct south of Bigfork on the lakeshore, you'll come by Montana's most current bid park, Wayfarer. with 30 campsites, boat ramp and a coastline, the bid park is a capture-off level for waterborne game. At the a ways end of the picnic dwelling, a rock outcropping dotted with junipers affords a vista level of the lake.

South of Wayfarer on Dual carriageway 35, you'll power past roadside stands that might honest promote huckleberries in season. Nonetheless, referring to the identical time that the wild huckleberries are coming in, so are the bing cherries. The east shore of Flathead Lake has most of the valley's cherry orchards and plenty of the fruit stands. Some orchardists also raise raspberries, strawberries, apricots, pears and grapes.

Within the center of this orchard nation, you'll come by the oldest organic plight within the nation. At Yellow Bay, College of Montana researchers watch the lake's freshwater habitat and fish, alongside side lake (up to 30 kilos), cutthroat, Dolly Varden and rainbow trout as well to Kokanee salmon, perch, whitefish and bass. The plight is birth to company. Coincidentally, Flathead Lake's deepest level, at 370 feet, is at Yellow Bay, which might be the region of the bid park with a boat ramp and a coastline.

Between the wild huckleberries and cultivated cherries on the land and the trout, salmon and bass within the lake, that you just must of route catch a form of the West's greatest pure lake – the Flathead.

Flathead Conference and Company Bureau: http://www.fcvb.org

KwaTaqNuk Resort and On line casino at the southern end of Flathead Lake: http://www.kwataqnuk.com/

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