Outdoor Activities

Alpine Lake fishing in the Swan Range

There are few better places to spend a summer day than casting for trout in a high, alpine lake. Swan Range alpine lakes are stocked regularly with 2-inch Westslope cutthroat trout. Below is a list of lakes and the year they were stocked.

For best results, try 3-4 years after the latest stocking date. Westslope cutthroat trout eat insects, so a fly rod can be the best tackle. However, the fish will also strike at small spinners. Get a complete mountain lakes stocking list and fishing regulations from Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks.

Fish Stocking List:
Beta Lake, 2001 and 2004
Birch Lake, 2000 and 2003
Black Lake, 2002
Blackfoot Lake, 2000
Clayton Lake, 2001 and 2004
Cliff Lake, 2003
Crater Lake, 2001, 2002, and 2004
Doris No. 1. 2000
Doris No. 2. 2003
Handkerchief Lake 2000, 2001, 2003 and 2004 (trout and grayling)
Jenny Lake, 2001 and 2004
Upper Big Hawk Lake, 2002
Wildcat Lake, 2000

Clean flowing water and gem-like alpine lakes make the Swan Range and the South Fork of the Flathead Valley an angler’s Valhalla. Some 75 mountain lakes dot the high country, many of them stocked with westslope cutthroat trout — providing family-friendly fishing and great eating. Handkerchief Lake is known for grayling, and has produced more than one state record.

The South Fork of the Flathead River is one of the last places in the West where anglers may legally pursue bull trout, a threatened species that needs cold, clear water.

Anglers need a state fishing license to fish in the Swan. See state regulations for limits and special regulations.  Visit Fishing Flathead National Forest

The Swan Range is also popular for hunting, in season. There is a general season for elk and deer and black bear, with hunting for mountain goats and moose allowed by special permit. Forest grouse are the most popular small game in this area.

This article published on February 24, 2012 • [Permalink]