Located in northwestern Montana, Lake County is
Montana's ninth most populous with 26,904 residents, according to the 2001 estimates produced by the U.S. Census Bureau.
Polson, the county seat, is the state's 18th largest city with a population of 4,041, according to the 2000 Census.
According to the Montana Almanac, by authors Andrea Merrill and Judy Jacobson, the county was established in 1923 and was one of the last counties to be formed in Montana.
The authors add Flathead Lake was the inspiration for Lake county's name and Polson was named for Mission Valley stockman David Polson. Lake County is home to the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes of the Flathead Nation. The Flathead Reservation was established by the Hellgate Treaty of 1855.
In 1845, Father Pierre Jean DeSmet arrived and helped establish the first permanent mission at St. Ignatius in 1854. Lake County is also home to the Mission Valley and Mission Mountain Range, Flathead Lake, the National Bison Range, Bob Marshall Wilderness and close to Glacier National Park.
According to the U.S. Bureau of the Census, median income for Lake County households in 2000 was $26,169. The county is 1,653.8 square miles in area; 1,493.8 square miles in land area and 159.9 in inland water area. County residents experience the four distinct seasons.
The Big Arm Unit is on the southwest part of the lake, on Big Arm Bay. Boat rentals and cruises are available to take tourists to Wildhorse Island. Big Arm Bay has a long pebble beach, where Canadian geese may be seen. It is also nice to sit on the shore and gaze at the boats quietly sailing by. The site has campgrounds, a marina, picnic, and swimming areas. Fishing is good at Big Arm; anglers catch perch, trout, and whitefish. Flathead Lake has a variety of fish species but is best known for its trout. The main species in the lake are bull trout, cutthroat trout, and lake trout. Fishing in Flathead Lake is best from a boat; rentals are available at various locations.
The lower Flathead River exits the lake at Polson and eventually flows into the Clark Fork River of the Columbia. Many people fish the Flathead rivers with fly fishing rods. You might see them casting back and forth, while they stand in the river. They wear hip boots to do this kind of fishing because the water is very cold. Anyone fishing on the Flathead Indian Reservation, needs to buy a tribal day use permit and a tribal fishing permit.
This is one of North America's largest islands, at 2,163 acres. It is now being preserved as a Wilderness Area. Wildhorse Island is home to many species of wildlife, horses among them. It is widely believed that Salish and Pend d'Oreille tribes brought horses to the island first. They hid their horses on the island to keep the Blackfoot tribes from taking them during raids. In 1977, the Bureau of Land Management brought wildhorses back to the island again. Bighorn sheep were brought to Wildhorse Island as a tourist attraction, but the herd grew so much that many had to be relocated.
Bird watchers love the island because it is home to a great number of species. Among the birds found on the island are a variety of ducks, swans and geese, red tailed hawk, bald eagle, and many small songbirds. There is a wonderful variety of bird and wildlife species to be found everywhere around Flathead Lake.
The only way to get to Wildhorse Island is by boat. There are cruises and boat rentals available from Big Arm. The island is a day use area only.
Finley Point is hidden away in a conifer forest. It is located near the south end of Flathead Lake. There are campsites here, and some of them have boat docks. This area is a good place to fish for yellow perch and lake trout.
Finley Point is about 11miles north of Polson on Montana Highway 35. In addition to camping and fishing, Finley point also has picnic sites, a swimming area, and boat launch. Fishing for whitefish is said to be great and is done from a boat since whitefish live in deep water. Whitefish can get up to 22 inches long. In the summer, lake trout also like the deep water and can be found in the middle of Flathead Lake. Try using large lures for these fish.
Flathead Lake Biological Station
The Flathead Lake Biological Station is a state-of-the-art ecological research and education center located in the Rocky Mountains near Glacier National Park.
The first Mack Days event occurred in the fall of 2002, arising out of the need to restore balance to the Flathead Lake fishery caused by the continually increasing population of lake trout. These events represent a new approach to fisheries management that strives to directly involve the angling public in shaping the fish community. The success of the events continues to grow, and we commend the angler's for their part in this success. Anglers harvested over 7000 lake trout in the spring 2005 event. While this was a record high level, it is still insufficient to significantly reduce the lake trout population in Flathead Lake. It is important to continue to build these events and maintain them in the future-Barry Hansen, CSKT Fisheries Biologist.
The Polson Country Club
Experience 'Montana golf' the way you imagine it should be...yhe way it is at Polson Country Club. Open to the public since 1936, our twenty-seven breathtaking holes boast spectacular lake and mountain views that comprise the only golf course with fairways adjacent to the shores of the Flathead Lake.
S and K Marina, Inc.
S & K Marina is committed to being a full-service marina company by raising the standards for marina facilities and providing the boating community with quality service, excellent performance and new opportunities for enjoyment.
Big Sky Pro-Racing Association
The purpose of forming the Big Sky Pro-Racing Association (Rocky Mountain Stocks)was simply to establish an association that will abide by a set of easy to understand, affordable rules that will be strictly enforced. With that premise in mind, BSPRA shal
Flathead Raft Company
Whether you are looking for whitewater rafting, kayaking, scenic rafting or sea kayaking in the tranquility of a mountain lake, the Flathead Raft Company® has an adventure waiting for you.
Mission Valley Speedway
Mission Valley Speedway is located in Western Montana, at the south tip of Flathead Lake (The largest freshwater lake west of the Mississippi) and at the base of the Mission Range of the Rocky Mountains. Directions are just north of Pablo, 1 and 1/4 miles west of US 93 on Reservoir Road-turn at the 55 and 1/2 mile mark of US 93.
Dayton Yacht Harbour
Located off Highway 93 on the west shore of Flathead Lake just 29 miles south of Kalispell and 20 miles north of Polson, Dayton Yacht Harbour offers excursions, sailing lessons, sailboat rentals, new and used sailboats for sale, summer slips and winter dry storage and West Marine Chandelry. Months of operation are May through October with Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday receiving a regular schedule of lessons in the mornings with shop hours of 1 to 6 p.m., afternoons.
Blacktail Mountain Ski Area
Our instructors and coaches are certified by the Professional Ski Instructors of America and the American Association of Snowboard Instructors. They excel at creating a learning environment filled with fun, safety, and improvement. No matter what age, gender, or ability you are, we can help your skiing and snowboarding to improve.
Mission Mountain Winery
Mission Mountain Winery is a family owned winery located on the West Shore of Flathead Lake (the largest natural fresh water lake west of the Mississippi), in Dayton Montana. There is even access to the winery by boat. It is the first Bonded Winery in the state of Montana. The initial Vineyard was started twenty four years ago and the Winery's first vintage was 1984.