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The Timeless Georgetown Lake

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As a mountain lake lover, you need to experience Georgetown Lake if only for the memory. Of course, take into consideration this lake is one of Montana’s premier blue ribbon fisheries pulling out the Kokanee Salmon and Rainbow Trout. Angling in this nestled Pintler Mountain escape is still a secret for outsiders, and don’t expect locals to share the prime fishing nooks. This is a trophy lake ranked among one of the top 10 fishing destinations.
Georgetown Lake is stocked each year with self-sustaining populations of trout making their home in the relatively shallow waters. The habitat has two main types of rainbow trout, the Arlee and the Eagle River strain. On any given day you can easily reel in a trout close to 14 inches. Rainbow in Georgetown Lake can get over 10 pounds and a 5 pound fish is not uncommon here. The lake also boasts of Brook trout growing as large as 6 pounds, with the average being around 2 pounds. Between April and June is a great time to witness the large Rainbow Trout spawning along the shore by the hundreds. You are not allowed to fish the shores during this time of year, but it is fascinating to watch. There is a good chance of catching Longnose Suckers, common Redside Shiners, and even the rare WestSlope Cutthroat.


The short drive from Georgetown Lake to North Fork Flint creek is breathtaking, and leads you to another tributary stream which is also excellent fishing territory. In the opposite direction, heading towards Anaconda, is Silver Lake, an oddly out of place lake which has never seen the addition of houses or a recreational population. This mountain lake has some legendary 20 pound lake trout, but they are hard to catch. FishingGeorgetown_t470
Georgetown Lake is loved for scenery, like a place time forgot. As its beauty is gaining more attention, the landscape is slowly changing from decades old homes into sprawling vacation mansions. Access to the lake remains good, with some of the best fishing being right off the side of the road near the pump house and Grassy Point. Denton’s point is a destination for all types of recreational activities. This lake is fished in the winter with ice houses popping up everywhere.
Night Crawlers, maggots and power bait are the top choices for fishing here. The preferred fishing method is to cast out and sit. Fly-fishing is popular and rewarding at Georgetown Lake. The lake is shallow, averaging around 16 feet in depth, which makes it superior fish habitat and the best fishing experience.
There are two ways to get up to Georgetown Lake. Both are off the I-90 exit. If you are coming from Butte, the Anaconda exit and drive through town will put you on the right road to Georgetown. From Anaconda it is around 14 miles to the lake, but the drive is absolutely amazing. The Mt. Haggin Peak is worth the drive alone, so get your camera ready. Another way to get to Georgetown Lake is the Philipsburg exit off I-90. This main road will bypass the outside of Philipsburg leading you up the mountain pass and opening right into the beautiful lake.fishing2

Fish Creek State Park

Fish Creek Camping
Fish Creek Camping

From the Williams Peak lookout you can see clearly the amazing crystal clear blue pools of fish creek. This is a 5603 acre state park full of wildlife, picturesque scenery and an unbelievable amount of places to explore. This newer park is now considered to become the second largest State Park in Western Montana with Eastern Montana boasting of Makoshika State Park near Glendive as the biggest. Fish Creek State Park sits on a 41,000 acre parcel received from the U.S Forest Service and Plum Creek Timber Company as part of the Montana Legacy Project.
This mesmerizing area is popular with the fishing anglers and has a small existing campground. There are undesignated camping spots as well for the brave of heart. Located near Alberton, Fish Creek empties into the lower Clark Fork River. This is the native spawning habitat for cutthroat trout and bull trout. Fishing is just one of the many recreational activities here. The Alberton Gorge is famous for white water rafting. These rapids are famously known for its class III/IV white waters. The State park has been gradually opening up more opportunities for different recreational activities year round. In process is a new large, recreational vehicle park and plans of creating a hut-to-hut back country network. New trails have been opened up for motorized and non-motorized use. The park is so large; just about any recreational activity is available.fish2
Hiking in this park will put even the best to the test. Old growth forage and common black bears (even a grizzly) will put you in the center of a true Montana wilderness. Wildlife is in abundance and caution should be used when hiking uncharted areas. Aside from the relaxing moments of picnicking, seasonal gems pop up like huckleberry picking in late July. If the summer is not for you then Fish Creek State Park has plenty of winter activities. Snowshoeing, and cross country skiing just being a couple ideas.
Fish Creek State Park is in the infancy stages of development. Expansion of this pristine wilderness is in the works to include more outdoor recreation opportunities. Until then, come enjoy the existing amenities, and create your own personal adventure.
This park is open year round. A fire is not permitted, nor is smoking unless it is in your vehicle or a specifically designated area. Check the fire hazard signs, as Montana can be unusually dry during the summer seasons. Be sure to obtain the proper permits before questing off to the Fish Creek State Park wilderness.
Fish Creek State Park can be accessed by taking Interstate 90 towards Alberton to exit 66, turn South, then West on Fish Creek Road. The park is located 9 miles West of Alberton.

Beaverhead Rock State Park

Beaverhead Rock State Park

Beaverhead Rock - 1871
Beaverhead Rock – 1871 Plank Bridge

Beaverhead Rock State Park is more about commemoration than of activities. Also known as ‘Point of Rocks’ formation, it sits alone at 4,900 above sea level. What you witness is a recognized landmark of a beaver head shaped rock yet the story behind this resemblance of a swimming beaver is legendary. It plays a significant part of the journey done by Lewis and Clark. Sacagawea, their Shoshone guide, recognized the rock from her childhood and knew immediately her people were nearby. Clark and his main party reached the rock on August 10, 1805 with eight dugout canoes. Lewis had passed this rock two days earlier and diverted on a well known Indian trail 60 more miles. The curvy, very twisted Beaverhead River curls like a snake below the rock formation. Clark believed he was still on the Jefferson River; which left the expedition party exhausted and running low on supplies.

The expedition was in desperate need from the tribal people of the area and Sacagawea’s memory gave them much wanted hope. “She assures us that we shall either find her people on this river [the Beaverhead] or on the river immediately west of its source; which from its present size cannot be very distant,” Meriwether Lewis wrote in his journal on August 8, 1805.

Lewis & Clark Expedition - Sacagawea Standing
Lewis & Clark Expedition – Sacagawea Standing

Years later the historical path became a stage stop near the formation. The stop was the hub between Virginia City and Bannack during the gold rush. The trail brought settlers, and prospectors. Ranchers used the area for ritual cattle drives. From 1860 to 1880s, this path was one of the most traveled in Montana. By 1920, everything was gone.
In 1975, Beaverhead Rock became a state park and is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The 30 acre park is considered primitive and offers no amenities. The site is somewhat accessible, without a marked turnoff and a pretty rough road; but for the adventurous who love to hike then access is manageable. There are a couple great ways to see the swimming beaver shaped formation. One is from the top of Clark’s Lookout State Park in Dillon and the other is to drive about 14 miles south of Twin Bridges on Montana Highway 41. There is a pullout overlooking the park along with the historical information signs and a cool bird sculpture. The Beaverhead Gateway ranch wetlands now run close to the formation near the base of the bluff.
Near Beaverhead Rock State Park are other attractions such as Bannack State Park, historic Virginia and Nevada cities, and Clark’s Lookout State Park. Montana is home to some of the greatest history of old west times.

Beavertail Hill State Park

Beavertail Hill State Park

Missoula is known for its identification as a ‘river culture’. This is what makes Beavertail Hill State Park a contender for the continuing love of water. One half mile of the park is located on the Clark Fork River. Boating, fishing, and floating are all the favorite activities to take place here.

Beavertail Hill State Park
Beavertail Hill State Park

If you need more water, then head on over to the Beavertail fishing pond which is fully stocked with rainbow trout, perch and whitefish. As far as ponds go, this is a bigger pond which should be classified as a lake. Boating is carry in only. But feel free to jump in and take a swim. This is a grand area for family memories to happen. If you still feel the fishing bug…Rock Creek is only four miles away and brags that there are 700 fish per mile. Rock Creek is a famous Blue Ribbon stream.

The park is over 65 acres and with so much depth to it. If you are into bird watching or wildlife viewing this place is geared to show you a small herd of deer or an occasional moose. There are one hour walking nature trails through the Cottonwood trees which defines the ominous setting. Wild turkeys are a common sighting.
The amenities rate pretty high for this park as well. Bring the R.V., or the tents. There are spacious campsites offered at a ‘first come, first serve’ basis. But then again… there are always the two Sioux style tipis for rent. They are 18 feet in size and sleep 6 to 8 people. The tipis are very well taken care of and offer a camping experience of different kind, one that is reflective of history and earlier times. Other amenities are the picnic tables, fire grills and R.V hook ups. Beavertail Hill State Park also host interpretive programs on Friday summer nights in their Amphitheater. If you need firewood, that can be purchased on spot as well. A comfort station, toilets and drinking water are also included.
Historical reminders of the area lay as remnants to railroad past of the Chicago, Milwaukee, and St. Paul Railroads. The railroad known as the “Old Milwaukee” was a unique route in a dozen states. This railroad was abandoned in 1980; leaving behind its legacy in old brick depots, electrical substations, and breathtaking tunnels. The park offers historical information on the Old Milwaukee Road.
Getting to Beavertail Hill State Park is an easy ride. Drive interstate 90 east of Missoula for about 26 miles until the sign prompts you the park is coming up. Take the exit #130, then drive approximately .25 mile south on Bonita Station Road to the park entrance. For those on their way to other destinations, this is a very convenient camping area as it is easily accessed from the freeway (and secretly hidden). The environment is better than any commercial campground. The park is open from May 1 to October 31.