Got up this morning and decide to head up Hwy. 35 long the East shore of Flathead Lake. As we approached Bigfork decided to go east to Hwy. 83 and go down the Swan Hwy. along Swan Lake. As we meandered along the shores of Swan Lake and down into the Swan Valley through the town of Swan Lake, passing through Condon. Up over the pass, cruising past Summit Lake, Alva Lake, and Lake Inez as we dropped into the clear water drainage. Home of Seeley Lake, Montana. Famous for Cabin Fever Days in February and the Maggot Races. This time of year no maggot races, just a day of kayaking on the Lake and hanging out with the locals.
We arrived in Seeley Lake about nine in the morning, as this sleepy town was coming alive. Stopped at Big Larch National Forest Campground, poured some coffee from our thermos and sipped on some home brew. While watching the sun reflect off of ripples, we decide to take a drive around the lake and survey the area.
Much to our surprise there are 4 National forest Campgrounds, with great beaches, 2 of them have very nice boat ramps. All of the campgrounds and rest rooms very clean. Lots of credit to the National Forest Service and the Campground Hosts on a job well done.
After surveying the area and driving around the lake, headed back to Big Larch Campground to create a few sandwiches and get the gear together. After the sandwiches we launched our Kayaks and headed north up the east shore of the lake. Watching the Blue Heron’s and Loon’s playing their games of hide and seek with us..
There were several boats out fishing and I start talking with both fisherman & fisherwomen about the Lake. It seems the lake as a abundance of Trout, Bass, & Northern Pike, as everyone seemed to be having a mix day of fishing for their favorite.
Clearwater River Canoe Trail
Location: About 4 miles north of the town of Seeley Lake on the west side of Hwy. 83. Follow the winding dirt road a short distance to the canoe launch site. The parking area will accommodate 4 or 5 vehicles. The area is rich in wildlife, especially birds. Don't forget your binoculars or your life jackets (the latter required by law). The canoe trail flows about 3 miles to where the Clearwater River enters Seeley Lake just north of the Forest Service ranger station. Take-out is at the ranger station. Forest Service personnel are in the process of improving a foot path along the lake between the ranger station and the canoe launch site so that canoeists will be able to more easily walk through the woods to pick up their vehicles at the canoe launch area.
Local info on the area & Lake;
The community of Seeley Lake, named for the 1,025-acre lake at its front door, has a year-round population of about 2,500 people. Its population swells to more than twice that during the summer months when seasonal residents come home to enjoy their mountain cabins. Seeley Lake is one of a half dozen lakes in the Clearwater Valley known as the "Chain of Lakes," through which the Clearwater River flows.
Seeley Lake is known throughout the Northwest as a resort community, although the timber industry provides most of the permanent jobs for local residents.
The lake itself is stocked several times each year with rainbow trout, some weighing up to 15 pounds. The lake is also very popular among bass fishermen and boasts one of the finest bass fisheries in Western Montana. Other fish species include kokanee salmon, bull trout, whitefish, perch and bluegills.
Seeley Lake has always been a popular winter recreation area. In recent years events such as the Snowmobilavous snowmobile festival, sled dog races and Winterfest, a winter carnival, have all created a renewed interest in winter sports. Cross-country skiers, snowmobilers and ice fishermen love the deep snow and winter beauty that only the Seeley Swan area can offer.
After Several hours of paddling , around 10 miles of it, pulled back into Big Larch Campground, packed up our gear and headed downtown to one to the best little chocolate shoops in western Montana for a treat to enjoy on our way home.
Tight Lines till Next time