Flathead Lake is one pristine beauty, but there’s a lot that you need to know before embracing the tranquility of the lake.
Flathead Lake is a clear water lake, which makes it one of Montana’s most attractive lakes that the potential of leaving you flabbergasted. There is a lot to know about this lake because of its monster controversy.
Despite the controversy, it is one of the must-visit places in the as the lake is the largest natural freshwater lake. Located nearby Glacier national park, Flathead Lake has a lot to offer to its visitors.
Let’s explore the pristine beauty and hidden treasure of Montana!
Flathead Lake: 4 Astonishing Facts to know!
1. History of Flathead Lake
3The infamous Flathead Lake was once known as ‘Salish Lake.’ The name flathead was a result of the misinterpretation. Some European settlers arrived at Flathead Lake and misinterpreted the Native American sign language. They misunderstood the term ‘Salish’ for Flathead Indians.
Although, there has been no evidence for the practice of flathead tradition in the tribe. By the end of the 19th century, the tribe moved from the island and settled at Flathead Indian Reservation.
Several dams have been built on Flathead Lake, which has increased the water level of the lake. One of the first constructions was Kerr Dam, which is located around Polson.
The dam was built in 1938 and was used for producing hydroelectricity. The construction of the dam increased the water level of the lake by 10 feet.
There are lots of fishes present in the lake today, but several species were not naturally found. The department of Fish and Wildlife of Montana introduced a few species of fishes.
There was a gradual rise in the number of steamboats. The boats facilitated transportation and boomed tourism as well. The Native Americans residing on the lakeside found it convenient to use a steamer.
The trading boomed in Montana’s region, and the freshwater of the lake promoted civilization on the shoreline. The trading and commute from one end of the shore to the other started getting busy year after year.
Today Flathead Lake is one of the prime locations and major tourist destinations in Montana. Flathead Lake Biological Station has been established near Flathead Lake. The station is liable for taking up research and extensive study on the lake’s freshwater quality.
2. Flatbed Lake Geographical facts
Geographical elements of the lake have added a charm to the area. Flathead Lake is not just the largest lake in the area, but it also has some other stunning features as well.
The water that has helped in the formation of the lake seeps from the Missouri river, and it has been formed naturally.
The lake of Missoula was earlier a massive glacier. With the rise in the world population and global warming, the glacier melted to give rise to a river, and that led to the formation of Flathead Lake. The reason for the water being such fresh is because it comes from the glacier.
The dimensions are quite impressive. The lake has a width of around 26 kilometers wide and 48 kilometers long. It covers a massive area of around 200 square miles.
The deepest point in Flathead Lake has a depth of 370 feet, and on average, the depth remains at 160 feet. The maximum depth of the lake is much more than several other lakes present in the United States.
The lake’s overall view is quite bewildering, but the two highways are among Montana’s most aesthetically pleasing routes. On the west side of the lake lies Highway 93, and on the east side is route 35.
Flathead Lake has an amazing shoreline, and it expands to have 185 miles of shoreline. The lake’s aesthetics get confounding because of the presence of Salish mountain and Mission mountains on the western and eastern sides, respectively.
There are several islands present in the flathead lake, but the largest island is Wild Horse Island. The biggest island covers an area of over 2,000 acres.
Another popular island in the lake is Melita Island, which has an area of 65 acres, but it also has a mountain peak of 80 feet.
The two tributaries of the lake are Flathead and Swan River. The lake is the 79th largest freshwater lakes present in the world.
The overall weather in the regions gets quite pleasant because of the mountains and lakes. The pleasant weather promotes the harvest of cherries in the region.
There are several vineyards in Montana as well. You can come across a wide range of fruits and vegetable farms around the lake.
3. The Flatbed monster rumor (or controversy)
One of the most astonishing facts about Flatbed Lake is the rumor of a monster. There has always been a division between a group of believers who have faith in the existence of a lake monster and those who don’t.
According to Montana’s local folklore, the existence of a monster in the lake has been emphasized. A story has been described by the Salish and Kootenai tribes who resided on the island of Flathead Lake.
The tribe’s legends mention that one day while the people were passing by the lake during peak winters, two little girls claimed that they had seen an antler-like image within the frozen lake.
The girls approached the antlers assuming it to be of some animals’ belonging. They tried to take the antlers with them and started breaking the ice.
The antlers started trembling, and that scared the girls. The head of the monster started appearing that broke the ice. It is said that the girls had a special power, and they were successful in protecting themselves, but the majority of the tribe drowned.
This is mentioned as a reason why the people of that tribe are so few in number. The tribe didn’t move far away from the lake and still mentions the monster’s sight in the lake.
The monster is described as a giant eel that has a snake-like body. The size is quite enormous and believed to be around twenty to forty feet in length. Some people also claim that it has a similar appearance to the infamous Loch Ness Monster.
From the time of the tribal existence, the monster was spotted in 1889. A captain of the steamer witnessed this monster’s existence, and, along with him, hundred other passengers were the witness of this event.
During 1985 again, some reports were mentioned about the existence of the monster in the flathead lake. Since then, the monster is witnessed on an average once or twice a year.
1993 has been the year that witnessed the maximum appearances of the Flathead lake monster. In 1993 the sight of the monster was reported thirteen times!
There’s no solid proof of the monster’s existence, and that dilemma and fear excite people from far away. Many researchers and documentaries have been made about the existence of the Flathead lake monster.
4. Fun Things to do!
After visiting Flatbed Lake in Montana, you have to do some fun activities. For your ease, we have mentioned some of the best recreational activities enjoyed by the tourists.
Fishing is one of the most enjoyable activities of the lake. Locals and tourists alike are spotted fishing and relaxing near the lake. Remember to keep your fishing license handy; if you haven’t brought it, then purchase a tribal recreational permit.
During the peak seasons, fishing access near the shallow area of the lakes becomes easy. There are several areas where fishes are present in abundance.
There are lots of trout fish present in the lake, and even some big trout fishes are also there. The chances of spotting whitefish, kokanee salmon, and lots of other varieties are high. There is a rare sight of white sturgeons, which has remained a debate for the lake’s regular fishers.
There is a catch and release rule in the lake, which is implemented by Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks’s authority. The rules mention that if you catch a rare or restricted fish species from the lake, you can release it.
Another relaxing recreational activity that can be enjoyed near the lake is swimming. The depth of the lake is over 300 feet, which can be a dangerous fact for beginners.
You can try swimming near the shoreline of the lakes. Or you can visit Salish Point on the southern side of the lake; there is an open swimming area in Polson city.
Come prepared for swimming as the water remains cold most of the time, and bring your suits along. There are also rental shops present near the beach.
3. Kayaking and boat rentals
Kayaking is one of the best activities to be done in Flathead Lake. Kayak rentals are easily spotted near the lake and are available on an hourly, daily, and weekly basis.
Flathead marine trail is the most suitable location for kayaking in the lake. There are several types of trails for kayaking, and having a map would be the best step towards a wonderful experience.
The trails have different difficulty levels and are suitable for beginners and experts as well. Another thing to enjoy in the lake is boat rides; you can rent a boat for the exploration of the lake.
4. Hiking and Camping
Hiking is one of the best recreational activities to be done near Flathead lake. For beginners, it is a suitable hiking trail. There are several hiking trails near the lake.
After the exploration of the beautiful places and walking for miles, camping is the best thing that can be done. Camping near the lake will take you through another level of experience.
The camping ground at Bigfork is the most recommended places near the lake. Both tents and camping vans can be parked on the site.
Yellow Bay State Park and Montana National Park are a few other camping locations that have beautiful views as well. The national parks are laden with fun activities that are extensively enjoyed by tourists.
Horseback riding is one of the most fun-filled activities to be done near the lake. The horseback riding is guided by the expert and will take around two hours in total exploration.
Kalispell’s journey begins; it is one of the fancy and comfortable ways of exploring the lake in a controlled environment.
6. Farmers market
Farmer’s market is a must-visit; you will get exposure to the local and fresh products. There are several fruits and vegetable stalls present on the eastern shore of the lake.
The farmers’ market’s best feature is that you can visit the farms and handpick fruits from your own choice. The most popular fruits of the region are cherries.
The cherries are bigger and sweeter, which makes them iconic and most loved items of the region. During the peak season of cherries, you can get hands-on experience of picking cherries directly from the farm.
There are a plethora of other things to try and explore around Flathead Lake in Montana.
These were a few astonishing facts about Flathead Lake. The lake is known for its serene beauty and the sea monster.
A lake is a mystery for the locals and tourists as well. The monster and its existence have remained a mystery for those who haven’t witnessed anything weird around the lake.
Those who have witnessed the presence of a terrifying sea monster has a different story to tell. The confederation of Salish and Kootenai have a strong belief in the existence of the monster.
A lot of researchers and marine experts visit the lake with the hope of witnessing or providing proof of the existence of the sea monster found in Flathead Lake.
The number of tribal people is low in the Woods Bay area, but their stories are worth listening to. The Flathead Valley is one pristine beauty of Montana, which has hidden treasures inside it.
Despite all the rumors and controversies, the pristine beauty of the lake is worth exploring and appreciating.