Plan Your Visit

Large brown unit sign for Sandsmark Waterfowl Production Area next to green and white WPA sign depicting family of ducks posted on fence at parking area with snowcapped Mission Mountains as a backdrop.  NBR photo.

Please take advantage of the outstanding wildlife-dependent recreational opportunities available on the Lake County units of the Northwest Montana Wildlife Management District (WMD). Nine Waterfowl Production Areas (WPAs) are open for hunting, fishing, wildlife observation, photography, and environmental education. Hiking, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing are also permitted on the WPAs, but please be mindful of regulations and comply with all posted signs.


To report a violation on the Wetland Management District, call:

• Headquarters at 406-644-2211 Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

• Lake County Dispatch at 406-883-7301 after hours or on weekends.

• EMERGENCIES - 911

Other inquiries can be directed to staff stationed at the National Bison Range. Click here for contact information. 


Directions 

The nine Lake County WPAs are located throughout the Mission Valley south of the town of Ronan, MT and north of the National Bison Range, intermixed among a variety of State, Tribal and private lands. Follow the link to a 1.27 MB .pdf map, showing roads and locations of the different units. 

For information about the Flathead County Units of the NW Montana WMD, click the link to visit their website. 

Weather Conditions:  

The portion of the Flathead Valley in which the Range is located has a micro-climate usually characterized by relatively mild winter temperatures and little wind. Snow cover melts quickly at lower elevations. Summer temperatures seldom exceed 100 degrees Fahrenheit and because of low humidity, nights can be fairly cool. Freezing conditions generally occur from late November through March. Precipitation averages about 15 inches annually. Low precipitation along with summer thunderstorms can lead to naturally occurring wildfires. 

General Rules  

The WPAs, including the use of the parking areas, are not open to overnight use. All personal property must be removed by 1 hour after sunset.  No motorized vehicle travel is allowed. Follow link to the Rules and Regulations page. 

Bird Hunting and Fishing is permitted on all Lake County WPAs in accordance with the Flathead Indian Regulations of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes and the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks. Please be aware that all hunting is prohibited on Ninepipe National Wildlife Refuge but is allowed on the Ninepipes Wildlife Management Area (State). For more information and details about hunting, follow the link to the Hunting Page. 

Local amenities  

There are no amenities or facilities of any kind at any of the WPAs, including no drinkable water or toilets. However, the towns of Charlo and Ronan are close by and have gasoline, restaurants, grocery stores and basic supplies. 

The closest lodging and camping are available in the nearby communities Ronan and St. Ignatius. For an extensive list of state-wide accommodations, check out the official state Travel Site of Montana.