Visitor Activities

Two hunters, one adult and one child with rifles, are silhouetted against a blazing orange sky.  Photo by Eugene Hester, USFWS

Accessibility Information  

Equal opportunity to participate in and benefit from programs and activities of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is available to all individuals regardless of physical or mental ability. Dial 711 for a free connection to the State relay service for TTY and voice calls to and from the speech and hearing impaired. For information or to address accessibility needs, please contact the Refuge staff at 406 / 644 2211, or the U.S. Department of the Interior, Office of Equal Opportunity, 1849 C Street, NW, Washington, D.C. 20240.

  • Hunting

    A black Labrador hunting dog retrieves a duck by holding it in its mouth.  Photo by Ryan Hagerty, USFWS.

    The Mission Valley has good opportunities for waterfowl hunting (ducks and geese) and upland game bird hunting (gray partridge and ring-necked pheasant). Hunting is an important wildlife management tool that we recognize as a healthy, traditional outdoor pastime, deeply rooted in America’s heritage. Hunting can instill a unique understanding and appreciate of wildlife, their behavior, and their habitat needs. 

    Because the Waterfowl Production Areas are intermixed among State and Tribal lands that are open for hunting and trapping as well as areas that are closed, you are responsible for know where you are and the particular rules and regulations for those areas. Details, along with rules and regulations can be found on the the hunting page.  Information about permits for hunting on the Flathead Indian Reservation can be found on the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribal website.

  • Fishing

     A young boy stands on edge of pond with rod and reel in hand and a small fish on the end of his line.  Photo by Bob MacKenzie, USFWS

    Fishing is allowed on the Waterfowl Production Areas in accordance with the Flathead Indian Reservation Fishing, Bird Hunting, and Recreation Regulations. One of the reasons the various WPAs were established was because of the many potholes and ponds scattered throughout the area. However, while providing excellent waterfowl habitat, they vary greatly in size, depth and duration, with some drying out completely during the summer or freezing solid during the winter. As such, fishing success varies accordingly and is typically not very good.

    All anglers must have in their immediate possession a Joint Flathead Reservation Use and Conservation Permit with a Bird Hunting Stamp or CSKT Tribal Identification Card. Permit vendors are listed in the regulations. Upon request of an authorized official, it is unlawful to refuse to exhibit the required State and/or Tribal license authorizing fishing.

    To protect waterfowl and other waterbirds which use the WPAs, the use of lead or lead-based lures or sinkers is prohibited.

  • Wildlife Viewing and Photography

    A pair of American bald eagles, with white head and tails, perch in a leafless cottonwood tree in winter.  Photo by Dave Fitzpatrick, Volunteer, USFWS

    Since the Waterfowl Productions Areas were established to promote waterfowl and water bird habitat, you can expect to find a great abundance and variety of birds. The grassy uplands provide habitat for even more birds as well as white-tail deer. Don’t forget to check out neighboring State and Tribal lands – birds don’t recognize boundaries and the large contiguous habitat is one of the reasons for the large variety of birds. The bird checklist for Ninepipe and Pablo National Wildlife Refuges will give you a good idea of the variety and abundance of bird life found in the Mission Valley. Check out the Birding Page for more details.

    The Wetland Management District provides incredible open vistas to photograph, with the added bonus of abundant bird activities such as feeding, flying and courtship. Please remember, you are visitors to the area, so restrain from disturbing wildlife. Do no use electronic or game calls, including bird calls, which can cause stress on animals as well as disrupt opportunities for other visitors.