Visitor Activities

People fish along the rocky embankment of the still and reflecting reservoir.  Photo by Steve Hillebrand, USFWS

Visitors are encouraged to observe or photograph wildlife, fish, hike, cross-country ski, snowshoe, or ice skate in designated areas when the Refuge is open.  

  • 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.

  • Fishing

    A silvery yellow largemouth bass, with its orange eye, swims through murky water.  Photo by Eric Engbretson, USFWS

    Sportfish in the reservoir include yellow perch and largemouth bass. In order to protect migratory birds, the Refuge has prohibited the use lead sinkers or lead-based lures. Casting and wading are the only means to fish the open water as flotation devices and boats are not allowed on the reservoir. Anglers are restricted from accessing the west and south shores of the Refuge to provide for a Migratory Bird Sanctuary. During ice fishing season, be aware of areas which are closed, including areas on the ice. The entire refuge is closed to all public use during waterfowl season, which is typically late September to early January.

    In accordance with State law and the Joint State/Tribal Agreement, anglers must possess a joint Flathead Reservation Use and Conservation Permit and Fishing Stamp. For limits, seasons and other regulations, refer to the Flathead Indian Reservation Fishing Regulations

  • Birding

    A vivid male yellow warbler, with faint orange stripes on his chest, perches in a bush.  Photo by Tom Tetzner, USFWS

    Established in 1921 to function as a “refuge and breeding grounds for native birds” (Executive Order 3503), Pablo National Wildlife Refuge lives up to its purpose by providing habitat for close to 200 species of birds. The Refuge supports an abundance of species and offers remarkable birding opportunities. Follow the link to the Birding Page for details about birdwatching at Pablo NWR. 

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  • Wildlife and Nature Photography

    Two photographers, with long lensed cameras on sturdy tripods, are set up for getting some good pictures.  Photo by Steve Hillebrand, USFWS

    Pablo National Wildlife Refuge 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 Refuge, so restrain from disturbing wildlife. Do no use electronic or game calls, including elk and bird calls, which can cause stress on animals as well as disrupt opportunities for other visitors. 

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  • Hunting

    Flock resting.150x118 IN Vis Activities

    Pablo National Wildlife Refuge is closed to all hunting.

    The closure of Pablo NWR enhances the quality of hunting in the Mission Valley by providing a sanctuary which may keep more birds in the area for a longer period of time. Check with Montana State law and Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribal recreation regulations for information, regulations and licensing for hunting in Mission Valley.