Fishing at Swan River National Wildlife Refuge

A man waist deep in water holding a silver fish and his fishing rod

In addition to the conservation of wildlife and habitat, the National Wildlife Refuge System offers a wide variety of quality fishing opportunities. Fishing programs promote understanding and appreciation of natural resources and their management on all lands and waters in the Refuge System. Every year, about 7 million anglers visit national wildlife refuges, where knowledgeable staff and thousands of volunteers help them have a wonderful fishing experience.

Fishing is allowed per Montana State regulations on Swan Lake and Swan River. Fishing on the rest of the Refuge is only permitted on the portion of Spring Creek north of Bog Road Trail and only during the waterfowl hunting season. This is to avoid disturbing migratory bird nesting and brood rearing. Boating is allowed through the Refuge on Swan River, although this section of the river is a ”No-Wake Zone”.

Available species include yellow perch, northern pike, kokanee salmon, cutthroat trout, brook trout, bull trout and mountain whitefish. Bull trout are a federally listed species and must be released if caught. Fishing is allowed on Swan Lake and along those portions of Swan River that flow through the western portion of the refuge. Boating is allowed through the Refuge on Swan River. To protect nesting waterfowl and marsh birds, fishing is not allowed on Spring Creek March 1 - July 15.

Laws, rules, and regulations