Fort Peck Lake
Fort Peck Lake is the largest lake in Montana. It was created by the building of Fort Peck Dam, which finished construction in 1940. The dam itself is the largest earth-filled dam in the world, and measures 21,026 feet in length with a maximum height of 250.5 feet. Fort Peck Lake is 134 miles long, has 1520 miles of shoreline, and has a maximum depth of 220 feet. The entire lake also lies within the massive Charles M. Russell Wildlife Refuge.
Fort Peck Dam is located in the small town of Fort Peck, Montana. Fort Peck Dam was authorized in 1933, as part of the public building boom that occurred during the Great Depression years. During the construction phase, the town of Fort Peck was a bona fide boom town, as thousands of workers were involved in creating the dam. Additionally, not only did they build this huge dam, they also built a recreation area around the dam. This recreation area consists of several nice campgrounds, some smaller ponds, day use areas, and interpretative sites.
Fort Peck Lake is located in one of the remotest area of Montana. Glasgow is the nearest major town to Fort Peck Dam and the small town of Fort Peck. But beyond the dam itself, huge expanses of the shoreline of Fort Peck Lake is located in, quite simply, the absolute middle of no-where. Yet, at the same time, that isolation on Fort Peck Lake is what makes it such a neat place to visit. Numerous back roads head off into the wilds of the area, allowing the truly adventurous travelers to see some really remote and seldom visited areas of Montana.
Trees are in very short supply around Fort Peck Lake. Indeed, except for a very tiny part of the lakes shoreline (one of my "secret" camp sites that shall remain nameless), the lake itself virtually is treeless once you step away from the town of Fort Peck and the various developments around the dam. Instead of trees, the terrain consists of grassy hills, bluffs and buttes.
Fort Peck Lake is known throughout Montana for its walleye fishing. Each year the Governors Cup is held at Fort Peck Lake, which attracts anglers from all over the place in search of large walleye. To fish Fort Peck Lake really requires a boat, preferably once with a powerful motor. A powerful motor and stable boat is needed on the lake not only because the lake is so large but also because the lake can be, at times, very windy. The wind can create some very sizable waves on the lake at times waves which are large enough to capsize smaller boats.
The lake boasts a large variety of fish.
Smallmouth bass, walleye, sauger, northern pike, freshwater drum, channel catfish, lake trout, ling, perch or crappie may appear at the end of any cast.
Fort Peck is the source of the world record Saugeye and Sauger as well as the state record Walleye and Smallmouth Bass.
Fish taken during ice fishing season are usually at their heaviest as they are preparing to spawn. The same fish after the spawn will not weigh as much. Lake trout fishing is usually very good right after ice out, when they can be caught on deep diving crankbaits.