Swan Lakers is devoted to preserving and improving the water quality and natural, cultural, and historical resources of Swan Lake, Montana; including its headwaters, its drainages, and appurtenant lands.

Established as a non-profit 501(c) (3) in 2005, Swan Lakers is a group of friends and neighbors who value the unique character and quality of our community, much of which is based on the pristine nature of the Swan Basin watershed.  Our efforts to preserve and protect this valuable resource include Water Quality Studies, Aquatic Invasive Species Inspections, the Adopt-a-Highway MDOT program, and Swan River Cleanups.  Our organization serves members and the greater community by providing the data, discussion and educational material necessary to make informed decisions regarding issues that affect the watershed’s present and future well being.  Through collaborative efforts with other community organizations and government entities, we work to build a consensus that allows all those who appreciate our special home, residents and visitors alike, the opportunity to maintain the quality of life we all enjoy.  Participation from all who share the Swan Lakers vision is encouraged.  Photos for Banner by Kay Bjork

2018 Annual Meeting and Appreciation Party will be held on Sunday, August 5th…please join us!

SL's 2014 Meeting/Party

Our guest speaker will be Rob Bundy, FWP Project Manager of the Swan River National Wildlife Refuge, south of Swan Lake.  He will tell us about upcoming plans to restore the Refuge to its original state and the effects it may have to the lake.


Swan River National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) was acquired by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 1973 to be managed for the benefit of migratory birds. This 1,568 acre Refuge is part of the Benton Lake National Wildlife Refuge Complex and is administered by the Refuge staff at Benton Lake NWR located just north of Great Falls, Montana.

Nestled between the Swan Mountains to the east and the Mission Mountains to the west, the Refuge lies south of Swan Lake, within the Swan River flood plain. The Swan River valley was formed when glacial ice poured down the steep slopes of the Mission Range into Swan Lake.  The valley floor is generally flat but rises steeply to adjacent forested mountain sides.   Swan River once meandered widely through the floodplain, but silt deposits gradually forced the river to flow along the west side of the valley, leaving a series of oxbow sloughs within the Refuge floodplain.

Approximately 1,254 acres of the Refuge consists of wetland/grassland habitat.  Dense stands of reed canary grass are mixed with native reeds and sedges.  Every spring, when snowpack begins to melt, run-off from Bond Creek, Yew Creek, and Spring Creek merge with the inundated Swan River and Swan Lake to flood large portions of the Refuge. The remaining Refuge acreage consists of forested uplands dominated by old growth fir, spruce, cedar, and larch.  In places, large cottonwood trees shade the banks of the Swan River.

Emergency Closure along Swan River!

Kalispell, MT — An emergency closure is in effect along a section of the Swan River near the Montana Highway 209 bridge in Ferndale due to hazards in the water.

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks adopted the emergency closure Friday, June 29. The Swan River is temporarily closed to boating and floating from the Swan River Fishing Access Site off South Ferndale Road to the Highway 209 Bridge in Ferndale. The closure will remain in effect for 120 days or less if the river is deemed safe for recreation. Advisory signs are being posted at area access sites. Fishing from the shore remains possible.

The Highway 209 bridge on the Swan River is under construction and a temporary bridge currently exists. The temporary bridge has unique abutments that combined with high-water levels is catching debris and creating swirling waves. Several accidents have already occurred under the bridge. Previous attempts at mitigating hazards, including news releases, social media notifications, signage and navigational buoys, have proven ineffective.

With the peak water recreation season approaching, officials believe that more accidents and capsizing could likely occur under the temporary bridge. Persons recreating under the bridge are at risk of injury or drowning due to dangerous conditions. Portaging around the bridge is not possible, but boaters can launch on the Swan River just north of the bridge. Please follow legal parking requirements and stay a safe distance away from construction work.

FWP adopted the emergency closure in collaboration with the Montana Department of Transportation, Sletten Construction and in consultation with

AIS Training was held on June 16th, please volunteer to become an inspector.

This summer our organization will again be inspecting watercraft in order to prevent the introduction of Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) into Swan Lake.  We will be inspecting boats intending to launch at the Swan Lake boat ramp, at the south end of the lake.  Our inspections will occur every Sunday, beginning July 1, and every Wednesday beginning July 4.

See attached schedule and let us know if you can volunteer to fill in some empty spots…thanks!


 Aquatic Invasive Species - With regard to AIS, their spread is a growing problem across the United States and Canada. AIS that threaten Montana include Quaga and Zebra mussels, Curly Leaf Pondweed and Eurasian Millfoil.  Unfortunately, Quaga and Zebra mussels have been found in Montana this past year. Their presence in our state is proof of how easily they can be moved from place to place on trailered watercraft.  The introduction of these mussels would be a catastrophe for Montana’s waterways in terms of appearance and the effect on fishing. They reproduce rapidly in the millions fouling shorelines, clinging to structures like pilings, and clogging irrigation systems. They are filter feeders that interrupt the food chain that supports our fish populations. They can literally destroy a fishery.

The Swan Lakers carry out inspections of watercraft to screen for the presence of AIS. Please see the section of our website, “Get Involved and Volunteer”, and join us in protecting Swan Lake and its watershed. More information is available from the Flathead Basin Commission: http://www.flatheadbasincommission.org/chd_sec3pg2.asp

We had a great turnout for our Spring Highway Cleanup, many thanks to the 18 people that participated.  It was a cool morning, but the sun actually peeked out.


Walleye Illegally Moved into Swan Lake:  http://flatheadbeacon.com/2017/12/08/fish-detectives-pursue-illegal-walleye-case/

Swan Lake Map – We have for sale a map that displays Swan Lake and it’s surrounding mountains.  The map displays the depth contours of Swan Lake and identifies the names of various features around the lake.  It was produced by the Flathead Lake Biological Station and is similar to those also made for Flathead Lake and Whitefish Lake.  All revenue will be applied to support the Swan Lakers’ monitoring and conservation efforts.   The poster is 24″ x 18″ and the cost per poster is $20, shipping and handling included.  If you are interesed in purchasing a map, please email info@swanlakers.org



Our Swan Lakers 2017 Annual Meeting and Appreciation Party was a great success and  lots of fun!2017_Swanlakers.party2 2017_Swanlakers.party3 2017_Swanlakers.party4 2017_Swanlakers.party5 2017_Swanlakers.party6 2017_Swanlakers

Swan River Gauging Station Click on link below for up to date data.


Gauging Station May 28