State Proposes Public Access Site at Island Lake

By Beacon Staff

The state is seeking to develop a public access site near Island Lake between Kalispell and Libby that would enhance fishing and boating opportunities, according to Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks.

FWP is proposing to develop a section of property into a formal fishing access site with a developed gravel access road, a designated parking area, a single-wide concrete boat ramp, three or four designated campsites, a concrete vault latrine, informational and directional signs, fire rings and fencing. The parking area would accommodate six to eight vehicles with trailers. Camping would be allowed at the site in the designated areas only. A nightly camping fee of $7 would be charged as per the FAS Biennial Fee Rule that was adopted by the FWP Commission in 2013.

A current pioneered road and boat ramp would be redeveloped and made into a formal access site. The property would be managed under existing FWP public use regulations.

The state in 2000 acquired 37.7 acres of land on Island Lake for the purpose of providing public access and developing an access site. The site provides the only public access to Island Lake and is one of the only fishing access sites in the region, with the closest being Thompson Chain of Lakes over 15 miles south.

Island Lake sits roughly 35 miles west of Kalispell and 30 miles southwest of Libby and is surrounded by land formerly owned by Plum Creek Timber Co. Island Lake is popular for open-water fishing and ice fishing, as well as for weekend camping on the FAS and on private land along the west shore presently open for public use. Island Lake supports a warmwater fishery, with yellow perch, largemouth bass, and northern pike the primary game species found in the lake. Recent surveys conducted by FWP show that Island Lake has received significantly higher angler use in recent years. The area also provides recreational opportunities for hunting, wildlife viewing and picnicking.

The development of the access site would cost an estimated $65,000, according to FWP.

The proposal is out for a 30-day public review through May 11.

Copies of the draft are available at the FWP office, 490 N. Meridian Rd., Kalispell; Montana State Library, 1515 E 6th Ave., Helena; FWP State Headquarters, 1420 E 6th Ave., Helena; the FWP website under Public Notices; and available for viewing at local libraries.

Stay Connected with the Daily Roundup.

Sign up for our newsletter and get the best of the Beacon delivered every day to your inbox.