Frozen out at Freezout

Print Article

  • Tundra swans approach the ponds at dusk.

  • 1

    Tundra swans fly overhead.

  • 2

    Snow geese fly into Freezout Lake at dusk.

  • 3

    By the next morning the fog was thick as soup, and most of the snow geese were gone.

  • Tundra swans approach the ponds at dusk.

  • 1

    Tundra swans fly overhead.

  • 2

    Snow geese fly into Freezout Lake at dusk.

  • 3

    By the next morning the fog was thick as soup, and most of the snow geese were gone.

There’s a problem with Freezout Lake south of Choteau this year — most of the ponds in the complex are frozen. The state wildlife management area is popular with bird enthusiasts in March and early April because of the tens of thousands of snow geese and other waterfowl that stop at the complex en route to breeding grounds in Alaska and Canada.

But a cold wave in February and early March has virtually all the lakes still covered in ice.

Geese are stopping, but they aren’t staying a few days like they normally would, presumably because there’s not as much to eat. The geese feed both on the huge ponds at the management area and in the expansive grain fields that surround the complex.

There’s also fewer ducks and swans as well.

But numbers aside, a rather spectacular sunset recently made the trip worth it, as the sun knifed through the clouds along the Rocky Mountain Front, waterfowl came and went.

It’s always fun to have a flock of tundra swans hover right above your head — it sounds like a giant swarm of bees as their massive wings slice through the cool mountain breeze. But by the next morning thick fog rolled in and what few snow geese there were left.

If you go, the complex has plenty of road access and a few primitive campgrounds, which means they have pit toilets, but no running water. It’s about 160 miles from Columbia Falls to the wildlife management area. It took awhile for us to get home, however, as the next morning heavy snow was falling from Choteau to Marias Pass, with four to five inches of slush on the highway. Just another facet of spring in Montana.

Print Article

Read More Outdoors

Frozen Moose more than just logging, Forest Service says

February 19, 2020 at 8:51 am | Lake County Leader The Forest Service aims to accomplish much more than homeowner protection from wildfires through the Frozen Moose Project. That was the message presented by Glacier View/Hungry Horse District Ranger ...

Comments

Read More

2019 saw another 50-plus grizzly mortalities

February 12, 2020 at 7:08 am | Hungry Horse News For the second year in a row, 51 grizzly bear deaths were recorded across the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem in 2019. That ties 2018’s record. The No.1 cause of death in ‘19 was livestock dep...

Comments

Read More

FWP makes changes to 2020 licenses, will use regular paper

January 29, 2020 at 9:00 am | Lake County Leader Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks’ licensing process is becoming more digitally streamlined this year. Hunters and anglers can anticipate a few changes when they buy their 2020 licenses starting March...

Comments

Read More

FWP seeks volunteers to teach hunter ed

January 29, 2020 at 8:55 am | Hungry Horse News Montana’s hunting legacy depends on active, skilled and ethical hunters who pass on their traditions to new generations and Montana needs more volunteer instructors, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks ...

Comments

Read More

Contact Us

(406) 892-2151
PO BOX 189, 926 Nucleus Avenue
Columbia Falls, MT 59912

©2020 Hungry Horse News Terms of Use Privacy Policy
X
X