Hungry Horse Dam Recreation

boating on Hungry Horse Reservoir

The area around Hungry Horse Dam and Reservoir offers excellent recreation opportunities. The Bureau of Reclamation works with federal, state, and local agencies to improve the four-season recreation area.

Each year thousands of visitors come to this area to take part in fishing, boating, camping, water skiing, snowmobiling, and hunting.

Cooperative efforts between Reclamation and the U.S. Forest Service demonstrate a commitment to maintaining this valuable resource for future generations.

Lake Levels through the Year

Flood Risk Management
From January through April the reservoir level is adjusted for Flood Risk Management space requirements. The amount of reservoir draft or space is predominantly dependent on winter snowpack and the resulting water supply forecasts for the upcoming spring runoff season. From May through June the reservoir is refilled. The rate of refill is based on the water supply forecast and the timing and magnitude of the spring runoff.

The objective of the FRM season is to provide enough space in the reservoir for system flood risk management operations in the lower Columbia River and also to provide local flood protection in the main stem Flathead River near Columbia Falls, Montana.

Storage and Limited Drawdown
Hungry Horse Reservoir is filled around June 30 depending on the timing and magnitude of the runoff. From July through September the reservoir is drafted to provide water to supplement flows in the lower Columbia River to aid juvenile salmonid migration. The magnitude of the draft is either to elevation 3550 feet or 3540 feet depending on the water supply forecast with the drier years requiring the deeper draft.

Flows from the reservoir are maintained year-round for instream flows to preserve fish habitat in the river below the dam by meeting minimum flow requirements below Hungry Horse Dam in the South Fork Flathead River and in the main stem Flathead River near Columbia Falls. Meeting these minimum flow requirements may draft the reservoir during the fall and winter depending on stream flows.

For more information about the area, please visit the following websites:
Flathead National Forest
Glacier National Park
Columbia Falls Area Chamber of Commerce
Lost Johnny Point Campground
Lid Creek Campground

Hungry Horse Field Office
PO Box 190130
Hungry Horse, MT 59919-0130

Last Updated: 4/29/22