The Pablo National Wildlife Refuge is located on tribal trust lands of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes. It is superimposed on the irrigation reservoir managed by the Bureau of Indian Affairs Flathead Irrigation Project. Pablo National Wildlife Refuge is 2,500 acres of water, marsh, and upland grassland. The refuge provides nesting and resting areas for migratory birds and other wildlife. Shaped by glacial activity approximately 12,000 years ago, the terrain surrounding Pablo NWR is rolling and interspersed with many pothole wetlands.
Fishing is permitted on Pablo NWR in accordance with applicable State, Federal, and Tribal regulations. Yellow perch and largemouth bass are caught at Pablo NWR. Ice fishing is permitted after the waterfowl hunting season has ended and the refuge reopens.
Pablo National Wildlife Refuge
Photography and wildlife observation are encouraged. Waterfowl numbers vary throughout the year. There may be as many as 80,000 birds in October and November, and half that number in late March and through early May. Pablo National Wildlife Refuge is located approximately 75 miles north of Missoula and 3 miles south of Polson. Turn west on Reservoir Road 3 miles south of Polson. Travel west 1-1/2 miles to the Pablo NWR entrance. The dike road is open for travel during daylight hours through the summer. There are several county roads bordering the Refuge.
The refuge is closed to hunting. Adjoining State-owned lands are managed by the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks for wildlife cover, food production, and public hunting. These lands are open to hunting on a first-come-first served basis for waterfowl and pheasant shooting. The closure of Pablo NWR enhances the quality of hunting in the Mission Valley.
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