Freezout Lake Wildlife Management Area

Freezout Lake Wildlife Management Area

Fairfield, Montana

Official Website
Freezout Lake WMA Story Map

Tips for Birding

Freezout Lake Wildlife Management Area (WMA) covers a large area on the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains and can experience diverse weather, even in Summer. Mornings are often cool and afternoons warm. Most of the WMA can be accessed by car along unpaved roads, although some sections of road, particularly on the Western side of the area, become impassable after periods of heavy precipitation which can occur during afternoon thunderstorms. Do not park on or along the shoulder of Highway 89, please use established pullouts and parking areas.

The majority of birding is done from within or close to vehicles, with the exception of several dikes that can be walked. When walking dikes be cautious of Prairie Rattlesnakes.

Spotting scopes are highly beneficial as the WMA offers expansive, unobstructed views of open water, wetlands, and upland habitats.

It is most helpful when submitting eBird observations at Freezout Lake WMA to start a new checklist for each hotspot within the wildlife area. Use the general hotspot when you have a checklist that includes multiple locations or there was not a hotspot or personal location appropriate for your sightings.

Birds of Interest

Freezout Lake WMA is most famous for the spectacle offered by Snow Geese as they migrate North in the Spring, usually peaking in late March. Flocks often exceed 50,000 birds and contain Snow and Ross's Geese. Trumpeter and Tundra Swans are present at this time as well, along with many species of waterfowl. The WMA offers excellent opportunities to observe large numbers of shorebirds of diverse species during Spring and Fall migration and hosts breeding populations of American Bittern, Black-crowned Night Heron, Black Tern, and many others. In 2022 a single Whooping Crane was well documented throughout the Summer season.

About this Location

Located between the towns of Choteau and Fairfield, Freezout Lake Wildlife Management Area offers a unique setting to observe both migratory and breeding bird species, with spectacular views of the Rocky Mountains to the West and the high plains to the East as a backdrop.

Within Freezout Lake's 12,000+ acres are Freezout Lake, Priest Butte Lakes, and a number of interconnecting ponds and a series of ditches and dikes constructed to control water levels. The area is managed to ensure year-round use to varying degrees by waterfowl, upland game birds, marsh-dwelling birds, and other species of wildlife that inhabit wetland areas. Efforts to maintain and manage a diversity of wetland and upland bird habitats and associated vegetation have made Freezout Lake WMA a delight for birders!


  • Restrooms on site

Content from Official Website and Freezout Lake WMA Story Map

Last updated October 17, 2023

From Freezout Lake WMA Story Map