The Missouri River of Southwest Montana
From its origin to Craig, the Missouri River stretches majestically across the eastern side of Southwest Montana. The crystal waters flow through lush river bottom farmland and willow clad banks before entering Montana's premier recreation valley - Canyon Ferry - at Townsend. Canyon Ferry Lake reaches for thirty two miles from Townsend to Helena before flowing through the Canyon Ferry Dam. The Missouri passes through two more reservoirs before it reaches the towering cliffs and twisting canyons of the Gates of the Mountains Wilderness. Past Craig, it flows into the prairie land of Northern and Eastern Montana, where it finally begins to earn the nickname the "Muddy Missouri." The carefully controlled flows of the three dams along this section of river create a stable environment bursting with aquatic life and fish, including record setting kokanee salmon in Hauser Lake. Although the shallow banks make for good wade fishing, the broad expanses of Canyon Ferry, Holter, and Hauser Lakes beg for boats. Fishermen, boaters and water skiers all flock to the Missouri in Montana's best recreation valley. From Lewis and Clark, who made multiple camps along its banks, to modern iceboaters, the Missouri captures the hearts of all who visit it.