Ackley lake fishing

Ackley lake fishing DEFAULT
Ackley Lake

Photo courtesy of


First of all, a confession.

I had never been to Ackley Lake State Park until last night. When you realize it is only 7 miles off the highway from Hobson, MT it’s hard to believe I haven’t gone before.

It was about 5:30pm last night when I was almost to Hobson coming home from a day of work in Lewistown.

I had recently visited with the new Region 4 State Park manager and made a comment that I had been to all of the state parks in Central Montana except Ackley Lake. He asked why and I couldn’t come up with a reason. At that point I decided I was going to get there!

Well, seven short and scenic miles later I pulled in to a parking area at Ackley Lake State Park.

I saw a pickup parked there, then I glanced to the south and saw three campers. Perhaps I would have someone to take a photo of instead of just some scenic shots.

Two fishermen were casting from the shore and I started visiting with them. In a matter of 15 minutes it seemed like fish started jumping all over in the lake – in the middle, not too far from shore, truly all over! My new fishing buddies were excited and trying to cast where they saw the last fish jump.

One of the fishermen told me he was 84 years old and had recently had rotator cuff surgery. He told me he could certainly be doing better if it hadn’t been for that darn surgery!

There were a couple of tugs on the line, a couple of fish got away.

Then, one was hooked! We all got just a little excited as the other fisherman did some well controlled reeling in, giving the fish a little line, then bringing him in bit by bit. This guy definitely knew what he was doing.

Another fisherman was in a tube where he could paddle and fish out in the middle. He caught a fish too and the excitement was contagious.

I watched as the first fish caught was weighed and measured. It was a rainbow trout and was 16.5 inches long.

I was impressed!

Before I left Ackley Lake I walked around a bit. Campers were enjoying the great fall weather, it was so quiet you could hear a fish jump, and I was soaking up the serenity and beauty.

Ackley Lake State Park isn’t large but what a perfect setting for fishing, motorboating or camping. And, the access is incredibly convenient.

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Alerts & Closures

Stage I Fire Restrictions for Judith Basin County in the Lewistown Fire Restriction Area.  The following acts are prohibited until further notice:

  1. Building, maintaining, attending, or using a fire or campfire,
  2. Smoking, except within an enclosed vehicle or building, a developed recreation site or while stopped in an area at least three feet in diameter that is barren or cleared of all flammable materials.

About the Park

Ackley Lake is nestled right in the heart of Montana's Big Sky Country. One glimpse and you'll easily understand how the beautiful views of the surrounding Little Belt and Snowy Mountains and rich agricultural land captured the heart of the legendary Western artist, Charlie Russell, a hundred years ago.

Today, the diverse recreation opportunities at this 290-acre park include fishing, boating, swimming, birdwatching, picnicking, and camping. Stocked with rainbow trout and tiger muskie, the lake often provides good angling. Ackley Lake has 26 first-come first-served, rustic (no electricity, water or dump services) campsites and two boat launches. 

On a warm summer day, enjoy the cool waters of Ackley Lake on Montana's open plains!


  • Bird Watching
  • Boating
  • Camping
  • Fishing
  • Ice Fishing
  • Lake Fishing
  • Photography
  • Picnicking
  • RV Camping
  • Swimming
  • Tent Camping
  • Water Skiing
  • Wildlife Viewing


Some amenities are seasonal. Check with the park for availability.

  • Boat Launch
  • Campsite
  • Dock
  • Established Fire Pits
  • Grills/Fire Rings
  • Pets Allowed
  • Picnic Shelter
  • Pack-in/Pack-out
  • Toilets (Vault)

Seasons & Hours

Hours listed below are normal operating hours and may not apply when there is a special restriction or closure. Check Alerts and Closures in the tab below.

Open all year

Open year-round
Potable water
No potable water available

Park Rules


Contact Park Manager, Alex Sholes for information on current volunteer opportunities:

Mailing Address:
Ackley Lake State Park
c/o FWP Region 4 Headquarters
4600 Giant Springs Rd
Great Falls, MT 59405

Phone: 406-727-1212
Email: [email protected]

For complete position descriptions, application forms, and details about Montana State Parks volunteer programs, visit the Volunteers page.


Montana Residents

  • Day use entrance is free*



  • Day use entrance fee with a vehicle: $8
  • Day use entrance fee as a walk-in, bicycle or bus passenger: $4
  • With a Nonresident Entrance Pass: Free


Campsite Fees

  • Campsite fees range from $4-$34 per night, depending on season and available amenities.

Ackley Lake has 26 first-come first-served, rustic (no electricity, water or dump services) campsites.


* Montana residents who pay the $9 state parks fee with their annual vehicle registration have no daily entrance fees to state parks. For residents who don't include this in their vehicle registration, non-resident day use fees apply.

Contact Information

Mailing Address:
Ackley Lake State Park
c/o FWP Region 4 Headquarters
4600 Giant Springs Rd
Great Falls, MT 59405

Phone: 406-727-1212
Email: [email protected]

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