Montana Call of the Wild Photography
Freezout Lake is located in Central Montana and is a major flyway for waterfowl migrating north. The last week of March is when the populations of Snow Geese reach peak numbers of up to 300,000 on the wildlife area on a single day. I just returned from a visit there for a day and a half and was mesmerized by the number of snow geese on Freezout Lake. As I approached the wildlife area the first thing I saw across the valley, from a couple miles away, was a wave of white moving above the lake. This is what I had came to see and I couldn't wait to get down by the lake to witness this up close. I found one of the many roads that run through the wildlife area and headed for the lake. When I reached an area full of parked cars I grabbed my photo gear and headed out down a gated road to where, off in the distance, I could see people along the shore line of Freezout Lake. After about a mile hike down the road and across the sagebrush covered landscape I arrived at the lake to see thousands of snow geese tightly clustered in the open pockets of water. The sky was alive with geese as they jockeyed for a place to land and strings of new arrivals continually dropped down from high above the valley floor. I learned from the local people more about the habits of the snow geese. The usual time they stay at Freezout is about 4-5 days. Freezout is a rest stop along there migration route to the northern regions of Canada and into Alaska. By the time they reach Freezout they have traveled over 1,800 miles from California and points south. They have an established daily routine of leaving the lake in the morning about 7am and flying east to the farm country where they feed for several hours before returning back to the lake about 11am. They stay on the lake until about 5pm and fly out again to the surrounding farmland to feed. They return back to the lake after dark and repeat this same pattern day after day. There are always eagles around the lake, and they are the major cause of the eruptions of geese off the water that are seen throughout the day. Quite often before I saw the geese taking off I would hear them. A tremendous roar would start in one part of the lake and a wave of white would quickly fill the sky. After several minutes of total chaos, with geese flying in every direction,they slowly start to return to the water. It is hard to describe the experience of Freezout Lake but if you can make the trip I highly recommend it.