My First Visit to Arod Lakes

The first lake at Arod Lakes NE of Choteau, Montana

I had heard about Arod Lakes for several years and always planned to stop by when I was in or near the Choteau area. Well, it finally happened when I was taking a short-cut from I-15 near Collins and heading west to Fairfield. After taking a wrong turn I saw a sign for Arod Lakes.

The month of May in Central Montana has been a bit wet – snowmelt and rain have all contributed to beautiful green grass, amazing wildflowers and muddy roads.

The muddy roads had me a bit worried when I turned off the main gravel road into Arod Lakes but I kept going. I had to cross a little water (my trusty Ford Edge got me through) and then on to a sparsely graveled road. At that point I couldn’t figure out why the area was called Arod Lakes because I could only see one body of water. As I drove further though, two more lakes (named Middle and Round) appeared and one was absolutely covered with American White Pelicans. It was then that I remembered seeing an article about the Upper Missouri Audubon Club taking an outing to this area to view “an amazing number of pelicans”.

American White Pelicans on the shore at Arod Lakes.

The pelicans were on a distant lake and I didn’t get the best photo but you can see that the edge of the lake’s shore is basically white with all of the birds. After some research I found out that Arod Lakes has waterfowl, ring-necked pheasants, gray partridge and this bounty of pelicans. It is a waterfowl production area and the primary management goal is to be an area for breeding birds and to provide migration habitat. Grain fields surround Arod Lakes so there would be good food sources for birds.

Arod Lakes is also a fishing access site (you can fish year round) and overnight camping is allowed. While I was taking in the sights and watching the pelicans, a pickup drove up to the first lake and two guys got their fishing gear out and started fishing.

Fisherman at Arod Lakes with a beautiful view of the Rocky Mountain Front.

I didn’t stay long enough to find out if they caught anything but they looked like they knew what they were doing.

After I left the area I discovered I was about 15 miles from Choteau. A lunch stop was calling my name when I got to Choteau and all during lunch I was feeling proud of myself for taking some unknown roads, some that weren’t in the best shape, and finding something new in Central Montana.

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