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Swan Land Properties
Productive Farm with Great Trout Fishing
Gallatin County


  • Willow Creek, Montana

  • 768 Deeded

  • $4,400,000

Located about 45 minutes west of Bozeman near the quiet town of Willow Creek, Willow Creek Farm is comprised of about 768± deeded blocked-up acres of which 392± acres are under center-pivot irrigation generating about three and a half tons off of one cutting. The 1920s farmhouse, barn, shop, and corrals were completely renovated and refurbished in 2014 and 2015. Pride of ownership is evident throughout the Farm – there does not appear to be any deferred maintenance projects that could burden a new owner. The majority of the perimeter fencing has been removed and replaced with new fencing. The Farm offers a unique opportunity in the burgeoning Gallatin Valley to own a solid low-overhead agricultural property with strong senior water rights.
Willow Creek, a relatively unknown stream discovered in recent years by a handful of knowledgeable fly-fishing enthusiasts, serpentines through this productive unit for about 1.75 miles. This private tail-water stream out of Harrison Reservoir provides one of the Gallatin Valley’s premier private trout fisheries. In addition to the active dry-fly fishing, the streamer fishing in the spring and fall when hungry brown and rainbow trout are feeding insatiably will provide its next owner years of personal enjoyment. This tremendous small-stream fishery also provides quality waterfowl and upland game bird habitat. The consistent soil profile, plentiful water resources, and longer growing seasons afford numerous options for additional habitat enhancement projects.
Located in Gallatin County, Willow Creek Farm is approximately 2.5 miles south of the small town of Willow Creek, Montana, nine miles south of Three Forks, and just 45 minutes from the amenities and services of Montana’s dynamic city of Bozeman.
From Bozeman drive west on Interstate 90 for approximately 28 miles to Exit 278 onto MT Highway 2. Turn left onto Talc Road which turns into Old Yellowstone Trail and for nine miles to the town of Willow Creek. Turn left onto Main Street, proceed through town, continue on Old Yellowstone Trail for about two miles, and turn left onto Breeze Way Road to the entrance of the Farm.
The quaint town of Willow Creek is steeped in history. The renowned Willow Creek Café and Saloon, which was established around 1910, is still the vitality of the town. The school, also built around 1910, currently has an enrollment of about 70 students and maintains a Class C status in athletics. Its football field and track offer a beautiful view of the Tobacco Root Mountains. The town is home to many artists and galleries and hosts a monthly arts festival during the summer month. The town provided the setting for the bestselling novel by Stanley Gordon West, Blind Your Ponies.
Three Forks, which is about nine miles north of the Farm, offers a grocery store, and several restaurants including the Land of Magic Steakhouse and Pompey’s Grill at the Sacajawea Hotel.
Bozeman is a vibrant and active university-oriented city steeped in culture and art. Bozeman is proud to maintain its small-town feeling with big-city amenities. It is home to Montana State University, the Museum of the Rockies, the Bozeman Symphony, and the Montana Ballet. Bozeman, the fourth-largest city in the state, offers abundant fine dining, lodging, entertainment venues, and shopping opportunities. It is a scenic hour-and-a-half drive to either the north or west entrance of Yellowstone National Park.
Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport (BZN) at Gallatin Field in Belgrade is about a 40-minute drive from the Farm. Recently expanded, Gallatin Field offers several full-service FBOs and excellent commercial services through Alaska Airlines, Allegiant, American Airlines, Delta, Frontier Airlines, JetBlue Airways, and United Airlines. One of the busiest passenger airports in the Pacific Northwest, BZN currently offers direct flights to sixteen major airports around the nation.

Approximate distances to other Montana cities and points of interest:
Willow Creek
Three Forks
Big Sky Resort

2.5 miles
9 miles
20 miles
30 miles
40 miles
73 miles
75 miles
183 miles

The Farm elevation ranges between 4,240 and 4,350 feet above sea level with the improvements located around 4,250 feet.
The precipitation averages around 11.86 inches per year. The growing season is approximately 112 days starting with frost free days that typically start around the end of May and end in the latter part of September.
Summer day-time average temperatures range from 74 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit June through September, dropping to about 41 to 52 degrees in the evening. Winter day-time temperatures average around 34 to 40 degrees with evening temperatures dipping from 12 to 17 degrees.

The real estate taxes for 2017 were approximately $11,300.

The Seller hereby makes known that there may be variations between the deeded property lines and the location of the existing fence boundary lines on the Property. The Seller makes no warranties with regard to the location of the fence lines in relationship to the deeded property lines, nor does the Seller make any warranties or representations with regard to specific acreage within the fenced property lines.
The Seller is selling Willow Creek Farm in its “as is-where is” condition which includes the location of the fences as they now exist. Boundaries shown on any accompanying maps are approximate. The maps are not to scale and are for visual aid only. The accuracy of the maps and information portrayed thereon is not guaranteed nor warranted.

Electricity is provided by NorthWestern Energy. Gas is provided by Northwest Propane. The telephone provider is Three Rivers Communication and internet is through Madison River.

The Seller will convey with the Farm 100% of whatever mineral, oil, gas, geo-thermal, hydrocarbon and gravel rights which they actually own, subject to reservations by previous owners. The Seller makes no representation as to the quantity or quality of any mineral or other subsurface rights appurtenant to the Farm.

Willow Creek Farm does not have a conservation easement in place. It is the responsibility of the buyer to determine if a conservation easement is beneficial for their situation.

Willow Creek Farm contains approximately 768± deeded acres classified as follows:
Deeded Acreage

• 392± Pivot Irrigated Acres
• 198± Native Pasture
• 50± Wheel Line Irrigated Acres
• 38± Improved Pasture Acres in Sainfoin and crested wheat
• 80± Willow Creek and Riparian Acres
• 10± Under Improvements

The four pivots on the Farm are all Valley 8000 Series systems with C.A.M.S. Select panels. Historically, the Farm has been able to run all four systems at the same time throughout the growing season and well into the fall season. It requires about 350 inches of water to run all four pivots simultaneously.
Average yields on the irrigated acres have historically been 3.5 tons per acre on one annual cutting of hay. During the balance of the summer, these fields are used for grazing cattle. Livestock water is provided by fenced water gaps to Willow Creek. The pasture to the far east is serviced by a stock tank on a well with an electric pump.
Willow Creek Farm has four contracts for water with the Willow Creek Water Users Association allowing it to use stored water from Willow Creek Reservoir. Willow Creek Dam is in Madison County, 3.5 miles east of Harrison, Montana. It is owned by DNRC, and operated by the Willow Creek Water Users Association. It impounds Willow Creek, Norwegian Creek, and Dry Hollow Creek and the reservoir has a storage capacity of 18,000 AF.

All improvements on the Farm, including interior and perimeter fencing, appear to be in excellent condition. They are functional so the next owner will not have to assume heavy deferred maintenance expenses.


The home, originally built in the 1920s, was totally remodeled in 2014 and 2015. Built with brick construction and a corrugated steel roof, the three-story home has two bedrooms upstairs with a full bathroom. The main floor contains the master bedroom, full bathroom, kitchen, living room, and dining room. The basement is fully finished with a bedroom and a 3/4 bathroom with a shower. The majority of the home has the original refinished hardwood floors, carpet in the basement, and commercial linoleum in the kitchen and utility room. The home is heated with propane gas-forced air and an electric hot water heater. The home is on a well system and individual septic, which was pumped in 2017.


The 33′ x 50′ shop with 400-amp service is heated with a Brut propane gas forced air heater and is piped for multiple airports. The shop is easily accessible through the four bays each with a LiftMaster electric roll-up door ‒ two 10′ x 9′, one 14′ x 9′ and one 20′ x 14′. The shop, which has concrete flooring, was renovated in 2012 with a new corrugated steel roof, insulation, wiring, and siding. A 22′ x 45′ addition to the shop was also constructed in 2012 which includes a washroom area with sink and toilet, hot and cold water inside and outside as well as a 6-ton Jett overhead hoist. The addition is also heated with a second Brut propane gas-forced air heater. The shop is on an individual well and septic system; the septic system was pumped in 2017.


The calving shed, built in 2012 with wood frame construction and corrugated steel roof, has a 10’ x 8′ LiftMaster electric garage door coming into the head catch area and a 12′ x 14′ door for access into the calving shed at the opposite end of the building. The head-catch area, which contains a floor drain, has radiant-floor heating that runs off a tankless hot-water heater. The utility room with a wash basin and the toilet room both have hot and cold water. The shed also has a tack room. The remaining calving shed contains eight calving jugs all of steel pipe construction and insulated walls. On the second floor, the 20′ x 20′ living space with internet service overlooks the calving jugs and is used as the “night calver’s surveillance room”.
The corrals, which were re-constructed in February 2017, are very functional and well laid out. The corrals are constructed with 2″ x 10″ rough-sawn fir planks and steel pipe gates. Cobett thermal sink waterers serve two of the larger pens as well as several outside pastures near the barn and corrals.


The 30′ x 90′ tin calving shed constructed in the 1950s of galvanized tin has electric lights and outlets and appears to be in very good repair.


The three-sided 60′ x 40′ machine shed, built in 2012, has wood frame construction and a corrugated steel roof. Accessed via a 12′ x 12′ electric roll-up door, an enclosed 16′ x 40′ area, which does not heat or insulation, is primarily used for mineral and baling twine storage.
Several additional older structures are used for storage and appear to be in good condition.


Please view the brochure to view water rights associated with the Ranch, or contact Swan Land Company for additional water rights information.

The fishing and waterfowl hunting on the Farm is exceptional! With about one and three quarters of a mile of Willow Creek which serpentines through the Farm, this tail-water fishery out of Harrison Lake is renowned in the area as one of the premier private rainbow small stream fisheries. In addition, the Farm harbors abundant numbers of whitetail deer and pheasant along Willow Creek.
North of the Farm, located in Three Forks is the Missouri Headwaters State Park at the confluence of the Jefferson, Madison and Gallatin rivers creating the headwaters of the Missouri River. The park offers a campground, hiking trails, fishing and floating. Two additional state parks in the area are Madison Buffalo Jump and Lewis and Clark Caverns, which are also well worth exploring.
Located in the heart of southwest Montana, the Farm is close to many exceptional outdoor recreation opportunities. The surrounding mountains and National Forest lands provide almost limitless opportunities for alpine recreation including hiking, horseback riding, fishing, mountain biking, camping and overall enjoyment. Some areas are also open for the motorized-recreational user as well.
Trout fishing in this part of Montana is some of the best the Rocky Mountain region has to offer. With several of Montana’s premier trout rivers only 30 to 75 minutes away, the Farm would be an outstanding home base providing the devoted angler miles of rivers and streams to relish for a lifetime on a comfortable “day trip” basis. An indication of this area’s world-renowned trout-fishing reputation is the headquartering of the internationally-known Simms fishing products based in Bozeman.
Exceptional skiing is a comfortable one-hour drive from the Farm with the “cold smoke” of Bridger Bowl, and Big Sky Resort offering numerous trails from novice to expert with “The Biggest Skiing in America”. Ranked as one of the World’s 25 Best Ski Towns by National Geographic in 2014, Bozeman offers a comfortable, small-town feeling with big-city amenities.
The next owner of the Farm will literally live in a number of different worlds with fishing, hunting, rafting, skiing, and the cultural amenities of Bozeman so easily accessible.
The town of Willow Creek, which started in 1864 and had a post office by 1867, was named after the willows that grew along the creek. William Clark, however, originally named the creek, “Pholofiphers River”, which was later named “Willow Creek”. By the late 1880s the Northern Pacific railroad had a spur line that ran to the town along what is now referred to as Old Yellowstone Trail or Willow Creek Road (MT 287); and by 1908 Milwaukee Road railroad had joined the spur line.
Walking through Main Street is like stepping back in time. The iconic Willow Creek Cafe and Saloon and the building across the street that now holds Willow Creek Tool and Technology, both date back to the 1910s.
The Stateler Memorial Methodist Church, which dates back to 1915 and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places, was built from concrete blocks that were purchased from the cement factory at Three Forks. The Gothic Revival-styled church building is home to one of the oldest congregations in the Methodist Church in Montana dating to 1864.
The craftsman-styled Willow Creek School, build around 1910, is still in operation today. The two-story building with a full basement was a large school when it was built, a reflection of the high hopes of the homesteaders of the time. By 1920 the town of Willow Creek was the second largest town in Gallatin County with a population of about 400 people, almost double what it is today.
Willow Creek Farm is a productive and enjoyable property to own. Its close proximity to the vibrant town of Bozeman makes it an attractive get-away for those looking for tranquility and privacy away from Main Street. The Farm’s next owner has the flexibility to run a nice-sized cattle and haying operation, grow small grain crops or lease out to one of several reputable farmers in the neighborhood – simplifying ownership and generating modest returns.
Several springs which surface along the riparian corridor may provide additional opportunities for stream and/or pond development. In addition, a portion of Willow Creek has been fenced to keep livestock away from the stream banks; additional fencing would reduce erosion and improve stream bank stability.
This offering represents one of the best opportunities available in Southwest Montana with controlled access to an immediately enjoyable trout stream combined with a productive farming component. In addition, several local conservation groups have expressed an interest in conserving this unencumbered property with a conservation easement, if a new owner is so interested.

Willow Creek Farm, as Previously Described Herein, is Offered at $4,400,000 Cash. The Conditions of Sale Are as Follows:

  1. All offers to purchase must be in writing and accompanied by an earnest money deposit check in the amount of 5.00% of the Purchaser’s offering price;
  2. Each offer must also be accompanied with the name and telephone number of the Purchaser’s private banker to assist the Sellers and their agents in ascertaining the Purchaser’s financial ability to consummate a purchase;
  3. All Purchasers must demonstrate to the Seller’s satisfaction unquestioned financial capability to purchase the Farm prior to scheduling an inspection;
  4. Earnest money deposits will be placed in escrow with Security Title Company of Bozeman;
  5. The Sellers will provide and pay for a standard owner’s title insurance policy. Any endorsements requested by the Buyer or any lender will be at Buyer’s expense. Title to the real property will be conveyed via a deed;
  6. All of the Farm’s water rights will be transferred to the Purchaser and all of the mineral rights which the Sellers actually own will be conveyed to the Purchaser at Closing.
  7. Buyers’ Brokers Are Welcome and Cordially Invited to Contact Michael S. Swan For Information Regarding Cooperation Policies and Commission Splits.


The Seller reserves the right to effect a tax-deferred exchange for other real property in accordance with provisions in Section 1031 of the Internal Revenue Code. The Buyer will not be required to incur any additional expenses nor to step into the chain of title on any property which the Seller may acquire.

This entire Offering is subject to errors, omissions, prior sale, change or withdrawal without notice and approval of purchase by the Seller. Information regarding land classifications, acreages, carrying capacities, crop yields, potential profits, etc., is intended only as general guidelines and have been obtained from sources deemed reliable; however, accuracy is not warranted or guaranteed by the Seller or Swan Land Company. Prospective Buyers should verify all information to their sole and complete satisfaction.

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Follow Up with Me:
Michael S. Swan
It was growing up in Southwest Montana where that deep sense of love for the land was first instilled in me. Our family ranch was on the banks of the Jefferson River near Twin Bridges. Being raised on a sizable commercial cow-calf operation, my brothers and I learned the importance of being good stewards of ...
Meet the Broker
Owner/Broker of Swan Land, Mike Swan

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