Canyon Ferry Lake offers 13 campgrounds and nine day-use-only sites. Half of the campgrounds are fee areas, which provide water, toilets, tables, grills and boat ramps. All of the campgrounds are on a first-come basis. Three of the campgrounds offer group-use sites. Most of the campgrounds are accessible from Highway 12 / 287, the main route to Helena. If you are a tent camper, head towards the dam and turn south on West Shore Drive, one mile past Yacht Basin Marina, to Fish Hawk Campground, which is restricted to tents only and offers six sites, and more importantly, shade and toilets, although it lacks water. The eastern shoreline has four campgrounds evenly distributed (Jo Bonner, Hellgate, Goose Bay and Confederate). Follow the East Shoreline Drive, which may be reached off Highway 12 just outside of Townsend or the Highway 284 cut-off towards Helena, or cross the dam and pick up the East Shore Drive by Chinamen's Gulch. Shade is scarce along the lake, but campers may find both shade and a little more tranquility at Jo Bonner Campground, which is just a few miles south of the dam on the East Shore Drive.
Although fly fishers have good fishing during the spring for rainbows around the marinas and campgrounds at the upper end of the lake, the lake is best fished from a boat for rainbow trout, brown trout, perch, ling and walleye. Late April through the month of May is generally considered the best fishing from shore and boat. Plentifully stocked each year and drawing anglers year-round, Canyon Ferry is one of the most heavily fished reservoirs in the region. During the summer months, when surface action slows, boating enthusiasts enjoy this 25-mile-long stretch of water, which includes an island offering overnight camping.