Where to Fish Kootenai River


The Kootenai River draws its headwaters from southeastern British Columbia, northern Idaho, and northwest Montana. The river originates in Kootenay National Park, near Banff, British Columbia, and flows south into Montana near Rexford, then through the Purcell and Salish mountains. In 1972 Libby Dam impounded the Kootenai River, transforming the upper 48 miles of the mainstem in Montana and 42 miles in Canada into its reservoir, Lake Koocanusa. Just below the dam, the Kootenai turns northwest to wind in the deep cleft between the Cabinet and Purcell mountains. Downstream 17 miles, near Libby, Montana, it flows through a single narrow channel and into a steep-sided canyon. Twelve miles farther on, the river cascades over a series of bedrock faults to form Kootenai Falls, the only remaining large, undammed falls in Montana. Just above the Falls, a series of rapids and falls alternate with pools 20 to 40 feet deep, and the river is over 300 feet wide. Below, the aquatic environment features vertical canyon walls along both shores with many small, glacially carved coves, a relatively narrow channel, and deep pools broken up abruptly by rapids and falls. Water depths exceed 80 feet. Within several miles, the canyon transitions into a valley restricted by steep, heavily timbered mountain slopes and the Kootenai River crosses into Idaho, 97 miles from its Montana entry point. It journeys 66 miles in Idaho to reenter Canada, and joins the Columbia River at Castlegar, British Columbia, 485 miles from its origin.

Mile Upper: 161.433
Mile Lower: 64.289
Mouth Latitude/Longitude: 48.56065 -115.97806
Status of the Fishery:
FWP Region: Region 1 
County: Lincoln
Fishing District: Western
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Waterbody Section Field Form Type Date Purpose Species
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For Comparative analysis all Length Units are millimeters : all Weights are grams

Species Count Avg StdDev Min Max AvgWgt StdDevWgt MinWeight S/L Sects Surveys Waterbody
To see this data, first select one or more rows from the Collection Info tab.
For Comparative analysis all Length Units are millimeters : all Weights are grams

Waterbody Section Species Count AveLength StdDevLength MinLength MaxLength AveWeight StdDevWeight MinWeight MaxWeight
To see this data, first select one or more rows from the Collection Info tab.
For Comparative analysis all Length Units are millimeters : all Weights are grams

Waterbody Year Section Species Count AveLength StdDevLength MinLength MaxLength AveWeight StdDevWeight MinWeight MaxWeight
To see this data, first select one or more rows from the Collection Info tab.
This is a preview, all fields will be visible by selecting a download option. For Comparative analysis all Length Units are millimeters : all Weights are grams.

Year Species Abbrv Length Weight M/C Count Sex Mort Hook Scar Disease Scales Otolith Fin Clip Tag Comment Genetics Age Stomach Intercept Slope Gear Equipment Trip Date Pass/Run Water Section Lat/Down Lon/Down Lat/Up Lon/Up Agency
Year River Mile Angler Days Std. Error
2017 64.29  to  114.47 19093 5358
2015 64.29  to  114.47 28386 4253
2013 64.29  to  114.47 18463 3826
2011 64.29  to  114.47 18447 2613
View the latest Montana Fishing Regulations.
Station Name RiverMile Website Link
Kootenai River bl Libby Dam nr Libby MT 113 Link

This waterbody has a fish consumption advisory. Please see the link for guidelines.

Fish Consumption Guidelines (PDF)

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