About Lake Koocanusa

On the US-Canadian Border

Because it's listed as a navigable international waterway, the Montana Board of Outfitters requires charter captains to obtain a USCG Merchant Mariners License to take people out for hire on this lake.  In compliance with federal regulations on navigable inland waterways, only our USCG-licensed captains will be operating any of our charter boats on this lake.

Successful fishing  on Koocanusa entails a significantly different approach than one might use on the Flathead. The big predators are surface feeders and boat shy, meaning downriggers are of little help. Instead we use customized planer board systems that spread our trolled lures far and wide from the boat. Fishing is marked by long periods of inactivity interspersed with moments of exceptional excitement as a big Bull Trout smacks a lure and makes its signature underwater run, stripping off line fast enough to worry about being spooled.

Lake Koocanusa

Other times a mighty Kamloop Rainbow will stop your heart with a howitzer leap after which the battle is on. An average day is 10-15 strikes with one in four fish being a Kamloop. Bull Trout are catch and release only. Finally, there are always the Kokanee Salmon, small but plentiful and wonderful for smoked salmon recipes.

Abayance Bay Marina

290 Abayance Bay Drive, Rexford, MT 59930 (Open all year)

Abayance Bay Marina offers 24' and 28' slip spaces with limited moorage for larger craft. Boat launch/pull services are available. Our boat maintenance facility offers many services for your boats needs. We have lockers located at the shoreline, for any personal belongings you would like to stow away. Fill up your boat and/or your vehicles, at our shoreline fuel station. Reserve the Amphitheatre for your own private party. Best of all, don't forget your snacks, beer, and a friendly hello from our lovely staff at the convenient store. Visit the website.

Captain Norm is the Official Fishing Charter for Abayance Bay Marina

Koocanusa is a fisherman's paradise with some of the best trout fishing in northwest Montana, but as we mentioned above, it requires a different approach. Having a knowledgeable guide will mean the difference between a boat trip and a great fishing trip! Let's go fishing, book your Lake Koocanusa fishing charter today!

About the lake

Lake Koocanusa is 90 miles long and at full pool, 370 feet deep.  Although it sounds like an ancient tribal name of some sort, Lake Koocanusa is not an Indian name.  A lady named Alice Beers who lived in Rexford, Montana won a contest in 1971 to name the reservoir formed by Libby Dam.  She creatively took the first three letters from the KOOtenai River, the first three letters of CANada and USA to make up her entry in the contest, and thus was born Lake Koocanusa (for the life of me I can't remember what she won).

2015 Lake Koocanusa Fishing Report

Yesterday, Norm asked me how our Saturday charter on Lake Koocanusa went down... Can you say "WOW"?

I did a quick mental calculation and said we had about 23 hook-ups and must have about 18 in the boat. This was a big mistake. I calculated this because I remembered we used all of my offshore releases (12) and 7 of my Laurvick releases (8 of 15 still on board at the end of the day). We had recycled the starboard planer for 5 more offshore releases and 2 Laurvick (these also used up). The clients called it quits with the starboard planer spread down two rigs. Read the rest of the story here...