View Full Version : Lake Koocanusa -Has anyone fished yet this year??

05-12-2011, 01:54 PM
I am heading up next month with my family. Staying near Rexford. Was wondering how it was fishing. Is there any local tip's I should/could use?

05-12-2011, 07:19 PM
Don't know if you're aware of the lake's condition. It's been drawn down to the lowest level it's ever been. Better check with your destination to see if it's even possible to launch. For some photos of the lake go to Koocanusa Resort & Marina, then cliock on their "photos" title. In short, the lake's a disaster area!

Jim F
05-15-2011, 06:07 PM
Mo Fisch has been running a boat up there for a while. They obviously found someplace to launch

05-15-2011, 09:18 PM
Thanks for the heads up. It sounds like the ramp at the Lake Koocanusa Resort and Marina is open but the levels are 100ft below normal!! Sounds crazy. I wonder how this is impacting the fishing?!

Jim F
05-19-2011, 12:47 AM
Bob from Mo's told me the rainbows where kind slow, but that was 2 weeks ago, may have changed. No info on the kokes

05-19-2011, 12:49 PM
Thanks. I am looking to fish for Kokanee. I spoke to the Koocanusa Resort and Marina yesterday and they said the lake is starting to fill back up. So, hopefully things will be settled down by the end of next month when I plan to go.

Still looking for any tips on how to best fish for Koke's in Lake Kookanusa!?

05-20-2011, 12:54 AM
If you stop in at the Koocanusa Resort & Marina store and tackle shop Randy (the man) can give you pretty good information on where and how to fish the lower section of the lake. The basic Kokanee rigs will do just fine here. A downrigger’s a great asset on this lake. Word of warning; if you’re expecting record size Koke’s you’re going to be greatly disappointed. The general size for these Koke’s are 8 to 10 inches. If you don’t mind their smallish size you can catch a million of them. I believe the regulations allow you to catch 50 a day and keep 100. Double check on those regulations though, I’m not positive if those numbers are still in effect.

05-20-2011, 01:15 PM
Thanks and yes, I fished there years ago and recall the size were small but the quantities were bountiful. I am taking my family (three daughter ages 6-10-12) so I am hoping they will enjoy the action. I am also taking my Bradley smoker and my vacuum packer so hoping to smoke up a bunch of those delectable little red fleshed beauties!

05-20-2011, 03:42 PM
There you go, those Koke's are the perfect recipe to get kids started on fihing! And smoking them right there on the spot lets you enjoy them imediately. Have a ball!

05-23-2011, 02:27 PM
Alot of people actually jig for Kokes in open water on Koocanusa. I have found that if you troll, you catch bigger fish than if you jig. Jigging gets more fish, but you are fighting alot of 7-8" little buggers to get one nice 10-12". I love using Apex Kokanee killers on that lake....FireNIce, Flame Orange, UV Orange, and UV Purple, Kavorkain all catch me fish, but the Flame Orange is the best producer. Tip with corn or maggots, in whatever flavors you want to try. Just be aware that there is a good chance you will hook up on a decent Bull Trout! I have caught the largest Bull I've ever caught while trolling kokanee gear!

Good Luck and maybe I'll see you up there.


05-24-2011, 10:29 AM
Thanks Neptune. What works better- corn or maggots? Is there someplace nearby to buy maggots?

05-24-2011, 09:04 PM
Never used live maggots before but tried them and found out they work great on Koocanusa. You can buy them at the Koocanusa Resort and Marina store if you're planning to launch from their facility.

05-26-2011, 12:50 PM
Almost every gas station/mini-mart in Montana sells bait...maggots, wax worms, night crawlers, red worms...

They aren't hard to find!

Good Luck!

05-27-2011, 01:59 PM
Thanks Neptune. I am sure the maggot's will be cheaper then the gasoline! BTW- do you live up in that area or fish it quite a bit?

05-31-2011, 12:05 PM
Ya I live in Whitefish and I fish Koocanusa as often as I can. It is one of my favorite lakes. The fishing is often not fast a furious but when you do get one on its usually a great fish!(Speaking of Bulltrout and Kamloops Rainbows)...The Kokes can definitely be hit and miss like anywhere but for the most part you will catch a few even on the bad days...

06-01-2011, 10:17 AM
Neptune- do you target the rainbows and bulltrout differently (lures, depths or loacations) or just randomly catch them when fishing for kokes?

06-01-2011, 12:52 PM
I do target the Rainbows and Bulls... BUT...

The bulls are about 50/50 on targeted gear and Koke gear. The rainbows have always been on targeted gear.

And Big Bulls(5LBs and up) will take a small koke lure right at the surface, so make sure you know your drag and have decent light weight Koke rods or you won't get to see the big boys! They are so much fun to catch on light gear. Last spring I caught a 10 1/2 lbs bull on my ultralight Koke rod with 4lb test line! Had to put him back because they weren't in season but man what a battle!

06-02-2011, 10:11 AM
Wow! A 10 1/2 lb bull trout would be a great ride on light gear. I have a couple of 7 1/2 ft. fast action kokanee rod's that would be perfect. Is 4 lb test your standard line size for Lake Koocanusa? Main line and/or leader?

For the rainbows, I assume you target them the same way they do the Kamploops or Gerrards in Kootenay and Pend Oreille? Plugs and hockey sticks down low and bucktails on top? Is it too late in the season for the bow's?

06-02-2011, 11:34 AM
I use 4-6lb line on my Koke rods....I use 20-30lb line on my Kamloops/Bull rods...

I fish Kamloops with plugs, Apex and flys all over the water column. I don't stick with just one type of lure based on depth. I've never caught a real big Kamloops. Biggest I've caught was 5 3/4 lbs and that was at 70 feet down on a UV Purple Apex Number 4. Caught some smaller ones on Lyman plugs on the planer boards. The Kamloops fishing is less than reliable...Bulls are actually a more reliable target in Koocanusa.

06-03-2011, 10:19 AM
Thanks. I'm bought my show peg corn last night and starting to get anxious!

If you EVER get a chance you should shoot up to Kootenay Lake and target the Gerrard rainbows there. Fish them the same was (bucktails, plugs and Apex from surface to 70 ft.) We've caught them up to 23lbs (on the bucktail)! Not as big lately but still 15-16 lbs. is not uncommon.

06-26-2011, 10:53 PM
Well, we made our trip to Koocanusa last week and we were not disappointed. The lake was still pretty low (down about 50 ft ) but the fishing was pretty good. We caught lot's (100+) of Kokanee. They were on the small side, mostly 7-9 inches and very near the top (10-15 ft.). It was kind of nice in that we did not need downriggers to target them and with three daughters that made my life a lot easier!

We also caught a number of nice rainbows and bull trout, although we were not targeting them at all. The highlight was my 10 year old daughter hooking and landing a 26" rainbow on a kokanee rod and swedish pimple with 6lb leader! It was a trophy fish and I think the flexibility of the lamiglass kokanee rod is what saved her when it took off on it's many runs and highwire act!

We're definitely going back!

07-15-2011, 10:32 AM
That's an awesome Rainbow!!! She's got my biggest one out of there beat!!!

They bend those Ultra-Lite rods almost to the water don't they...I'm glad your trip was successful...what part of the lake were you fishing?

Next time you come up, we'll have to have a meet n greet!

07-16-2011, 11:43 AM
We mostly fished from the Marina to 10 mile. Caught the big rainbow right across from the Marina and another nice one (19 inches) right near the dam. It sure was fun for the family to catch so many Kokanee. We really enjoyed the trip and that Rainbow was certainly a highlight!

Enjoy the summer!

02-10-2013, 10:29 PM
I am planning on fishing here in April 26-29, where can a guy tent camp next to the water, and maybe close to a launch? Should the fishing be good in april/may? What is usually the weather like then?

02-14-2013, 09:55 AM
That is a good time to fish...don't know if the Rexford Bench Camp Ground is open that early though. Weather is a crap shoot, it can be clear warm and calm or nasty as you can imagine you got a 50/50 shot!

02-15-2013, 12:29 AM
I was planning on looking around Barron creek area. I can live with 50/50 weather. I just dont want to launch all four days, just launch and fish! Thank you for the info.