LETTER: Koocanusa Forgotten by FWP

By Beacon Staff

Lake Koocanusa is a large lake over 70 miles long, stretching from near Libby past Eureka to the north into Canada. It is a beautiful lake with much promise, but currently it seems to be a failed fishery forgotten by the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks. There are primarily three type fish in Koocanusa. There’s the bull trout, but they are few and not allowed to be kept. Salmon are not really game fish – they are mostly caught for locals to can in pint jars, as they are too small for much else. We supposedly have rainbows, but they are so rare to catch that it was recently reported in the local paper of someone who caught one. Now the local stocking hatchery accidently killed its three-year supply of the rainbows, so the lake now is basically going to be an even emptier bathtub, except for the baitfish size salmon.

With the healthy fisheries in other Montana lakes, it seems a shame that our beautiful large lake is just a large body of water with no real fish to catch. The Corp of Engineers and Forest Service have kept any development from the shores and have resisted adding any new docking needed for the hundreds of water skiers that come down from Canada (with their appreciated dollars) and now FWP seems to be just another agency dropping the ball with Lake Koocanusa and ignoring the needs of those who wish to recreate on it.

Steve Mangold
Columbia Falls

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