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Home / Kootenay Rockies / The Elk Valley / Koocanusa Lake

Koocanusa Lake

Koocanusa Lake is a popular recreation lake located in the Kootenay Rocky region of British Columbia. Stretching some 145 km (90 mi) in length it spans north-south through British Columbia and Montana in the United States.

Cliff Diving Koocanusa Lake
 Cliff Diving Koocanusa Lake

The lake is a popular fishing spot and visitors can enjoy an abundance of wildlife in and around the protected wetlands. Sandy beaches, swimming, cliff diving, boating and paddling are favourite activities and hiking and biking is close by. The surrounding area is typically grasslands and Ponderosa Pine forests.


Accessed via Hwy 3, Koocanusa Lake is 32 km (20 mi) SW of Fernie and 65 km (40 mi) SE of Cranbrook. Calgary, Alberta is just a 3.5 hour drive to the east and the United States border (Montana) is 1 hour south.

Things To See & Do
Sunshine Houseboats
 Sunshine Houseboat Vacations
  • House Boating

    A great way to experience this beautiful lake is to rent a houseboat. Sunshine Houseboat Vacations operate a full service marina near Newgate on the west side of Koocanusa Lake. Moorage and other boating opportunities are also available.

  • Wildlife
     Painted Turtle
     Painted Turtle

    The protected wetlands on the lake offer some excellent bird watching opportunities where visitors can see osprey, eagles, blue herons, mallards and more. Kikomun Creek Provincial Park on the east side of Koocanusa Lake is home to the colourful painted turtle with their red and yellow markings.

  • Fishing

    A favourite area with anglers, cutthroat trout, Kokanee, Dolly Varden, and Rocky Mountain Whitefish are in abundance.

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Background Photo Credit: Destination British Columbia

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