Echo Lake, Montana, USA

Lake Locations:

USA - West - Montana - Glacier Country -

Tiny islands, curving coves and wide bays are part of the allure of northern Montana’s Echo Lake. Coupled with mountains, wildlife, and the smell of the fresh outdoors, and this 725-acre lake is hard to forget. Grab your summer or winter gear and plan your trip to this piece of paradise.

Echo Lake is located within Flathead County, set within the Flathead Valley and the Glacier Country tourism region of northwest Montana. Flathead National Forest is a few miles east of the lake, and the city of Bigfork is to the south. The lake, which is a part of a chain of lakes, is fed by springs below its surface as well as a few small creeks trickling down from the nearby Swan Mountain range. With a maximum depth of roughly 78 feet, the water temperature in Echo Lake warms up relatively quickly after June’s snow melt, making for a divine dip during a hot summer day.

Visitors staying in the plentiful number of nearby lakeside vacation rentals at Echo Lake are able to sprint off their private dock and splash into the water without getting too much of a chilly shock. A fair number of real estate opportunities along the shores of this lake are available for those looking to settle down in this quiet spot within Montana’s rich landscape. A quick peek outside a cabin window during the chillier months reveals snowcapped mountains, with snowmobiling, snowshoeing and other winter activities readily available for those willing to take on the winter environment.

Anglers will have a relatively easy time of it during the summer months and on through most of autumn at Echo Lake. Grab your boat and push off from one of the public boat ramps, settling in and casting out your line in search of evening’s dinner. Northern pike are a good find in the lake, along with trout, perch and pumpkinseed species. Largemouth bass are also plentiful at Echo Lake, although catch-and-release is required during spring spawning.

Most of Echo Lake is no-wake to protect swimmers, canoeists, and kayakers. The exceptions to the no-wake policy are the narrow corridor leading into and out of Causeway Bay, located in the northeast section of the lake, and the corridor leading into and out of Blackies Bay, which is located in the northwest portion of the lake. Pick up a little speed in these spots, allowing your wakeboarding and waterskiing friends to tear across the waters.

Take time away from your Echo Lake vacation rental to explore the social side of this nature lover’s paradise. The city of Bigfork lies a few miles to the south, bringing an eclectic blend of people and culture to this mountainous region. The downtown area holds cafes and boutiques, art galleries and museums, restaurants and low-key bars. Take a side tour from the city and look into the spot where Swan River meets Flathead Lake, an enormous body of water with a surface area spreading across 197 square miles.

Find yourself a peaceful spot in Echo Lake’s paradise, be it within a comfortable lakeside cabin of your own or under the stars at a nearby campsite, listening to the wilderness fall softly asleep. National forests abound in the areas nearby, offering up fly fishing along the rivers, huckleberry picking in the bushes and horseback riding along rocky trails that wind their way around jagged peaks. Check out the Jewel Basin hiking area nearby this crystal clear body of water — finding a new vantage point of Echo Lake is certainly worth the effort.

And, yes, Echo Lake does echo, with sounds bouncing off the Swan Mountain range.

Things to do at Echo Lake MT

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Swimming
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Water Skiing
  • Wakeboarding
  • Camping
  • Cabin Rentals
  • Hiking
  • Snowmobiling
  • Horseback Riding
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • National Forest
  • Museum

Fish species found at Echo Lake MT

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Northern Pike
  • Perch
  • Pike
  • Pumpkinseed
  • Sunfish
  • Trout

Echo Lake MT Photo Gallery

    Echo Lake MT Statistics & Helpful Links

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    Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Not Dammed

    Surface Area: 725 acres

    Shoreline Length: 16 miles

    Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 2,998 feet

    Average Depth: 17 feet

    Maximum Depth: 71 feet

    Water Volume: 11,815 acre-feet

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    Trophic State | LakeLubbers

    Trophic State measures the level of algae and nutrients in a lake.

    An oligotrophic lake is very clear (blue in color) and does not support much plant or fish life. A hyper-oligotrophic lake is the clearest of all lakes, and is nearly devoid of plants and fish.

    A mesotrophic lake is slightly green and supports a moderate degree of plant and fish life. A lake's most desired trophic state is generally this mid-point - the mesotrophic state.

    A eutrophic lake is somewhat murky and supports a large amount of plant and fish life. A hypereutrophic lake is clouded with algae, plant life, and fish life. A eutrophic or hyper-eutrophic lake can be difficult to navigate by boat - and is often an unpleasant place to swim.

    The use of phosphorus-rich and nitrogen-rich fertilizer on lawns and golf courses surrounding a lake can cause it to become eutrophic or hypereutrophic.


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    Catchment or Drainage Area | LakeLubbers

    This is the surrounding area that drains into a lake, including land, rivers and their tributaries. This is also known as the lake's "catchment basin".

    Small lakes at the highest peaks of mountains have small drainage areas. The world's oceans have the largest drainage areas.


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    Lake-Area Population | LakeLubbers

    This is the estimated number of people who live in a house with a view of a lake, plus those who self-describe the lake as their home, for example: "I live at Smith Mountain Lake."


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    Water Residence Time | LakeLubbers

    This is the estimated time that it takes for an amount of water equal to the entire volume of a lake to flow out of - or evaporate from - the lake.

    Residence Time can be as short as a few days for fast-flowing small lakes, and can exceed 100 years for slow-flowing large lakes.


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    Completion Year | LakeLubbers

    This is the year that a reservoir was first filled to the reservoir's normal elevation - or the year that a natural lake was first dammed. A large reservoir can take more than a year to fill after its dam is first closed.

    The Grand Anicut in southern India is generally considered the world's oldest dam that still operates. Grand Anicut was constructed in the second century BC. It now impounds an irrigation network that includes roughly one million acres.

    You can find many of the the world's newest reservoirs on LakeLubbers. Many of the world's oldest reservoirs appear on the last page of that list.


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    Water Volume | LakeLubbers

    This is the estimated volume of water that a lake contains -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. By this measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal.

    You can find many of the the world's largest lakes (by water volume) on LakeLubbers.

    Water Volume can be measured in acre-feet, in cubic miles, or in cubic kilometers. One acre-foot is the amount of water needed to cover one acre (43,560 square feet) to a depth of one foot. One cubic mile equals 3,379,200 acre-feet. One cubic kilometer equals 810,713 acre-feet.

    1 acre-foot is equal to 325,851 US gallons. Siberia's Lake Baikal contains about 6,276,367,740,000,000 gallons of freshwater - nearly 1 million gallons for every living person on earth.

    The other - and more widely used - measure of a lake's size is the lake's surface acreage. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is North America's Lake Superior.


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    Maximum Depth | LakeLubbers

    This is the estimated greatest depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. The world's deepest lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal; that lake's maximum depth is estimated at 5,314 feet.

    You can find many of the the world's deepest lakes on LakeLubbers. If you select the last page of that list, you will find the (maximum depth of) the shallowest lakes in our database.


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    Average Depth | LakeLubbers

    This is the estimated average depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. If the water volume and surface area of a lake are known, an estimate of the lake's average depth can be calculated:

    Water volume ÷ Surface Area = Average Depth

    Example: 1,000,000 acre-feet ÷ 20,000 acres = 50 feet average depth


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    Maximum Elevation | LakeLubbers

    This is a lake's highest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can occur during flooding. A lake's highest possible maximum elevation is usually the top of the lake's dam or spillway.

    At lakes that include residential development, government regulations usually forbid the construction of homes below a lake's maximum elevation.


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    Minimum Elevation | LakeLubbers

    This is a lake's lowest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can be reasonably expected to occur. Low lake levels can occur due to deliberate seasonal draw downs for irrigation or impending snow melt, reduced water inflows, drought and evaporation, residential or commercial water demands, and hydropower generation.

    Some lakes' minimum and maximum elevations are virtually the same. Lakes that generate hydropower may vary by several feet - according to power demand. Lakes whose primary purpose is to prevent flooding can seasonally vary by 100 feet or more.

    When some lakes reach their minimum elevation, their boat ramps may not be long enough to permit boat access - and boats docked on shallow parts of the lake may end up on dry ground. In those cases, kayakers and shore-based anglers may be among the few happy recreational users of the lake.


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    Normal Elevation | LakeLubbers

    This is a lake's normal water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level. For a reservoir, this water level is also known as "full pond" or "full pool".

    You can find many of the world's highest-elevated lakes on LakeLubbers. Lakes with the lowest elevations (known by LakeLubbers) are shown on the final page of that list.


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    Shoreline Length | LakeLubbers

    This is the length of the exterior shoreline around a lake - measured at the lake's normal elevation. The shoreline length can be considerably shorter or longer when lake water levels are lower or higher than normal.

    A lake with many coves has a much longer shoreline than a lake of similar surface area that is nearly circular in shape.

    When known, the shoreline miles that we report in our statistics include only the lake's exterior shoreline, and exclude the shorelines of islands located within a lake's boundaries. In lakes with many islands, those islands' combined shorelines may exceed a lake's exterior shoreline.

    You can find many of the world's longest-shoreline lakes on Lakelubbers.


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    Surface Area | LakeLubbers

    This is the area (acreage, square kilometers, etc.) of the top surface area of a lake - measured at a lake's normal elevation. The surface area can be considerably smaller or larger when lake levels are lower or higher than normal. North America's Lake Superior is the world's largest freshwater lake by this measure.

    The other measure of a lake's size is the lake's water volume. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Lake Baikal in Siberia.

    You can find many of the world's largest lakes (acres) on Lakelubbers. There is no widely-accepted minimum surface area that defines a lake. What Lakelubbers describes as a lake, you might call a pond. The smallest lake that Lakelubbers currently includes is Hawaii's 2-acre Lake Waiau.


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    Water Level Control | LakeLubbers

    This is the organization that controls water releases or outflows from the lake or reservoir. In the USA, this is often the US Army Corps of Engineers, a power company, a municipal water system, an irrigation district, or a paper manufacturing company. In the case of private or gated lakes, a homeowners' association may be the lake's controlling authority.

    Many lakes cross borders, including North America's Great Lakes. The control of such lakes and their coveted freshwater may be amicably shared - or hotly disputed.

    "Water wars" continue at many lakes as growing populations and crop irrigation needs compete for the freshwater that lakes contain.


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    Lake Type | LakeLubbers

    There are 3 basic types of lakes that are currently included on LakeLubbers. 2 types may be dammed or not dammed, producing 5 classifications.

    - A Reservoir is a man-made freshwater lake that is usually created by damming rivers.

    - A Natural Freshwater Lake occurs naturally - often by glacial activity - and has a salinity of less than 30 parts per thousand. It may be dammed to produce electricity or for other reasons.

    - A Natural Saltwater Lake occurs naturally and has a salinity of more than 30 parts per thousand (ppt). It may be dammed.

    "Brackish" water may be categorized as freshwater or saltwater, depending on its salt content (salinity). Oligohaline water has less than 15 ppt of salt. Mesohaline water has 15-29 ppt. Polyhaline has 30-335 ppt.


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