Spoon Lake, Montana, USA

Lake Locations:

USA - West - Montana - Glacier Country -

Set along the western edge of Montana’s Glacier National Park, amid towering mountain peaks and lush, echoing valleys, Spoon Lake rests in an outdoor lover’s paradise. Rugged hiking trails surround the pristine lake and plenty of wildlife can be seen on a daily basis. The city of Columbia Falls, also known as the “Gateway to Glacier National Park,” is only a few miles south of the lake.

Spoon Lake sits at an elevation of 3,241 feet and covers over 60 acres with about 1.5 miles of shoreline. Beneath the clear, cold waters reside plentiful species of fish for anglers. A summer’s day can yield brook trout, cutthroat trout, longnose sucker, rainbow trout and yellow perch. Westslope trout, which have been stocked in the lake regularly by Montana Fish and Wildlife since 1999, can reach upwards of nine inches.

Fishing not to your fancy? Sit back in a lawn chair outside one of the lakeside rentals at Spoon Lake and take in the crisp mountain air, the cold, clear waters, and the bright, summer sun. Dangle your feet from the dock and dip your toes into the water, keeping your eyes open to spot any wildlife wandering among the thick forests just beyond the water’s edge. Due to Spoon Lake’s location so close to both Glacier National Park and Flathead National Forest, spotting wildlife is as simple as keeping quiet while out on the dock or peering out the window early in the morning. Listen quietly for the bugling call of an elk as it seeks out a mate; watch intently as a 1,000-pound moose wanders close by the lake’s edge for a sip of water. To protect the smaller animals at the lake, such as a family of loons nesting along Spoon Lake’s shores, the lake does not allow motor boats in its waters.

For those wanting to strike out from Spoon Lake and stride head-long into the forest to spend additional time beneath a canopy of trees, look no further than Glacier National Park. Over one million acres of land are devoted to maintaining some of the most intensely remote landscapes, from mountains topping 10,000 feet to ancient, icy glaciers. Visitors have their pick of weeklong backpacking trips, day hikes, horseback riding or biking. Downhill skiing makes up other portions of the nearby Flathead National Forest.

Sometimes a bit of social life away from Spoon Lake’s isolated wilderness is needed, and the city of Columbia Falls just south of the lake is less than 10 miles away. During the summer months, come for the craft shows, rodeos or parades, pick berries along Hungry Horse Reservoir or lie upon a blanket and listen to an outdoor concert or two. Skiing down the slopes through the winter is just one exciting activity the area offers — others include cozying up with loved ones at one of the downtown restaurants.

As an outdoor lover, wildlife watcher or avid angler, the myriad opportunities available year round at Spoon Lake make it a perfect spot for vacationing with the family or simply finding a place to get away from it all. Look into the plentiful real estate choices and settle into the area for year round outdoor enjoyment. Spoon Lake can make it happen.

Things to do at Spoon Lake

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Downhill Skiing
  • Horseback Riding
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • National Park
  • National Forest

Fish species found at Spoon Lake

  • Brook Trout
  • Cutthroat Trout
  • Perch
  • Rainbow Trout
  • Sucker
  • Trout
  • Yellow Perch

Spoon Lake Photo Gallery

    Spoon Lake Statistics & Helpful Links

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    Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Not Dammed

    Surface Area: 60 acres

    Shoreline Length: 1 miles

    Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 3,241 feet

    Average Depth: 18 feet

    Maximum Depth: 28 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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