This big, clear river courses through heavily-forested mountains, providing good fishing and excellent scenery along the way. Scenes from the movie "The River Wild" were filmed here. The river is mostly Class I, with a couple of difficult sections that are Class II and III. China rapids and Kootenai Falls Gorge are Class IV.
Floating on the Kootenai starts below Libby Dam and continues to the Idaho border and beyond. Small aluminum boats, canoes, and rafts all work well. While most of the river is broad and swift-flowing, occasional rapids and big standing waves require some caution. Jennings rapid, just below the Fisher River, requires care. Because of the fluctuations in the amount of water discharged from Koocanusa Reservoir, river levels can rise sharply, by as much as 2 to 4 feet. Because of these fluctuations and occasional rapids, beginners should steer clear of the Kootenai above the falls.
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