It’s all good here at LOC and on the Kootenai River. Dry fly action is coming on slowly by surely especially in the lagoon below the dam. Pmd’s are popping and spinners are hitting the water at the same time between 9-11 am providing targets down seems and just below grassy mats. Top water activity is still sporadic due to high flows but #14 parachute adams with a #16 rabbit’s foot pmd emerger dropper will stick a few if you picky-poke around here and there. Dry fly action will increase dramatically through the week as flows are further reduced. Nymphing continues to be off the charts. Fish are spreading out and moving to the banks. Drive by shooting has become more consistent throughout the week but faster runs, drop off buckets, and riffles below grassy mats are by far the most productive. Keep it simple. Five to six feet to the indicator, #10 hare’s ear or Pat’s stonefly as the big bug and #14 beadhead prince, pheasant tail, or Lepage mayfly nymph for the dropper and you’ll be into fish all day. Small streams are coming down fast and are all walk/wade now. Royal wulffs, trudes, stimulators, Fat Alberts are all moving fish. Keep in mind it’s important to cover water when fishing small streams. Don’t get concrete feet! Make a few casts, then move to the next deep run or bucket. Cover a half mile in an hour and you’ll find plenty of fish.
Discharge from Libby Dam is presently 24,000cfs and will remain steady through the weekend. The Kootenai is on fire! All LOC guides had fantastic trips today. Nymphing is off the charts and moving consistently nicer fish in the 12″-16″ range. Dry fly fishing is coming on strong in softer water and hatches of pmd’s on the upper river have fish looking up. It’s still big water but the fish are clearly hungry, clearly eager to eat, and clearly staged in feeding positions. If you’re banging the bottom set your indicator about five to six feet to the first bug. Two small gremlin split shot will get you down and concentrate on 3-6 feet of water. Big stoneflies with #14 beadhead pheasant tail or prince nymphs should do the trick. Mornings have been fast action and you will be rewarded if you stick it out until dark.
It’s all good news here at Linehan Outfitting Company! The Kootenai is dropping fast and discharge from Libby Dam is now 24,000cfs. As in-flows to Koocanusa continue to drop so will the river. It’s still big but nymphing is off the charts and the fish are fresh and hungry. Concentrate on 2-5 feet of water right off the grass and #8 Pat’s stonefly with #14 prince, pheasant tail or copper john will move fish consistently throughout the day. Dry fly fishing is sporadic but fish are starting to look up for pmd’s and caddis in softer water especially in the evenings. Big bugs like taratulas and foam patterns with droppers are moving fish well also and drive by shooting along slower banks has been good if you keep it in the water. Let it hunt and keep in mind that mending is a process, not a city in China. Small streams are still fresh and holding good water. The Kootenai basin is fresh, full of water, and will fish well throughout August and September!
Great news all around here in Kootenai country! After waiting patiently for the big water to recede, the Kootenai is shaping up nicely and finally we’re running trips!!! Yesterday LOC guide Steve Shaw floated from the Dam to Osprey Landing with guests Brian and Jim and boated thirty fish. The Kootenai is still just a little swollen but water temp below the dam is about 53 degrees, flows are dropping dramatically by 1000cfs every twelve hours, and the fish are fresh and hungry for dry flies. Small stream action is still fantastic but it’s all walk/wade for the most part now. LOC guide Sean McAfee and Tim made one last float on a small stream yesterday and ended up dragging the raft through a few riffles. But it was worth it!
It’s a beautiful day here in Northwest Montana. Blue sky, nice light breeze, and temps in the high 70′s- couldn’t ask for anything better! Kootenai River flows are still coming down and we are getting excited at the thought of actually fishing it sometime soon. Until then we will continue to enjoy all that the small streams have to offer! Have we mentioned golden stones??
Big news here on the Kootenai!!! For the first time since the middle of May it looks like flows have finally headed down. Discharge from Libby Dam decreased from 43,000 to 37,000cfs! What does this mean, not much at the moment since it’s still huge and generally still unfishable. But we’re excited and headed in the right direction. August should be off the charts once the river settles!!! For now we’re still floating and celebrating the diversity and tremendous dry fly action our small streams are offering. Golden stones and crane flies continue to highlight action. This is without doubt one of the finest years on record for small stream action. They’re healthy, full, and on fire!
Inflows to Lake Koocanusa are still hovering around 43, 000cfs and that means that discharge from Libby Dam is still 43,000cfs. Song remains the same for the big river. Fortunately, our small streams are on fire and fishing extremely well. We’re still floating the small streams in hard boats but it looks like that will end in a day or two. Kootenai Hellboy Hoppers, golden stone patterns, Freddies, Madam X’s, and tarantulas are all consistenly moving fish.
The lower Clark Fork around St. Regis is in great shape and fishing well! Flows are presently approximately 7000cfs, the river is fresh, and so are the fish. Big bugs and droppers are still the name of the game. Yesterday the LOC crew had a great day and size 8 Kootenai Hellboy hoppers with size 14 pheasant tail droppers moved lots of fish in the morning. Heavy downpours put the fish off for a while before lunch but big, red Tarantulas moved a lot of fish in the afternoon. Pmds and caddis are popping sporadically but fish are still looking for big bites at least for now.
The Kootenai River is still huge but at least for now inflows to Lake Koocanusa have stabilized and are expected to start dropping significantly in the near future. What does that mean? It means the flows below Libby Dam will still be in excess of 40,000cfs through the end of the month. But recent rains have kepts our small streams and Kootenai tributaries fresh, full of water, and on fire! It’s amazing how sometimes curve balls can be the best pitches you get. And that’s how we feel at the moment. The Kootenai is high and unfishable at the moment but this may well be one of the best years on record for the health of the Kootenai tributaries and small streams. We’re celebrating action on small rods and are having incredible days with nothing but dry flies while fishing 2 and 3 weight rods. Stimulators, red tarantulas, madam X’s, freddies, and Kootenai Hellboy hoppers are all you need. Droppers…what the heck is a dropper? And who needs one anyway? Dry fly fishing, baby! Dry fly fishing!
For now the song remains the same for the Kootenai. It’s still huge and flows are 43,00cfs. In-flows to Lake Koocanusa above Libby Dam are receding ever so slowly but it looks like we’ll not be on the big river until at least August. But we’re running trip and the small streams are on fire. Kootenai tributaries are all about 1,2,3 weight rods and dry fly fishing the way it was meant to be. Nothing but royal wullfs, stimulators, and tarantulas throughout the day and lovely, 8-10 inch wild rainbows, brookies, and cutts. At this point we’re celebrating the diversity of fishing small streams and thankful that we have many miles to fish. Lakes and ponds are also fishing well and it looks like daytime temps are going to be a bit cooler in the near future and even some cloud cover and rain. Should be a few days of fantastic fishing!