Kootenai River Montana Fishing Report 5-3-2017

This Kootenai River fishing report is brought to you by Linehan Outfitting Company and provides current Kootenai River and fishing conditions. It will be updated frequently or as conditions change. We have fly fishing guides available so give a call anytime if you have any questions surrounding The Kootenai River or anything about Montana fly fishing or fly fishing in general.

Discharge from Libby Dam: 22,600cfs

In-flow from Lake Koocanusa: 15,600cfs

Water temperature below Libby Dam: 39 degrees

Best Time of day: afternoon

Hatches: midge, baetis, March brown mayfly

Patterns: rubber legged stonefly nymph, San Juan worm, bh prince, bh hare’s ear, tung head pheasant tail, bunny patterns, circus peanut, parachute Adams, purple haze, stimulator,

Runoff has officially started here on the Kootenai River and for the most part the Kootenai is huge. Periods of rain could spike tributaries throughout the week and push color into the mainstem. Additionally, Libby Dam is discharging nearly power house capacity so conditions are not that great at the moment. Generally speaking, the Kootenai river is not user friendly. Is it fish-able?  Actually, yes.  Water clarity is great and will only change if it rains hard enough to bump tributaries.

How long will conditions like this last? Hard to say. Right now if I went with my gut, I’d say it’s smelling like it might be one of those springs where the Kootenai River doesn’t offer much in the way of reduced flows until summer.  There’s still a ton of snow and data is showing the Kootenai River basin is now at 130% snow water equivalent.  It will start running off quickly depending on weather. But daytime temps and nights are still cool so for this week the song remains the same. But that can change in a day as we all know.

Generally speaking the Army Corps will drop flows significantly during April.  We just received word that discharge from Libby Dam will remain at essentially power house capacity for the foreseeable future.  We had big rain and precipitation last fall and big snow this winter. There is lots of water content in the basin and it all ends up in the Kootenai River. We’ll just have to wait and see.

For now the Kootenai is only fish-able from a boat.  With water this high wading is non-existent and could be dangerous.  Keep in mind water temps will be a bit warmer as you move downstream.  And since the Kootenai River flows are big, longer floats are the name of the game.

Dry fly fishing is really not that much of an option at the moment.  You might see some rising fish late in the afternoon in super soft water but for the most part water temps are still on the chilly side.  Dry droppers down grassy banks might work.  But nymphing will be your better option.  Fish a #10 brown rubber legged stonefly nymph with a #12 bead head prince dropper six to seven feet below an indicator.  Add at least one BB split shot and look for fish in soft currents, cover, next to and below flooded islands in 4-6 feet of water.  Fish will be concentrated and actually nymphing under these big water conditions can actually be pretty good if you dial into where fish are holding.

Expect warmer daytime temperatures in the high 60s-low 70s and sunshine through midweek.  Then partly sunny skies and chance of showers with daytime temps in the low 60s.

The Boston Red Sox bats are finally starting to warm up.  Run production of late has improved greatly.   Defense has been solid and pitching continues to look stellar for the most part.  GO SOX!!!

The sign says it all. And if you’re not here, you should be.

Libby Dam-Kootenai River Montana Fishing Report 4-24-2017

This Kootenai River fishing report is brought to you by Linehan Outfitting Company and provides current Kootenai River and fishing conditions. It will be updated frequently or as conditions change. We have fly fishing guides available so give a call anytime if you have any questions surrounding The Kootenai River or anything about Montana fly fishing or fly fishing in general.

Discharge from Libby Dam: 23,100cfs

In-flow from Lake Koocanusa: 14,000cfs

Water temperature below Libby Dam: 37 degrees

Best Time of day: afternoon

Hatches: midge, baetis

Patterns: rubber legged stonefly nymph, San Juan worm, bh prince, bh hare’s ear, tung head pheasant tail, bunny patterns, circus peanut

Runoff has officially started here on the Kootenai River and for the most part the Kootenai is huge. Periods of rain could spike tributaries throughout the week and push color into the mainstem. Additionally, Libby Dam is discharging nearly power house capacity so conditions are not that great at the moment. Generally speaking, the Kootenai river is not user friendly. Is it fish-able?  Actually, yes.  Water clarity is great and will only change if it rains hard enough to bump tributaries.

How long will conditions like this last? Hard to say. Right now if I went with my gut, I’d say it’s smelling like it might be one of those springs where the Kootenai River doesn’t offer much in the way of reduced flows until summer.  There’s still a ton of snow and data is showing the Kootenai River basin is now at 130% snow water equivalent.  It will start running off quickly depending on weather. But daytime temps and nights are still cool so for this week the song remains the same. But that can change in a day as we all know.

Generally speaking the Army Corps will drop flows significantly during April.  We just received word that discharge from Libby Dam will remain at essentially power house capacity and will not be reduced for the remainder of April.  We had big rain and precipitation last fall and big snow this winter. There is lots of water content in the basin and it all ends up in the Kootenai River. We’ll just have to wait and see.

For now the Kootenai is only fish-able from a boat.  With water this high wading is non-existent and could be dangerous.  Keep in mind water temps will be a bit warmer as you move downstream.  And since the Kootenai River flows are big, longer floats are the name of the game.

Generally, it’s a waiting game for now and it all depends on the weather. Expect gray skies and showers to continue through this week.  Expect daytime temps in the middle 50s.

The Boston Red Sox bats are finally starting to warm up.  Run production of late has improved greatly.   Defense has been solid and pitching continues to look stellar for the most part.  GO SOX!!!

The mighty Kootenai River is big and full right now!

Snowpack-Kootenai River Fishing Report 4-14-2017

This Kootenai River fishing report is brought to you by Linehan Outfitting Company and provides current Kootenai River and fishing conditions. It will be updated frequently or as conditions change. We have fly fishing guides available so give a call anytime if you have any questions surrounding The Kootenai River or anything about Montana fly fishing or fly fishing in general.

Discharge from Libby Dam: 24,500cfs

In-flow from Lake Koocanusa: 11,4000cfs

Water temperature below Libby Dam: 38 degrees

Best Time of day: afternoon

Hatches: midge, baetis

Patterns: rubber legged stonefly nymph, San Juan worm, bh prince, bh hare’s ear, tung head pheasant tail, bunny patterns, circus peanut

Runoff has officially started here on the Kootenai River and for the most part the Kootenai is huge.  Additionally, Libby Dam is discharging full power house capacity so conditions are not that great at the moment. Generally speaking, the Kootenai river is not user friendly at the moment. Is it fish-able you ask? Water clarity is good but when the river is this high, and keep in mind tributaries are adding volume as well, it’s technically fish-able, but if you have other options I’d suggest you find another river to fish.

How long will conditions like this last? Hard to say. Right now if I went with my gut, I’d say it’s smelling like it might be one of those springs where the Kootenai River doesn’t offer much in the way of good conditions for the next couple months. There’s still a ton of low elevation snow which will go quickly depending on weather. But nights are still cool and it’s melting but not really that quickly as of late. But that can change in a day as we all know.

Generally speaking the Army Corps will drop flows significantly during April.  But that may not happen this year.  We had big rain and precipitation last fall and big snow this winter.  There lots of water content in the basin and it all ends up in the Kootenai River.  We’ll just have to wait and see.

If you feel like you have to get on the water, just know the Kootenai River is now only fish-able from a boat. With water this high wading is non -existent and could be dangerous.

So, it’s a waiting game for now and it all depends on the weather. Expect gray skies and showers to continue through the middle of next week with periods of partly sunny skies.  It’s still kind of cool, not feeling necessarily like spring on some days, but this week it looks like at least we’ll have some bright skies.  Expect daytime temps in the high 40s, low 50s. The snow is melting, sort of…

The Boston Red Sox are off to an uneven start.  Pitching has actually been good but bats are not necessarily on fire at the moment and run production needs to ramp up.  We’ve got the talent on the mound in Rick Porcello anchoring the rotation and good arms behind him and in the bullpen.  Go Sox!

Bread and butter Kootenai River rainbow trout.

Rain-Kootenai River Fishing Report 4-7-2017

This Kootenai River fishing report is brought to you by Linehan Outfitting Company and provides current Kootenai River and fishing conditions. It will be updated frequently or as conditions change. We have fly fishing guides available so give a call anytime if you have any questions surrounding The Kootenai River or anything about Montana fly fishing or fly fishing in general.

Discharge from Libby Dam: 24,500cfs

In-flow from Lake Koocanusa: 10,300cfs

Water temperature below Libby Dam: 37 degrees

Best Time of day: afternoon

Hatches: midge, baetis

Patterns: rubber legged stonefly nymph, San Juan worm, bh prince, bh hare’s ear, tung head pheasant tail, bunny patterns, circus peanut

Runoff has officially started here on the Kootenai River and for the most part the Kootenai is huge.  Periods of heavy rain will likely spike tributaries over the weekend and push color into the mainstem. Additionally, Libby Dam is discharging full power house capacity so conditions are not that great at the moment. Generally speaking, the Kootenai river is not user friendly. Is it fish-able you ask? Not really and especially if you have other options.

How long will conditions like this last? Hard to say. Right now if I went with my gut, I’d say it’s smelling like it might be one of those springs where the Kootenai River doesn’t offer much in the way of good conditions for the next couple months. There’s still a ton of low elevation snow which will go quickly depending on weather. But nights are still cool and it’s melting but not really that quickly as of late. But that can change in a day as we all know.

Generally speaking the Army Corps will drop flows significantly during April.  But that not happen this year.  We had big rain and precipitation last fall and big snow this winter.  There lots of water content in the basin and it all ends up in the Kootenai River.  We’ll just have to wait and see.

If you feel like you have to get on the water, just know the Kootenai River is now only fish-able from a boat. With water this high wading is no -existent and could be dangerous.

So, it’s a waiting game for now and it all depends on the weather. Expect gray skies and showers to continue through the middle of next week.  Periods of heavy rain are possible.  Expect daytime temps in the middle 40’s. The snow is melting, sort of…

The Boston Red Sox won their first two games of the season.  Starting rotation was solid, bull pen was snappy and efficient, and defense made the difference.  GO SOX!

Tim Linehan of Linehan Outfitting Company on the lower Clark Fork River
Hooked up in the rain…

Kootenai River Montana Fishing Report 4-2-2017

This Kootenai River fishing report is brought to you by Linehan Outfitting Company and provides current River and fishing conditions. It will be updated frequently or as conditions change. We have fly fishing guides available so give a call anytime if you have any questions surrounding The Kootenai River or anything about Montana fly fishing or fly fishing in general.

Discharge from Libby Dam: 24,500cfs

In-flow from Lake Koocanusa: 10,300cfs

Water temperature below Libby Dam: 37 degrees

Best Time of day: afternoon

Hatches: midge, baetis

Patterns: rubber legged stonefly nymph, San Juan worm, bh prince, bh hare’s ear, tung head pheasant tail, bunny patterns, circus peanut

Runoff has officially started here on the Kootenai River and for the most part the Kootenai is huge.  Period rain Will continue to sporadically bump tributaries which are pushing color into the mainstem. Additionally, Libby Dam is discharging full power house capacity so conditions are not that great at the moment. Generally speaking, the Kootenai river is not user friendly. Is it fish-able you ask? Not really and especially if you have other options.

How long will conditions like this last? Hard to say. Right now if I went with my gut, I’d say it’s smelling like it might be one of those springs where the Kootenai River doesn’t offer much in the way of good conditions for the next couple months. There’s still a ton of low elevation snow which will go quickly depending on weather. But nights are still cool and it’s melting but not really that quickly as of late. But that can change in a day as we all know.

Generally speaking the Army Corps will drop flows significantly during April.  But that not happen this year.  We had big rain and precipitation last fall and big snow this winter.  There lots of water content in the basin and it all ends up in the Kootenai River.  We’ll just have to wait and see.

If you feel like you have to get on the water, just know the Kootenai River is now only fish-able from a boat. With water this high wading is no -existent and could be dangerous.

So, it’s a waiting game for now and it all depends on the weather. Expect gray skies and showers to continue through next week. No heavy rain is in the forecast and daytime temps are predicted toga get around the middle 40’s. The snow is melting, sort of…

In other news the Boston Red Sox have headed home from spring training and tomorrow is opening day at Fenway!  CY winner Rick Porcello will get the start.  It’s game time and all is well in the world.  GO SOX!

Nothing but tail…

Kootenai River Montana Fishing Report 3-24-2017

This Kootenai River fishing report is brought to you by Linehan Outfitting Company and provides current River and fishing conditions.  It will be updated frequently or as conditions change.  We have fly fishing guides available so give a call anytime if you have any questions surrounding The Kootenai River or anything about Montana fly fishing or fly fishing in general.

Discharge from Libby Dam: 25,000cfs

In-flow from Lake Koocanusa: 10,300cfs

Water temperature below Libby Dam: 36 degrees

Best Time of day:  afternoon

Hatches: midge, baetis

Patterns: rubber legged stonefly nymph, San Juan worm, bh prince, bh hare’s ear, tung head pheasant tail, bunny patterns, circus peanut

Runoff has officially started here on the Kootenai River and for the most part the Kootenai is huge and off colored.  Recent rain has bumped tributaries which are pushing color into the mainstem.  Additionally, Libby Dam is discharging full power house capacity so conditions are not that great at the moment.  Generally speaking, the Kootenai river is not user friendly.  Is it fish-able you ask?  Not really and especially if you have other options.

How long will conditions like this last?  Hard to say.  Right now if I went with my gut, I’d say it’s smelling like it might be one of those springs where the Kootenai River doesn’t offer much in the way of good conditions for the next couple months.  There’s still a ton of low elevation snow which will go quickly depending on weather.  But nights are still cool and it’s malty but not really that quickly as of late.  But that can change in a day as we al know.

If you feel like you have to get on the water, just know the Kootenai River is now only fish-able from a boat.  With water this high wading is no -existent and could be dangerous.

So, it’s a waiting game for now and it all depends on the weather.  Expect gray skies and showers to continue through next week.  No heavy rain is in the forecast and daytime temps are predicted toga get around the middle 40’s.  The snow is melting, sort of…

In other news the Boston Red Sox spring training is looking good.  The starting rotation is shaping up with Cy Young winner Rick Porcello anchoring the mound.  This is going to be a great season!  GO SOX!

LOC guest Liz getting it done in the cold, rain, and snow circa 2016

 


Kootenai River Montana Fishing Report 3-14-2017

This Kootenai River Montana fishing report is brought to you buy Linehan Outfitting Company and provides current river and fishing conditions.  It will be updated accordingly or as conditions change.  Feel free to call anytime if you need guides or lodging or any help with the fly fishing world.
In-flow from Lake Koocanusa: approximately cfs 3,400cfs

Discharge from Libby Dam:  4000cfs

In-Flow to Lake Koocanusa:  3,800cfs

Water Temperature Below Libby Dam: 36 degrees

Water Clarity:  Perfect

Best Time Of Day: This time of year it really doesn’t matter.

Hatches: midge

Patterns: Rubber legged stoneflies, zebra midge,  bunny streamers, SJ worms, bh prince, bh copper john, circus peanut, big streamers in red and black and white

THE UPPER KOOTENAI RIVER FROM LIBBY DAM DOWNSTREAM TO THE MOUTH OF THE FISHER RIVER WILL BE CLOSED UNTIL JUNE 1.

It appears we’re finally headed for a thaw and that indeed spring is trying to muscle into the picture.  Daytime temps have been above freezing for 4 days and rain has turned to snow.  It’s still dark up here in Kootenai River country and for the foreseeable future it looks like precipitation will continue.  Finally it’s rain on the valley floors and snow line has risen of late to about 4500 feet.  Snowpack is still obviously building above 4500 feet and that means there should be plenty of water for the summer and fall which will be terrific for fishing conditions.

Recent rain has tributaries rising a bit and throwing some color into the main stem of the Kootenai River.  It’s still very fish-able and a little color this time of year is actually a good thing.  Water clarity is still perfectly good but that could change on a daily basis depending on weather.

The Kootenai River is still steady and holding at minimum flows.  And with lower and more fishable flows, nymphing and streamer action is the way to go.  Water temps are only 36 degrees here on the Kootenai river at the moment so don’t expect much in the way of bug activity or dry fly action.  Go deep, go big, or go home.
Big fish always need to eat from time to time.  And they’re much more likely to eat a big meal than a tiny one.  Get your nymphs down and dredge the bottom and generally speaking give them at least #12 or bigger.  Stick with attractors and rubber legs and flies that look buggy.  Look for fish in 10 feet of water, in structure, and off current areas.

Typically this time of year we mostly throw big junk in the form of bunny patterns, circus peanuts, and deceivers and usually employ at least sink tips.  If you don’t have a sink tip at least be sure to stick a few split shot right above the fly so that it gets down.  Fish it slowly, and pulse it from time to time so that it looks like a crippled bait fish struggling in the water column.  Work deep pools and water depth of at least 5-10 feet or more if you can.  Be patient.  This time of year it’s not about quantity.

The Kootenai River is actually very wade-able this time of year and access is good.  Downstream from Libby along hwy 2 in the China Rapids section can offer good nymphing this time of year.  If you’re floating, keep in mind ramps may still have snow.  Be sure to scout ramps before you launch.  If they’re snow covered, bring a long tow rope and don’t back your truck down any farther than you have to.

Expect another week of partly cloudy to mostly cloudy conditions with a mix of snow and rain depending on daytime temperatures which will be largely in the mid 30s, low 40s.  While some of us are desperately in need of some sunshine and a break from precipitation and darkness, keep in mind these are terrific fishing conditions.  It’s not too cold and skies are gray and gloomy.

LOC guide Sam Stevenson (aka the Winter Warrior) does it again.

Kootenai River Montana Fishing Report 2-28-2017

This Kootenai River Montana fishing report is brought to you buy Linehan Outfitting Company and provides current river and fishing conditions.  It will be updated accordingly or as conditions change.  Feel free to call anytime if you need guides or lodging or any help with the fly fishing world.
In-flow from Lake Koocanusa: approximately cfs 3,400cfs

Discharge from Libby Dam:  4000cfs

Water Temperature Below Libby Dam: 36 degrees

Water Clarity:  Perfect

Best Time Of Day: This time of year it really doesn’t matter.

Hatches: midge

Patterns: Rubber legged stoneflies, zebra midge, lime green parachute midge, bunny streamers, circus peanut, big streamers in red and black

ON FEBRUARY 28  THE UPPER KOOTENAI RIVER FROM LIBBY DAM DOWNSTREAM TO THE MOUTH OF THE FISHER RIVER WILL BE CLOSED UNTIL JUNE 1.

For a while it seemed like we were turning the corner and that winter might be loosening it’s grip here.  Days were consistently above freezing and it had actually stopped snowing.  But as I sit here and write it’s 25 degrees and snowing and it looks like we’re still in the thick of winter.  While we may indeed be getting tired of shoveling and plowing and roof raking, the snowpack is all good and will indeed make for terrific water conditions here in the Kootenai River country area this season.

Over the last 72 hours we’ve received another 8 inches and it appears there’s more snow on the way through the rest of the week.

The Kootenai River is still steady and holding at minimum flows.  And with lower and more fishable flows, nymphing and streamer action is the way to go.  Water temps are only 36 degrees here on the Kootenai river at the moment so don’t expect much in the way of bug activity or dry fly action.  Go deep, go big, or go home.
This is the time of year when big fish need to eat from time to time.  And they’re much more likely to eat a big meal than a tiny one.  Get your nymphs down and dredge the bottom and generally speaking give them at least #12 or bigger.  Stick with attractors and rubber legs and flies that look buggy.  Look for fish in 10 feet of water, in structure, and off current areas.

Typically this time of year we mostly throw big junk in the form of bunny patterns, circus peanuts, and deceivers and usually employ at least sink tips.  If you don’t have a sink tip at least be sure to stick a few split shot right above the fly so that it gets down.  Fish it slowly, and pulse it from time to time so that it looks like a crippled bait fish struggling in the water column.  Work deep pools and water depth of at least 5-10 feet or more if you can.  Be patient.  This time of year it’s not about quantity.

Expect another week of partly cloudy to mostly cloudy conditions with a mix of snow and rain depending on daytime temperatures which will be largely in the mid 30s.  While some of us are desperately in need of some sunshine and a break from snow and darkness, keep in mind these are terrific fishing conditions.  It’s not too cold and skies are gray and gloomy.

Kootenai River westlope cutthroat

 

 

 


Kootenai River Montana Fishing Report 2/20/2017

This Kootenai River Montana fishing report is brought to you buy Linehan Outfitting Company and provides current river and fishing conditions.  It will be updated accordingly or as conditions change.  Feel free to call anytime if you need guides or lodging or any help with the fly fishing world.

In-flow from Lake Koocanusa: approximately cfs 4,000cfs

Discharge from Libby Dam:  4000cfs

Water Temperature Below Libby Dam: 36 degrees

Water Clarity:  Perfect

Best Time Of Day: This time of year it really doesn’t matter.

Hatches: midge

Patterns: Rubber legged stoneflies, zebra midge, lime green parachute midge, bunny streamers, circus peanut, big streamers in red and black

For a while it seemed like we were turning the corner and that winter might be loosening it’s grip here.  Days were consistently above freezing and it had actually stopped snowing.  But as I sit here and write it’s 30 degrees and snowing and it looks like we’re still in the thick of winter.  While we may indeed be getting tired of shoveling and plowing and roof raking, the snowpack is all good and will indeed make for terrific water conditions here in the Kootenai River country area this season.

Let’s see…we had a couple trips over the weekend and they turned out pretty good considering water temps are only a few degrees above freezing.  LOC guide Sam Stevenson, aka The Winter Warrior, and guest Mick D. were at it again and found a few fish over two days.

The Kootenai River is still steady and holding at minimum flows.  And with lower and more fishable flows, nymphing and streamer action is the way to go.  Water temps are only 36 degrees here on the Kootenai river at the moment so don’t expect much in the way of bug activity or dry fly action.  Go deep, go big, or go home.

This is the time of year when big fish need to eat from time to time.  And they’re much more likely to eat a big meal than a tiny one.  Get your nymphs down and dredge the bottom and generally speaking give them at least #12 or bigger.  Stick with attractors and rubber legs and flies that look buggy.  Look for fish in 10 feet of water, in structure, and off current areas.

Typically this time of year we mostly throw big junk in the form of bunny patterns, circus peanuts, and deceivers and usually employ at least sink tips.  If you don’t have a sink tip at least be sure to stick a few split shot right above the fly so that it gets down.  Fish it slowly, and pulse it from time to time so that it looks like a crippled bait fish struggling in the water column.  Work deep pools and water depth of at least 5-10 feet or more if you can.  Be patient.  This time of year it’s not about quantity.

Expect another dark week with little or no sunshine.  Snow and rain showers will prevail depending on daytime temperatures which will be largely in the mid 30s.  While some of us are desperately in need of some sunshine and a break from snow and darkness, keep in mind these are terrific fishing conditions.  It’s not too cold and skies are gray and gloomy.  This should be another good week of winter fishing conditions here on the Kootenai River.  Get out there and have some fun.

LOC guide Sam Stevenson aka The Winter Warrior, and guest Mic D. with a winter Kootenai River bow.

 

 


Kootenai River Montana Fishing Report 2-14-2017

This Kootenai River fishing report is brought to you by Linehan Outfitting Company and provides the latest Kootenai River and fishing conditions. Feel free to give us a call anytime for details about the Kootenai River or if you need a guide or lodging or if there’s anything else we can help you with surrounding the fly fishing world.

In-flow from Lake Koocanusa: approximately cfs 4,2000cfs

Discharge from Libby Dam:  4000cfs

Water Temperature Below Libby Dam: 35 degrees

Water Clarity:  Perfect

Best Time Of Day: This time of year it really doesn’t matter.

Hatches: midge

Patterns: Rubber legged stoneflies, zebra midge, lime green parachute midge, bunny streamers, circus peanut, big streamers in red and black

It’s good to be back writing a report after a couple weeks with relatively no changes.  But damn, did we get a change last week.  The Kootenai river valley and this northwest corner of Montana received record snowfall last week.  Within four hours the area received between 4-5 feet of snow depending on location.  It was the biggest snow event we’ve seen in 28 years.  And that was on top of about 3 feet of snow.  We’ve had more snow during the winter but this was the most we’ve seen in one storm.  We literally just finished digging out and had to have a front end loader and a dozer to plow and clean up.  It was awesome and obviously this is terrific and will make for great conditions this summer.

It’s also warmed up a bit and daytime temps now seem to be hovering more in the 30s instead of below zero.  It’s a welcome change and we’re thinking more about fishing again since in a way, the pre-runoff season is really only a few weeks away.

Specifically, the Kootenai River is now steady and holding at minimum flows.  And with lower and more fishable flows, nymphing and streamer action will definitely be the way to go.  Water temps are only 35 degrees here on the Kootenai river at the moment so don’t expect much in the way of bug activity or dry fly action.  Go deep, go big, or go home.

This is the time of year when big fish need to eat from time to time.  And they’re much more likely to eat a big meal than a tiny one.  Get your nymphs down and dredge the bottom and generally speaking give them at least #12 or bigger.  Stick with attractors and rubber legs and flies that look buggy.  Look for fish in 10 feet of water, in structure, and off current areas.

Typically this time of year we mostly throw big junk in the form of bunny patterns, circus peanuts, and deceivers and usually employ at least sink tips.  If you don’t have a sink tip at least be sure to stick a few split shot right above the fly so that it gets down.  Fish it slowly, and pulse it from time to time so that it looks like a crippled bait fish struggling in the water column.  Work deep pools and water depth of at least 5-10 feet or more if you can.  Be patient.  This time of year it’s not about quantity.

Expect good sunshine and daytime temps in the high 30s through end of week.  By the weekend a small front will be entering the Kootenai River area bringing cloudy skies, daytime temps in the 30s and likely a bit of snow through early next week. How much snow?  It doesn’t really look like much in the way of accumulation at this point.  Weekend warmer temps and cloudy conditions will create another nice window of opportunity to get on the river.

LOC guide and winter warrior Sam Stevenson with another Kootenai winter bow.