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.

 

 


Kootenai River Montana Fishing Report 1-31-2017

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.
Discharge from Libby Dam: 10,000cfs.

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

Water Temperature Below Libby Dam: 40 degrees

Water Clarity:  Perfect

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

Hatches: midge and baetis

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

It’s been snowing here in Kootenai River country as well.  Presently snowpack is building and things are looking good for a normal runoff event and excellent water conditions this spring summer.  That always depends on what Mother Nature has in store but at the moment, we’re in good shape.

Kootenai River country has been gifted with much more normal temperatures the last ten days and we’ve been able to get on the water.  It’s certainly not exactly balmy but after more sub-zero days than we can remember in a long time during December and January, it’s a welcome break and feels mild these days.

With lower and more fishable flows, nymphing and streamer action will definitely be the way to go.  Water temps are only 40 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 a cold nights, clear skies and daytime temps in the 20s through Friday.  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 so mostly a couple few inches at the most.  Weekend warmer temps and cloudy conditions will create another nice window of opportunity to get on the river.

January Kootenai River rainbow

 

 


Kootenai River Montana Fishing Report 1-14-2017

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.
Discharge from Libby Dam: 10,000cfs.

In-flow from Lake Koocanusa: approximately 3,600 cfs

Water Temperature Below Libby Dam: 40 degrees

Water Clarity:  Perfect

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

Hatches: midge and baetis

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

It looks like we may be heading into a period where the Kootenai river and conditions might actually be fishable.  It’s been brutally cold.  In fact we’ve had more below zero temperatures than we can remember.  On top of that, flows from Libby Dam have been running at essentially full powerhouse capacity making the Kootenai River monster big.

It’s been snowing here in Kootenai River country as well.  Presently snowpack is above average and things are looking good for a normal runoff event and excellent water conditions this spring summer.  That always depends on what Mother Nature has in store but at the moment, we’re in good shape.

Warmer and more normal temperatures are heading this way.  This morning I let the dogs out at first light and it was a balmy 10 degrees.  I’m not kidding!  It felt great and this is the first morning in many days that has been above 0.  A warm air mass will enter the area early in the week bringing much more normal temperatures so if you’ve been jonesing to get on the water, this week might offer a nice window of opportunity.

With lower and more fishable flows, nymphing and streamer action will definitely be the way to go.  Water temps are only 40 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 gray skies and significantly warmer daytime temps in the high 30s-40 degrees through the coming week.  They’re talking rain in Libby and for the Kootenai River valley.  Higher elevations above 4000 feet will likely to continue to get snow.  For the most part it looks like this week could offer good conditions.

Linehan Outfitting Company guide Sam Stevenson with a thick Kootenai winter bow.
Linehan Outfitting Company guide Sam Stevenson with a thick Kootenai winter bow.

Kootenai River Montana Fishing Report 12-17-2016

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.

Discharge from Libby Dam: 26,7000 cfs
Outflow will remain at power house capacity through the end of November. Powerhouse capacity changes with different lake elevations. It is expected that powerhouse capacity will range between 24 kcfs and 26 kcfs through the month of November.

In-flow from Lake Koocanusa: approximately 3,500 cfs

Water Temperature Below Libby Dam: 45 degrees

Water Clarity: From the Libby Dam downstream to the confluence of the Fisher River the water is gin clear.

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

Hatches: midge and baetis

Patterns: Rubber legged stoneflies, zebra midge, lime green parachute midge, bunny streamers, circus peanut, deceivers

It’s cold.  Period.  With temps well below zero and full powerhouse flows coming out of Libby Dam conditions are not good.  We suggest staying home and eat, drink and be merry.  Watch Jimmy Stewart slide around in white cornflakes, catch Chevy Chase being a classic goof ball, and don’t miss the Polar Express!

Expect more wicked cold temperatures through at least mid-week.  By mid-week it looks like we might warm up a bit and get some snow.  But that’s being relative.  Daytime temps are predicted to remain below normal for the entire week.  But we may see days in the 20s which will feel balmy after running below zero.

We have availability for the 2017 season and encourage you to consider giving your nice (or naughty for that matter) angler a fishing adventure for the Christmas.  Can you imagine how happy that guy or gal will be.  Give a shout anytime, peace, and happy holidays from us here at Linehan Outfitting Company.

 

Bottomed out and our thermometer only goes to -10!
Bottomed out and our thermometer only goes to -10!

 

 

 


Kootenai River Montana Fishing Report 11-12-2016

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.

Discharge from Libby Dam: 20,000-25,000 cfs

Outflow will remain at power house capacity through the end of November. Powerhouse capacity changes with different lake elevations. It is expected that powerhouse capacity will range between 24 kcfs and 26 kcfs through the month of November.

In-flow from Lake Koocanusa: approximately 13,000 cfs

Water Temperature Below Libby Dam: 46 degrees

Water Clarity: From the Libby Dam downstream to the confluence of the Fisher River the water is gin clear.  Below the Fisher River and continuing downstream through Libby tributaries are pushing color into specific sections of the river from time to time due to heavy rain.

Best Time Of Day: Conditions are great throughout the entire day this time of year.

Hatches: midge and baetis

Patterns: Rubber legged stoneflies, zebra midge, lime green parachute midge, bh copper johh, bh hare’s ear, bh prince, double bh stonefly, sj worm, bh lightening bug, parachute Adams, purple haze, March brown, brown soft hackle, white and purple bunny streamers, royal wulff, stimulator, Hellboy, elk hair caddis, caddis pupa, grouse soft hackle, chubbys, Bloom’s parachute ant, brown foam ant, copper haze

With high flows it’s all about being in the boats now.  And it appears that’s the program through at least the end of the month. And to be honest, conditions are not really that great.  But if you’re inclined, consider the following information and good luck.

You might find some fish on dries but now that the water is high, stick with off current areas, banks, and long, slow runs. There seems to be a sweet spot for a couple hours between 1-3 pm where fish are a bit more willing to look up and eat on top.  Otherwise, it’s mostly picky-pockey here and there.  Near the mouths of tributaries there is still a bit of color being pushed into the river due to all the rain.

Big bugs are likely best bet as fish are looking for good meals.  So, give the big dry/dropper a shot too.  Olives are still pulsing and midge are active.  Soft hackles are always a good bet for a dropper this time of year.  Don’t be afraid to try something out of the box like a big stimulator or a pattern fish may not have seen.

Let’s talk about nymphing for a minute…this time of year big fish are on the prowl and will sometimes get aggressive subsurface.  It’s not always on fire.  But bigger fish are hugging the bottom since hatches are generally scarce this time of year.  Keep in mind water clarity and to that end, be sure to use fluorocarbon tippet which reflects less light and will definitely help.  Big attractors the have life to them like rubber legged stoneflies with small droppers will move fish.  I really like a size 18 tunghead zebra midge as a dropper this time of year.  And we all know, big fish eat very small flies.  Look for fish in cover, and especially in deeper runs with good current about 4-8 feet deep.  And keep in mind strikes might be light.

Big fish have been kind of shy lately and streamer action has not been what we might expect for this time of year.  That said, you’re never going to run up big numbers pulling streamers but if you get lucky and hit a couple fish, they’re likely to be much bigger than average.  And we have seen some donkeys lately so you too could be the lucky angler if you just stick with the program.  And get out the seven weights and 200 grain sink tips.  Vary the retrieve and be sure to let the fly dead drift from time to time as well.  Big fish are looking for an easy meal this time of year and will often just slide over and grab a slowly drifting streamer bouncing along the bottom.

After a super mild and dry week it looks like we’re heading back into early winter weather.  Expect showers and cooler days with temps in the 40s through midweek and then a pretty significant cooler trend will be entering the area Wednesday.  It will be bringing snow/rain mix and daytime temps in the middle 30s.  Dress for it if you’re heading out there.

LOC guest Liz getting it done in the cold, rain, and snow here on the Kootenai River.
LOC guest Liz getting it done in the cold, rain, and snow here on the Kootenai River.

 

 


Kootenai River Montana Fishing Report 11-4-2016

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.

Discharge from Libby Dam: Current outflow from Libby Dam is 4000cfs.  But there is a substantial change coming.  Starting the afternoon of Monday, November 7, the outflows at Libby Dam will start to increase. This operation is to start drafting the reservoir with an expected end of November lake elevation of approximately 2435-2440ft.

Outflow from Libby Dam will increase from 4 kcfs to 9 kcfs over three hours on Monday, 7 November, starting at 1600 MST
Outflow from Libby Dam will increase from 9 kcfs to 19 kcfs over three hours on Tuesday, 8 November, starting at 0600 MST
Outflow from Libby Dam will increase from 19 kcfs to 24 kcfs Wednesday, 9 November at 0700 MST

Outflow will remain at power house capacity through the end of November. Powerhouse capacity changes with different lake elevations. It is expected that powerhouse capacity will range between 24 kcfs and 26 kcfs through the month of November. 

In-flow from Lake Koocanusa: approximately 13,000 cfs

Water Temperature Below Libby Dam: 46 degrees

Water Clarity: From the Libby Dam downstream to the confluence of the Fisher River the water is gin clear.  Below the Fisher River and continuing downstream through Libby tributaries are pushing color into specific sections of the river from time to time due to heavy rain.

Best Time Of Day: Conditions are great throughout the entire day this time of year.

Hatches: midge and baetis

Patterns: Rubber legged stoneflies, zebra midge, lime green parachute midge, bh copper johh, bh hare’s ear, bh prince, double bh stonefly, sj worm, bh lightening bug, parachute Adams, purple haze, March brown, brown soft hackle, white and purple bunny streamers, royal wulff, stimulator, Hellboy, elk hair caddis, caddis pupa, grouse soft hackle, chubbys, Bloom’s parachute ant, brown foam ant, copper haze

What with the big increase in flows coming on Monday it look like the weekend might be the best chance left for some good fall conditions.  High flows are still fishable, but flows are running up to full powerhouse capacity which makes things pretty iffy from a conditions point of view.

For now, dry fly fishing is still moving fish here and there throughout the day.  There seems to be a sweet spot for a couple hours between 1-3 where fish are a bit more willing to look up and eat on top.  Otherwise, it’s mostly picky-pockey here and there.  Near the mouths of tributaries there is still a bit of color being pushed into the river due to all the rain.  But for the last 48 hours we’ve had a bit of a drying trend so the entire river should be very clear again soon.

Even if there’s a bit of color in the river consider 6x tippet if you’re fishing small bugs..  If you’re doing the dry fly thing for the most part think size 14-18 attractors like royal wulffs, parachute Adams, purple haze, that sort of thing.  Big bugs are actually still moving fish as this time of year as they are looking for good meals.  So, give the big dry/dropper a shot too.  Olives are still pulsing and midge are active.  Soft hackles are always a good bet for a dropper this time of year.  Don’t be afraid to try something out of the box like a big stimulator or a pattern fish may not have seen.

Let’s talk about nymphing for a minute…this time of year big fish are on the prowl and will sometimes get aggressive subsurface.  It’s not always on fire.  But bigger fish are hugging the bottom since hatches are generally scarce this time of year.  Keep in mind water clarity and to that end, be sure to use fluorocarbon tippet which reflects less light and will definitely help.  Big attractors the have life to them like rubber legged stoneflies with small droppers will move fish.  I really like a size 18 tunghead zebra midge as a dropper this time of year.  And we all know, big fish eat very small flies.  Look for fish in cover, and especially in deeper runs with good current about 4-8 feet deep.  And keep in mind strikes might be light.

Big fish have been kind of shy lately and streamer action has not been what we might expect for this time of year.  That said, you’re never going to run up big numbers pulling streamers but if you get lucky and hit a couple fish, they’re likely to be much bigger than average.  And we have seen some donkeys lately so you too could be the lucky angler if you just stick with the program.  With late season flows at 4000cfs the entire river is penetrable with a 150 grain sink tip.  Vary the retrieve and be sure to let the fly dead drift from time to time as well.  Big fish are looking for an easy meal this time of year and will often just slide over and grab a slowly drifting streamer bouncing along the bottom.

It’s looks like we’re finally getting a break from heavy rain for the first time in over thirty days.  October set a historical record for rainfall and while you may not recognize it, that big, orange thing in the sky the last couple days in indeed the sun.  Expect the fair weather to continue through most of the week with occasional chance of showers from time to time.  At least we’re going to get a break from the heavy rain.  Enjoy it and get on the water in the afternoons.

Nothing but net...
Nothing but net…

 

 

 


Kootenai River Montana Fishing Report 10-29-2016

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.
Discharge from Libby Dam: Current outflow from Libby Dam is 4000cfs
In-flow from Lake Koocanusa: 4,000 cfs
Water Temperature Below Libby Dam: 55 degrees
Water Clarity: From the Libby Dam downstream to the confluence of the Fisher River the water is gin clear.  Below the Fisher River and continuing downstream through Libby tributaries are pushing color into specific sections of the river from time to time due to heavy rain.

Best Time Of Day: Conditions are great throughout the entire day this time of year.

Hatches: midge and baetis

Patterns: Rubber legged stoneflies, zebra midge, lime green parachute midge, bh copper johh, bh hare’s ear, bh prince, double bh stonefly, sj worm, bh lightening bug, parachute Adams, purple haze, March brown, brown soft hackle, white and purple bunny streamers, royal wulff, stimulator, Hellboy, elk hair caddis, caddis pupa, grouse soft hackle, chubbys, Bloom’s parachute ant, brown foam ant, copper haze
Dry fly fishing should be pretty good since the there’s still just a hint of color in some stretches.  Otherwise, it’s gin clear and all about 6x tippet.  If you’re doing the dry fly thing for the most part think size 14-18 attractors like royal wulffs, parachute Adams, purple haze, that sort of thing.  Big bugs are actually still moving fish as this time of year as they are looking for good meals.  So, give the big dry/dropper a shot too.  Olives are still pulsing and midge are active.  Soft hackles are always a good bet for a dropper this time of year.  Don’t be afraid to try something out of the box like a big stimulator or a pattern fish may not have seen.
Let’s talk about nymphing for a minute…this time of year big fish are on the prowl and will sometimes get aggressive subsurface.  It’s not always on fire.  But bigger fish are hugging the bottom since hatches are generally scarce this time of year.  Keep in mind water clarity and to that end, be sure to use fluorocarbon tippet which reflects less light and will definitely help.  Big attractors the have life to them like rubber legged stoneflies with small droppers will move fish.  I really like a size 18 tunghead zebra midge as a dropper this time of year.  And we all know, big fish eat very small flies.  Look for fish in cover, and especially in deeper runs with good current about 4-8 feet deep.  And keep in mind strikes might be light.
Big fish have been kind of shy lately and streamer action has not been what we might expect for this time of year.  That said, you’re never going to run up big numbers pulling streamers but if you get lucky and hit a couple fish, they’re likely to be much bigger than average.  With late season flows at 4000cfs the entire river is penetrable with a 150 grain sink tip.  Vary the retrieve and be sure to let the fly dead drift from time to time as well.  Big fish are looking for an easy meal this time of year and will often just slide over and grab a slowly drifting streamer bouncing along the bottom.

Expect more gray skies and precipitation through the week with daytime temps in the high 40s-low50s.
Stay tuned for more reports or give a shout anytime.

Nothing but tail...
Nothing but tail…