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!!!