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 guides available and we’re the local source for all things surrounding the Kootenai River. Give a call anytime if you have any questions about the Kootenai River or anything about Montana fly fishing or fly fishing in general.
Discharge from Libby Dam: the Present discharge from Libby Dam is 6000cfs
In-flow from Lake Koocanusa: 5,900 cfs
Water temperature below Libby Dam: 59 degrees
Water Clarity: summer time clear
Best Time of day: Conditions are good throughout the entire day
Hatches: hoppers, caddis, pmd mayflies, crane flies, midge
Patterns: pmd adults, pmd spinners, elk hair caddis, caddis emerger, ascending caddis, supa pupa, royal wulff, parachute Adams, purple haze, yellow haze, chubby, bubble back nymph, quasi moto nymph, 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, chubbies, hoppers, ants
It’s a bit smoky up here in Kootenai country at the moment. There are a couple fires in the immediate area but the Kootenai is still in great shape and fishing pretty well. The upshot of smoke and haze is faux cloud cover and happier fish. All boat ramps and river access sites up and down the river are still open and no restrictions to that end are in place at the moment.
Caddis and pmd activity is definitely about over. They are still around and caddis are still bouncing in certain riffles and runs up and down the river and fish are still apt to grab a small Goddard from time to time during the late afternoon or evening. Attractors like royal Wulffs are likely bets in 2-3 feet of quick current as well as bigger parachute Adams.
Hoppers and droppers and terrestrial patterns are totally in play now. Over the last week big bugs have been the ticket. Foam will work, but in glassy, slick water keep in mind natural materials are often better here on the Kootenai River. Think Schroeder’s parachute hopper, bugmeisters, even stimulators and fish them with at least a 10 foot leader. 5x will help. But often times big bugs will spin 5x tippets so you’ll have to play that as it comes. Some days it seems bread and butter Kootenai River rainbows are looking up all day and eager for a big meal. Other days not so much. And interestingly enough, droppers aren’t really moving that many fish. Most of the LOC guides are running two dry flies for that matter and small hoppers or chubbies with a caddis pattern or emerger are moving fish.
There are gobs of 10″ rainbows in the system this year which has made for great dry fly action regardless. If it’s calm, 4 weights have been best tool for the job on most days this season for dry fly fishing. If you’re looking to move consistently bigger fish in the 12″-14″ range or maybe better, stick with a big bug, roll longer, and cover water.
Nymphing is moving some bigger fish but they’re deep and holding in tailouts and around cover. Don’t expect trout the be in riffles much during the day and especially since bug activity has decreased. Look for fish in deep, blue water and in depths of 5-10 feet. Two BB split shot will help and be aggressive on moving indicator up and down depending on depth. Trout are moving a great deal this time of year and under these conditions. Specifically they’ll head for faster water to feed and then fall way back into blue water to the pools and tailouts to hold. Get bugs down, fish every inch of the river, enjoy catching whitefish, and you will find some thicker rainbows too.
Again, the smoke has made for dark days and streamer action has picked up a bit and will only get better as the fall deepens. Think 250 grain sinking heads and big, really big white streamers. We have had some success early and late which is best bet for pulling junk anyway.
Expect daytime temps to remain in the low 90s but with smoke and shorter days it just doesn’t feel that hot. There is a chance of t-storms and or showers on middle of the week. Mornings are refreshingly cool and shadows are sliding across the river earlier in the evenings.
In other news, the BOSTON RED SOX are holding on to first place in the American League East and just keep winning in the late innings. Young blood and rookies are have made a huge and exciting impact on the team lately and even though there’s lots of baseball left the Sox are playing well.