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.
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.