This Local Streams Montana Fishing Report highlights conditions on Kootenai River tributaries.
All northwest Montana small, local streams and tributaries of the Kootenai River are in great shape. What with low snowpack and very little runoff, small streams are fishing earlier than we can remember. It might be a good idea to enjoy them now since by end of July they will all be low and slow. Attractor patterns like royal wulffs, trudes, stimulators, chubbies, caddis, parachute Adams are working and dry fly fishing is terrific. Hatches include, pmds, caddis, stoneflies and green drakes. Get out there now and enjoy local small streams because it appears conditions might not last very long this season.
Run-off is officially over here in Kootenai country and tributaries, small streams, and creeks are very fishable. Depending on where you go, some streams and creeks are still difficult to fish since you can’t quite cross as necessary. Be careful wading. Most are down and very wade-able at this point and access from the water line is great. Look for fish in buckets, runs, and bigger pools. Hatches include golden stoneflies, green drakes, pmds, and caddis. Patterns like stimulators, royal wulffs, tarantulas, Freddies, Bloom’s caddis, elk hair caddis, chubbies, and hellboys are all good bets. Dry/dropper is the best way to go but if you feel like finding the biggest fish in the run, throw a big bugger and see what happens.
Small streams here in the northwest corner of Montana are starting to shape up quickly. Kootenai tributaries are dropping now that low and mid elevation snowpack has melted. Water temps are rising into the high 40’s and low 50’s and bugs should start hatching this week. Kootenai River tributaries are still just a bit high but are also very fishable at the moment.
Hatches of golden stones and salmon flies are showing up on some streams. Dry fly fishing is improving day by day and will pop in the this week as daytime are expected to be in the low 70’s with partly sunny skies.
Stick with big attractor patterns like stimulators, royal wullfs, tarantulas, hellboys and other foam floaters.
Patterns: bh prince, bh pheasant tail, nitro caddis, caddis emerger, supa pupa, parachute Adams, parachute hopper, royal wulff, royal trude, elk hair caddis, Bloom’s caddis, Chubbys, hoppers
Cooler weather and partly cloudy days have made for some much better dry fly action during the day. It’s still not lights out with big bugs but you have to give them a try. The time is right and hopper/dropper rigs are moving fish along grassy banks with good current and good depth. Royal wulffs, trudes, humpys, and small stimulators are all good searching patterns and have been moving fish as well. Caddis are still very active popping in certain riffles throughout the day and swarming and bouncing during the evening. Wulff/caddis dropper is a good bet.
Nymphing has been moving some bigger fish especially in deeper water, drop offs, and choppy, fast currents. Stick with a big lead fly and a #16 bead head hare’s ear, pheasant tail, or green goblin dropper.
Best Time Of Day: What with cooler daytime temps, cloud cover, and rain, fishing has been good throughout the day.
Hatches: pmd’s, caddis, midge, terrestrials (hoppers, beetles and ants)
Patterns: parachute pmd, parachute Adams, cdc pmd emerger, Bloom’s caddis, x-caddis, elk hair caddis, caddis pupa, caddis supa pupa, nitro caddis emerger, royal wulff, royal trude, hoppers, bh pheasant tail, bh hare’s ear, bh prince nymph, bh caddis pupa, orange bh pheasant tail, white circus peanut streamer
The Kootenai is in great shape at the moment and 14,000cfs is a terrific flow.
Surprisingly it was kind of slow the last few days. With much needed and welcome rain and cloud cover we thought the dry fly fishing would be epic. But it was just kind of okay. The fish seemed a bit shocked by the pressure change and even the nymphing was marginal. But today was a differnet day. With the weather system moving out and a partly sunny day the fish were happy again both on top and below. Dry fly action was good throughtout the day with caddis popping below Libby and great nymphing action above town.
Expect partly sunny days and temps in the 80’s for the foreseeable future. Great weather and great conditions! Keep it loose and rig at least two rods. Try nymphing in 6-8 feet feet of good current and have the dry fly stick ready for the long, smooth runs.
It’s getting very close…hoppers and droppers are soon to be the rig du jeour.
Patterns: bh prince, bh pheasant tail, bh hare’s ear, parachute Adams, parachute pmd, royal wulff, royal trude, stimulator, chubby, purple haze, green goblin, x-caddis, elk hair caddis, cdc pmd emerger, caddis pupa, red taratula
It’s been much cooler during the day with temps in the 80’s instead of the tripple digits and the fish and anglers are clearly enjoying the difference.
Nymphing is still moving fish throughout the day and generally responsible for bigger fish as well. Not much has changed in that area. Stick with faster water and boulder gardens and 3-8 feet of depth. Run a big bug with a small dropper and a couple BB split shot as well. Set the indicator about 5-6 feet above the split shot and let it roll. You’ll hit some whiteys as well and keep the rod bent but the trout are down there too.
Dry fly fishing has been pretty good during the last couple days as well. Early mornings and evenings are still best bets for consistent action but with cooler temps and even some clouds, the fish are happier and have been looking up throughout the day in faster currents, drop-offs, and along banks with depths of 3-5 feet.
Expect partly cloudy conditions, daytime temps in the 80’s, and even possible t-storms as well for the next few days.
Best Time Of Day: Indicator nymphing in 3-6 feet of water has been great all day. If you’re looking for dry fly action it’s all about early and late for the most part although fish are starting to show interest in big bugs along grassy banks and over drop-offs into buckets.
Hatches: pmd’s, caddis, green drakes, burnt umbar aquatic moth
The Kootenai is in fine shape and fishing is pretty, darn good up and down the river.
Nymphing has been steady throughout the day. Fish are now settled into more traditional summer runs and behavior. Big rubber legs with smaller bead head droppers are really moving fish. Set your indicator about 6 feet from the top fly and definitely run two BB split shot. Look for fish in faster runs and boulder gardens and don’t overlook the softer side of things. Lately big fish have been found in tailouts and softer runs along banks likely due to their transitioning and moving up-stream to summer runs.
If you’re dry fly only kind of person it’s all about early and late for now. Pmd spinners are down on the upper river until about 10:30 am and fish are looking up along the banks and especially in the shade. When the heat and sun (and we’ve had lots of both so far this summer) start to hit the water they’ve been getting pretty shy on top. Hopper/droppers are moving fish occassionally during the heat of the day but happy hour officially kicks off with caddis action in the evening and lots of rising fish especially if you hang in there until the sun gets off the water.
It’s been hot and it’s been sunny. But it looks like we’re cooling down. Over the next few days expect daytime temps in the mid-80’s instead of high 90’s. Woo-hoo! Regular, old, cold front headed our way and it might just be enough to keep fish looking up all day.
Best Time Of Day: Nymphing is good throughout the day and dry fly fishing is best early and late
Hatches: pmd’s, caddis, green drakes, midge, aquatic moth
Patterns: Pat’s stonefly, bh prince, bh pheasant tail, bh hare’s ear, caddis pupa, green goblin, pmd sparkle dun, parachute pmd, parachute pheasant tail, parachute Adams, Bloom’s caddis, x-caddis, red butt caddis, supa pupa, purple haze, green drake emerger, cdc green drake dun
Finally flows from Libby Dam have decreased dramatically from over the last several days. This has been what we’ve been waiting for! The river is now settling in to 14000cfs and stable flows through end of August.
Immediately the dry fly action increased during the day since fish are now able to readily eat on top. They are fresh, willing, and eager to take dries so get it while you can.
Look for pmd spinners in the morning and good hatches during late afternoon. Caddis are still coming off in certain riffles during the day and heavy swarms are still active up and down the river with egg laying and spent adults covering the water in the evening. Hang in there until dark and you’ll see spectacular numbers of rising fish on caddis.
14,000cfs is a great flow and the Koot is finally lighting up for real!
Flows are still high but the Kootenai is very fishable. Water clarity is perfect, pmds and caddis are popping, and daytime temps have been in the low 80’s. Expect more of the same through early next week.
Nymphing is still pretty much the name of the game. Look for fish right next to submerged grass and let it roll down the banks. They are starting to spread out and are less concentrated in buckets and soft water. It’s a big river so you just have to stick with the program. Set the indicator about six feet from the first fly and two Gremlin BB’s seem to be the right weight. If you lay up in a deeper run, don’t be afraid to add weight and fish deeper.
Dry fly action has been picking up in the last couple days. If you make the commitment, you will be rewarded. Be accurate and keep your bug right on the edge of the submerged grass. Royal wullf/goddard caddis is a great combination at the moment. Pmd’s are popping in riffles and off the edge of submerged islands around 4:00 pm and in certain locations fish are stacking up and looking up and making for some solid raz-ma-taz, bingo action.
Expect consistent partly sunny, relatively calm days for the early part of the week. Oh yeah…did I mention a few green drakes were seen today? Think size 10 royal wulff.
Local tributaries and small streams are in excellent shape and fishing well. Attractor patterns are best bets and don’t be afraid to stick it out until right before dark for some great dry fly action. Get out the small rods and get your feet wet.
Flows from Libby Dam are decreasing and the river is now very fishable again. It’s still big and all about float fishing but it’s coming down and the fish are responding.
Nymphing is still very consistent. Look for fish down soft seams, next to submerged grass and especially next to and below submerged, grassy islands. Don’t be fooled into thinking you need to run long and deep. Short leashing has been the most effective program so set your indicator about five feet from you split shot and stick with 2-5 feet of water.
Caddis and pmds are active especially in the evenings. With bright, sunny days dry fly action is pretty much limited to evenings. Look for noses and rising fish in softer water below submerged islands, on deeper banks, and in the tailouts of long runs.
Flows are expected to remain around 25,000 cfs for another few days but conditions have improved dramatically and it looks like it’s game time again here on the Kootenai.
Small streams and tributaries are also in great shape. Warm days make for great wet wading conditions and in most instances all you need for the day is a couple royals wullfs, stimulators or parachute Adams.
Local lakes and ponds are still fishing well but with warm days activity is pretty much concentrated to the early mornings and evenings.