Local Small Streams
June through October
Rainbow, Westlope Cutthroat, Brook Trout
Average Size On Average Day:
8 or 9ft, three or four weight medium action fly rod
The Kootenai River basin and surrounding national forest has literally hundreds of miles of small streams just begging to be fished with a three weight rod. These tributaries are primarily freestone and full of wild and native rainbows, westlope cutthroats, and brookies averging 8″-10″ but occasionally we’re thrilled and surprised by an 18 incher.
At any time standing in one of these small streams, you half expect Gandalf to come striding through the dark timber, staff in hand, his band of Hobbits in tow. These waters tumble straight out of the heart of Kootenai country and ribbon down from the mountains through dense, coniferous forests often misty in the morning.
While we do float some of the small streams early in the season, walk-wading is more the standard. With miles of water and a wild rainbow behind every rock, these streams are best fished with your feet wet. Attractor patterns are the rule of thumb and dry fly fishing is a must. Occasionally we’ll attach a dropper if the sun is high and the fish are shy but for all intents and purposes, you could fish a size 14 royal Wulff all day and catch plenty of fish. And if you happen to lose that royal Wulff, you could probably tie on a piece of your shoelace and still catch a few. These fish are truly jewels, bedazzled with bright red gillplates and lateral lines and stunning displays of black spots peppered from head to tail.
Our local small streams are not meant to be fished in a hurry. And these waters are less about big fish and more about just the act of fishing. You’re more apt to share a pool with a moose than another angler and its wild and native rainbows, cutthroats, and brookies, once released from your hand, will linger in your mind for a very long time.