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 9000cfs
In-flow from Lake Koocanusa: 7,400 cfs
Water temperature below Libby Dam: 64 degrees
Water Clarity: summer time clear
Best Time of day: Conditions are good throughout the entire day
Hatches: 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
At the moment we’re getting a bit of smoke, more like haze, from fires to north and south of us. But presently we don’t have any local forest fires and we’re clicking along day to day here at Linehan Outfitting Company. Actually the haze has created faux cloud cover making for much better fishing conditions and breaking up bright sunshine.
Dry fly action has been pretty steady the last few days. Pmd spinner falls are still sputtering along in various places up and down the river around 10:00 am. If you happen to be in the right place at the right time, get out the 6x and give them a good drift. Some days they’re happy to eat a purple haze. Other days they’re snooty and you better have a down wing, low riding pattern. The good news is that they’re on top, you can see them, and target rich environments should continue for a few more mornings. If you get lucky and happen to be in riffle, the success will be better. In glassy, mirrored water like up near the Libby Dam, you better have your best game on because with high sunshine the fish will be a bit more spooky.
Caddis activity has been pretty good lately as well. During the day there are times and water types where you might find adults emerging and popping and you many even have some nice trout crashing around during high sunshine and during the heat of the day. For the most part the caddis action has been late in the evening, right before last light, and mostly about a happy hour scenario. Goddards, x-caddis, and Bloom’s caddis are all good patterns that will move fish.
Hoppers and droppers are also very much in play now. Big bug action has not necessarily been red hot every day. 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 has been solid throughout the day. We’ve found ourselves fishing dry flies in the morning and then scratching away during the afternoon with nymphs. Don’t expect trout the be in riffles during heat of afternoon under sunshine and hot temperatures. 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.
Bright, sunny days aren’t necessarily the best streamer weather but if you’re inclined, 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 weekend daytime temps to hover around 93 degrees with possible thunder storms as well. By Monday a much welcome cooler air flow will enter the area and daytime temps will finally normalize and be in the 80s through the remainder of the week. Let’s hope they stay that way for the rest of the month.
In other news, the BOSTON RED SOX are in first place again and keeping the American League East race very exciting. I have a feeling we’ll be watching the Red Sox here in Kootenai River country late into October. But we’ll see. LET’S GO RED SOX!