Tim Linehan on Montana's Kootenai River

This Kootenai River Montana fishing report is being brought to you by Orvis Endorsed Linehan Outfitting.  This report will be updated weekly to provide current conditions, weather, hatches, patterns, and flows to our local waters and across the state.

Flows from Libby Dam:

Outflows will hold steady at 4.0kcfs until further notice.

Short term forecasts for Libby Dam elevations and inflow:


Hatches: midge, baetis,

patterns:  zebra midge, parachute Adams, big junk like dungeons, circus peanuts in white, red and black.


Well, it's early winter now here on the Kootenai River. It's actually been kind of mild for the entire month and at the moment we could use some snow.

This time of year you can expect fluctuations in flows from Libby Dam.  Best to give the Libby Dam recording a call for details.  406-293-3421.  User friendly flows are under 15,000 cfs. That said, looks like low flows will be the norm until further notice.  What does that mean?  It means the Kootenai is very fishable under low flow conditions.  Get out there while you can.

Unfortunately there's not much in the way of dry fly action here in the winter.  Get those nymphing and streamer rods rigged and ready for action. 

Big fish are on the prowl and looking for a big meal.  With low flows the entire water column is penetrable.  Depth Charge sinking tips are perfectly good and stick with soft runs three to ten feet deep.  The streamer bite has been a day by day thing.  Cloud cover will help.  Don't expect numbers and if you get a couple or a few you've done well.

Keep in mind this time of year trout will be holding in softer water, off current areas, deep pools and runs, and especially around cover.  Fish nymphs and streamers slowly.  Get them down and keep them near the bottom.  Trout will not move as far or as aggressively to feed during the winter and when water temperatures are cold.

Give a call anytime if you need more Kootenai River details or information on any our hunting or fishing adventures.  And please check out our e-commerce site for all Linehan Outfitting branded soft wear and hats and all Orvis gear as well. https://linehan-outfitting.myshopify.com/

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