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.

Hatches: midge, baetis,

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

It's the middle of February and the winter and so far it's been particularly mild.  Aside from a super sub zero cold spell for ten days back in January daytime temps have been above normal and at this point the Kootenai drainage is at 75% snowpack.  We need more and I'm guessing we'll get it but for now, pray for snow.

The Kootenai River is in great shape.  Low flows offer great drift fishing and walk/wade access as well.

Most boat ramps are pretty clean and free of snow at this point.  Be careful and check before you back down since depending on time of day there is a chance for ice buildup which could make the situation sketchy.  Best to have a two rope in order to avoid backing down under tricky conditions.

Yesterday we did see a few fish on top popping midge.  Dry fly action is still very random at the moment.  Regardless, good to see a few fish on top.

Get those nymphing and streamer rods rigged and ready for action for the next couple weeks and until water temps start to warm up just a bit.  At the moment dry fly action is pretty minimal but it will not be long before olives, midge and March browns start to pop and fish become more active.  When will that happen?  Honestly, insect activity is still a few weeks out and we generally see hatches starting around the middle of March. 

Right now, 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.

It's no coincidence that I write this report today since it's the first time I feel like I can start adding Boston Red Sox news as well.  Pitchers and catchers reported to spring training today and that's always a bright spot in my annual calendar.  For some reason when this day arrives I'm able to at least imagine winter coming to an end.  It's still dark and gray here in Yaak, MT but the boys of summer have started to work out and that's always a cause for celebration in my book.  GO SOX!

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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