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

- Refill of Lake Koocanusa has begun.

- Libby Dam outflow will increase from 4.5 kcfs to 6.2 kcfs on Friday, April 29th, starting at 07:00 MST.

- Libby Dam outflow will increase from 6.2 kcfsto 8.0 kcfs on Sunday, May 1st, starting at 07:00 MST.

The Initial Control Flow (ICF) as measured at The Dalles was declared for May 7th, which designated the start of refill for Libby Dam as April 27nd. The April VarQ flow is 16.1 kcfs, based on the April water supply forecast for a 6992 KAF Apr-Aug inflow volume (115% of average). As long as inflows are less than 16.1 kcfs, releases will match average inflows. Libby Dam outflows will increase from 4.5 kcfs to 6.2 kcfs on Friday morning, April 29th and increase from 6.2 kcfs to 8.0 kcfs.

Water temperature at Libby Dam: 42 degrees

Hatches: midge, baetis

patterns:  zebra midge, parachute Adams, parachute pmd, Rosenbauer's olive rabbit foot emerger, purple haze, purple chubby, red chubby, olive sparkle dun,bh prince, soft SJ worm, bh pheasant tail, bh rubber legged stonefly, big streamers in white, pink and olive, circus peanut, black conehead buggers

The Kootenai River is currently in excellent shape and spring fishing conditions are terrific as well.  Gray days with slightly warmer daytime temperatures are helping the situation.

Flows from Libby Dam will increase slightly over the weekend.  Refill of Lake Koocanusa has begun. See above flow information for details.  But what this means is that runoff has started and it's more than likely flows will be increasing through the month of May in a gradual manner.  Conditions will remain good and fishable unless a dramatic flow increase is necessary.  That's not likely for the next seven days or so since daytime temps will not be too warm.  This time of year it's always best to call the Libby Dam each day for exact flow information at 406-293-3421.

With runoff tributaries can bump and add a bit of color to the river but unless we get substantial rain, good conditions will remain.  Don't worry if the river is a bit off color.  It will continue to fish well unless it really gets blown out.  That said, there is no big rain or even real warm daytime temperatures in the immediate future.  That means we can generally expect another good week of fishing.

Dry fly action has started.  Don't expect to see much insect activity until later in the afternoons.  Look for baetis, March browns, and early caddis.  If you see fish rising, they will most likely eat a dry.  Even though it's early in the season a good drift is still necessary to since most of surface activity is being in slick runs and soft pools. 

This is always a good time of year for nymphing.  With low flows you don't need a heavy rig.  You just need to get the flies down in softer runs and pools where trout are most likely to be holding this time of year.  Don't spend a ton of time fishing fast riffles. 

Streamer fishing is also productive this time of year especially since bigger fish will be hungry after laying low for a couple months during the dead of winter.  Keep in mind they will not necessarily want to move too fast or too far to get a meal.  Get your streamers down and fish them slowly and erratically.  Nothing like a wounded minnow to get a big rainbow interested in at least a sniff.

The Sox have dropped a few of the opening games in the late innings which is always disappointing.  That said, the defensive and infield is intact and Dalbec, Story, Bogaerts, and Devers are solid and playing well.  Bats are hitting well and we're getting men on base.  For now late inning pitching has stumbled but it's only the first full week of the season and there's lots of baseball left.  Go Sox!!!  

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

We look forward to hearing from you.  406-295-4872

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