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.
HAPPY MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND! The Kootenai River is clear, fishable, flows will be decreasing from Libby Dam throughout the coming week. This means conditions will be improving dramatically and so will the fishing.
Flows from Libby Dam: Current discharge from Libby Dam is 20,000cfs.
- Libby Dam outflows will begin decreasing following the conclusion of the sturgeon pulse.- Libby Dam outflows will decrease from 20 kcfs to 15 kcfs over two hours on Monday May 31st beginning at 00:00 MDT.- Libby Dam outflows will decrease from 15 kcfs to 13 kcfs over two hours on Tuesday June 1st beginning at 00:00 MDT.- Libby Dam outflows will decrease from 13 kcfs to 11 kcfs over two hours on Wednesday June 2nd beginning at 00:00 MDT.Libby Dam outflows will begin decreasing following the conclusion of the sturgeon pulse. Outflows are expected to reach a summer flow target in early to mid-June and continue refill of Koocanusa Reservoir.
water temperature at Libby Dam: 44 degrees
hatches: midge, blue winged olives, March browns, early caddis, little stoneflies
patterns: zebra midge, parachute Adams, purple haze, bugmeister, olive sparkle dun, purple chubby, bh prince, soft SJ worm, bh pheasant tail, bh rubber legged stonefly, big streamers in white, pink and olive, circus peanut, black conehead buggers
Right now the Kootenai River is in great shape. It's still on the big side as we have one more day left of sturgeon pulse but change is happening fast and for the better!
Through Monday flows will still have the river a bit high. Look for fish in off current areas, soft pockets below islands, big cushions, and walking speed current with depths of 3-6 feet. Keep in mind trout will seek refuge out of big current and will be spread out and not necessarily concentrated.
While the river is dropping throughout the week, expect fish to be moving and finding new lies as they adapt to an entirely lower volume of water. This means they will start to be more concentrated in traditional early summer areas like runs and soon enough moving into riffles too. Immediately you may have to poke around to find fish and it may even take them a while to start feeding normally again after the water comes down for good by mid-June.
It looks like we'll be having a terrific Memorial Day weekend of weather. Summer has arrived. At least for this week. Expect daytime temps in the high 80s and maybe even 90! Yeah...seems kind of early. By the end of the week normal temperatures in the 60s-70s will return with partly sunny skies and chance of precipitation.
Dry fly action is pretty good is you're on the water and get some insect activity during the late afternoon. Look for early caddis here and there and blue winged olives and March brown mayflies. If you see a rising fish, you're in business. Don't expect fish to be push overs. They will not be too fussy but you will need to feed them cleanly. Make a good cast, target trout noses, and get a good drift.
For now, nymphing is still the best bet. You don't need a bunch of junk and with low flows you really don't need that much weight either. Set your indicator about 6 feet from the first fly and start with a single BB splitshot. Concentrate on walking speed current and 3-6 feet of water. Boulder gardens and softer currents will hold fish. Trout are less likely to be in faster water or riffles this time of year.
Streamer action has been picking up. As I always remind you, don't expect big numbers. You will not hook up as often compared to nymphing, but you may hook up with a significantly bigger fish. Keep the fly down and fish it slowly. Make sure it stays near or at the bottom for as long as possible. You can even dead drift a streamer this time of year with success as well. 15 foot depth charge sinking tips are best. Full sinking lines are not really that necessary during periods of low flows. White deceivers, circus peanuts, and purple will move fish.
All access points and boat ramps are clear. Don't forget from Libby Dam downstream to the mouth of the Fisher River is closed this time of year for spawning. Wading conditions are great under low flows especially below between the Kootenai Falls and Bighorn Terrace boat ramp. Nymphing in this stretch and through China Rapids section has been very productive lately.
In other news, the Boston Red Sox are off to a great start and currently have the best record in MLB! he pitching staff has started to come together and the names of Rodriquez, Eovaldi, Perez, and Barnes are starting to become known across MLB. Bats have been making contact and putting runners on base as offensive led by Kike Hernandez, Bogarts, Gonzalez, Martinez, Dalbec, Verdugo,Devers and Verdugo has really stepped up run production. Go Sox!