This Kootenai River fishing report is brought to you by Orvis Endorsed Outfitter Linehan Outfitting and provides current Kootenai River and fishing conditions. It will be updated frequently or as conditions change. Linehan Outfitting Company is the best local source for all information 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: This time of year flows may fluctuate daily from 10,000cfs-20,000cfs
In-Flow From Lake Koocanusa: Approximately 3,600 cfs
Kootenai River water temperature below Libby Dam: 47 degrees
Water Clarity: Water clarity is terrific. The river is gin clear this time of year.
Hatches: midge, baetis
Patterns: parachute Adams, purple chubby, red chubby, hopper patterns, terrestrial patterns, parachute pmd, rusty spinner, spent caddis, elk hair caddis, Blooms caddis, caddis pupa, prince nymph, soft hackle pheasant tail, Pat’s rubber legged stonefly, SJ worms, Orvis bead head pt, Orvis bh copper john, red bh copper john, big bunny streamers and deceivers in red, pink and white, and white circus peanut
This time of year fluctuations in flows make conditions inconsistent.
Dry fly action is minimal. It’s winter and flows have fish moving throughout the day by necessity.
Nymphing is best bet if you’re going to get on the water. Fish may not be as aggressive as water temperatures starting to fall. The bite might be a bit more subtle so check anything you think might be a hit.
Look for fish in slower currents, buckets, tailouts, drop-offs and especially around cover and down rocky runs. Slip your bugs above and especially below boulders in the cushions as fish will be concentrated in soft pockets. This time of year fish will be holding in deeper runs 4-6 feet deep and in walking speed plus water currents. Don’t overlook off current areas either like back eddies, small foam pockets, and the top of runs where the current just barely starts to pick up.
Be brave and confident. Get out the bigger rods and throw streamers. This is actually a great time of year to pick up a big fish. Fish streamers slowly with a pulse now and again to make them look like struggling baitfish.
7 Day Weather Outlook: Expect cold mornings with temps in the teens and 20s and daytime temps in the low 30s.