This Kootenai River fishing report is brought to you by Linehan Outfitting Company and provides current Kootenai River and fishing conditions. It will be updated frequently or as conditions change. We have guides available and we’re the local source for all things 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: the Present discharge from Libby Dam is 4000cfs
In-flow from Lake Koocanusa: 4200 cfs
Kootenai River water temperature below Libby Dam: 50 degrees
Water Clarity: gin clear
Best Time of day: Conditions are good throughout the entire day
Hatches: baetis, midge
Patterns: parachute Adams, purple parachute Adams, midge cluster, green meanie midge, purple chubby, red chubby, tan parachute hopper, royal Wulff, zebra midge, green goblin, olive emerger, pt soft hackle, bead head pt, bh copper john, red bh copper john, big bunny streamers and deceivers in red, pink and olive.
Fall has deepened and the larch and cottonwoods are now a deep rust color having lost their brilliant early season hues. But the Kootenai River is still in super shape and conditions are still perfectly good as well.
There’s still some dry fly fishing to be had and there are presently a couple ways to think about that. Running long and covering water in the boat with attractors like royal wuflls, chubbies, stimulators with a size 16 or size 18 baetis or parachute Adams as a dropper will move fish on top. Additionally, hatches of baetis and midge have been sporadic but when they’re happening, fish are looking up and targets are available. If you’re working rising fish, be sure to roll with at least a 10′ leader and 6x will definitely help.
Nymphing has been spotty. Gin clear water has fish a bit spooky especially if they see a bobber in skinnier water. Deep water will offer better nymphing results. Think about 5-8 feet off shelves, in tailouts and pools, and around boulder gardens. Use fluro and think size 14 and 16. If you’re up near the Libby Dam, try zebra midges and be sure to get them down.
This is the time of year when hucking streamers can really pay off. It’s all about sticking with the program, making a commitment, and understanding that it’s an all or nothing game. Sink tips are necessary and concentrate on the middle of the river down the deepest channels and around structure. Fish are on the prowl this time of year for a big meal. 7 weights will also help get the gear in the right place.
Expect a terrific weekend with partly sunny skies. Mornings will be crisp and cold and in the 30s. By afternoons daytime temps will be in the 50s. Winds will be light and variable. It should be great weekend. Get on the water and enjoy these late fall days here on the Kootenai River.
(photo caption: Chow time on red and white streamer for this Kootenai River rainbow)