Kootenai River Fishing Report by Linehan Outfitting Company 6.20.19
By angelamontana

Posted: June 21, 2019

This Kootenai River fishing report is brought to you by Orvis Endorsed Outfitter Linehan Outfitting Company 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:

Libby Dam outflow will ramp down as the sturgeon pulse ends and Libby Dam transitions to summer flows. Summer flows are expected to remain at 7 kcfs through July and August. Scheduled flow changes through June 26 are as follows:

Date Time MST Change Flows
Wednesday, 6/19 00-24 constant 20 kcfs
Thursday, 6/20 21-23 decrease 20 kcfs to 15 kcfs
Friday, 6/21 22-23 decrease 15 kcfs to 13 kcfs
Saturday, 6/22 22-23 decrease 13 kcfs to 11 kcfs
Sunday, 6/23 22-23 decrease 11 kcfs to 9 kcfs
Monday, 6/24 22-23 decrease 9 kcfs to 8 kcfs
Tuesday, 6/25 22-23 decrease 8 kcfs to 7 kcfs
Wednesday, 6/26 00-24 constant 7 kcfs

In-Flow From Lake Koocanusa: Approximately 29,000 cfs

Kootenai River water temperature below Libby Dam: 49 degrees

Water Clarity:  Clear and in good shape

Hatches: midge, caddis

Patterns: parachute Adams, Orvis purple parachute Adams, zebra midge, green goblin, olive emerger, elk hair caddis, caddis pupa, Bloom’s parachute caddis, headlight caddis, soft hackle pheasant tail, Pat’s rubber legged stonefly, SJ worms, pt soft hackle, 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

The Kootenai River is in excellent shape and flows of 20,000 cfs make wading a bit difficult but are perfect for floating. All the channels are full of water and there’s good current along banks. The season is officially under and conditions are terrific.

Best techniques and tips:
Dry fly fishing is picking up with caddis now in play. Hatches are increasing as a result of warm days and warmer water temperatures. Look for fish in slick pools, flatwater, and off current areas. Attractor patterns like Wullfs and parachutes are best bets for top water action if you feel like prospecting. Fish an elk hair caddis or soft hackle pupa as a dropper and you should move fish especially in the evenings.

Indicator nymphing is most productive at the moment. Stretches that offer boulder gardens, varied currents, and other cover are holding fish. Additionally, look for trout in runs that are 4-6 feet deep with walking speed current. It’s a good idea to use yarn indicators this time of year as well since strikes can be soft and are often more difficult to detect.

This time of year streamers can bring some really big fish to the net. Be sure to use a heavy sink tip line and make sure you get the fly down. Don’t expect numbers. Throwing a streamer is definitely more about quality and not about quantity. Fish are lethargic when water temperatures are still chilly therefore they will not move very far to feed so don’t expect lots of chases or action. But the reward will be worth the effort.

Above Libby there are some stretches that offer good spring fishing opportunities. There is some great nymphing water between Libby and the Kootenai Falls that offers pocket water on steroids with boulders as big as the bed of a pick-up truck. Fish will tuck in around boulders so seams and cushions above and below the boulders are always good places for fish to hold. You can always jerk a streamer through these soft areas of cover as well.

Weather update for the week:
Expect some cloud cover and possible thunder storms beginning this weekend.  For the most part weather will be fair with partly sunny skies and daytime temperatures in the high 60s.

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Feature Photo caption: Hank McAfee with a lot to smile about!/Linehan Outfitting Company