Kootenai River fishing report by Linehan Outfitting 2.22.21
By angelamontana

Posted: February 24, 2021

This Kootenai River Montana fishing report is being brought to you by Linehan Outfitting.  We’ll do our best to provide current conditions, weather, hatches, patterns, and flows to our local waters and even during specific times of the season others waters around the state.

flows from Libby Dam:  Current discharge from Libby Dam is 5000cfs.  Flows are expected to remain low through end of February and likely beyond until runoff.  During the winter months it’s possible to experience fluctuations in flows.  Call Libby Dam 406-293-3421 for daily discharge schedule.

In-flows to Lake Koocanusa: 1,900cfs

water temperature: 40 degrees

hatches:  midge

patterns:  zebra midge, bh prince, soft SJ worm, bh pheasant tail, bh rubber legged stonefly, big streamers in white, pink and olive, circus peanut, black conehead buggers

Flows remain low here on the Kootenai River and more normal daytime temperatures have returned.  What does that mean?  This could be the start of great spring conditions even though it’s a bit early to be calling it spring.

All stretches are in great shape and all boat ramps are basically open and generally free of snow. Be careful.  Ramps could ice up depending on conditions.  Always best to have a tow rope ready in the event you can’t back down.

Dry fly fishing is still minimal.  You may see the occasional fish on top sipping midge but hatches are slim at the moment.  That could all change in the next few days with temperatures climbing into the 30s.  Water conditions are low and clear.  If you see rising fish stretch out your leader and start with a #18 parachute Adams.  They’ve had very little pressure so shouldn’t be that particular but a good drift is still necessary due to water clarity.

Size 10 brown and coffee colored rubber legged nymphs with a small, soft, pink beadhead worm has been a steady nymphing rig.  Set the indicator about 5 feet from the first fly and start with a single BB split shot.  Fish will be concentrated around structure, in boulder gardens, and generally in walking speed currents.  Don’t spend much time looking for fish in riffles.  Currently they will be seeking softer areas with depth and they will want to work very hard to find food.  Get your flies down, fish methodically, and concentrate on good water.

Streamer action has been light but always worth the effort this time of year.  Don’t expect big numbers if you’re pulling junk.  But be ready since most likely if you stay with it you’ll be rewarded with a bigger fish.  Bigger fish will be hunkered down in deeper pools and runs.  We typically like depth charge fifteen foot sinking tips.  Make casts across the current, make a big mend so the fly can get down, and fish it slowly for the most part.  Don’t be too aggressive.  Under these conditions trout are typically laying low and will not necessarily chase anything too far.

Expect periods of rain and snow through the early part of the week then partly sunny days are headed this way.  Daytime temperatures will be in the 30s.

For more information on Linehan Outfitters, click here. For statewide fishing reports, click here.

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