Kootenai River Fishing Report 8-30-2020

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:  Flows from Libby Dam will remain at 9,000cfs through the end of August.

In-Flow From Lake Koocanusa: Approximately 5,800 cfs

Kootenai River water temperature below Libby Dam: 56 degrees

Water Clarity:  Water clarity is terrific.  The river is gin clear this time of year.

Hatches: midge, caddis, pmds, hoppers, nocturnal stonefly, ants, terrestrials

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

Discharge from Libby Dam is 9000cfs and the river is in great shape.  Water temperatures are terrific and there are no dog days of August here.  The Kootenai is fishing well.

Dry fly action is steady throughout the entire day.  Caddis and pmds are waning but still active in specific areas.  Pmd spinner falls are getting lighter each day but also still occurring in the mornings over riffles and down through runs.  If you see bugs, you’ll likely see rising fish.  Make a good presentation and they’ll eat a size 16 parachute pmd, rusty or cream colored spinner, or an elk hair caddis perfectly well.  Hopper action is solid now and we’re now fishing big bugs with a dropper for most of the day.

Nymphing the Kootenai River will always produce a few fish even during high sunshine.  Look for fish in faster runs 2-6 feet deep and especially in boulder gardens and deep riffles.  The last couple days have been very good.  Water temperatures are perfect at 56 degrees at Libby Dam.  Trout are feeding aggressively.  Remember to get bugs down and keep them down.  Keep a keen eye on your indicator and if you notice even the slightest change in speed, lift.

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.

It’s hard to believe September is already hear and the days are getting shorter.  Shadows and shade are appearing in places much earlier in the day.  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 a nice week of weather with sunny to partly sunny skies and daytime temperatures in the mid 80s.

man and fly fisher holding rainbow trout
Kerry N. and Tim with a thick Kootenai rainbow during a great day of hopper fishing.