Kootenai River Fishing Report 9-10-2020

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:

Libby Dam outflows will decrease from 8 kcfs to 7 kcfs on Sunday, September 13th over two hours beginning at 22:00 MD

Libby Dam outflow will decrease from 7 kcfs to 6 kcfs on Monday, September 14th over two hours beginning at 00:00 MDT.

-Libby Dam outflow will then hold at 6 kcfs through the end of September.

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, hecubas, 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

The Kootenai River is in great shape.  Hard to believe it’s September already and that we’re officially entering the fall season.  The summer season was terrific and now we head into our favorite time of year.

Dry fly action is still steady throughout the entire day.  Caddis and pmds are waning but still active in specific areas.  Hecuba 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 still solid.  Fish are getting a bit hinky what with gin clear conditions and on some days are shy on big foam.  If you’re getting lots of looky Lues think about downsizing your bug and consider natural materials as well.  Ant droppers have been playing well.

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 70s and 80s.

There’s plenty of great fishing to be had and this is truly the best time of year here in Montana.  Mornings are crisp and cool and days are pleasantly war m but not too hot.  And big fish will show up from time to time if you keep your fly on the water.

man holding rainbow trout
Linehan Outfitting guide Seth Moore and Mark W. with a big Kootenai hopper eater.