Kootenai River Montana Fishing Report 12-26-2018

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.  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: 

Releases will decrease during the remainder of December:

Date                                      Time MST            Change                 Flows

Wednesday, 12/26          00-24                     constant              10 kcfs

Thursday, 12/27               18-24                     decrease             10 kcfs to 6.5 kcfs

Friday, 12/28                      00-24                     constant              6.5 kcfs

Saturday, 12/29                 10-12                     decrease             6.5 kcfs to 5 kcfs

Sunday, 12/30                    00-24                     constant              5 kcfs

Monday, 12/31                 23-24                     decrease             5 kcfs to 4 kcfs


Flows will be held constant at 4 kcfs at the beginning of January:

Date                                      Time MST            Change                 Flows

Tuesday, 1/1                      00-24                     constant              4 kcfs

Wednesday, 1/2                               00-24                     constant              4 kcfs

Thursday, 1/3                     00-24                     constant              4 kcfs

Friday, 1/4                           00-24                     constant              4 kcfs

In-Flow From Lake Koocanusa: Approximately 3000cfs

Kootenai River water temperature below Libby Dam: 44 degrees

Water Clarity:  The Kootenai River is gin clear this time of year.

Best time of day:  This time of year afternoons are best.

Hatches: midge, baetis,

Patterns: parachute Adams, purple parachute Adams, zebra midge, green goblin, olive emerger, Pat’s rubber legged stonefly, pt soft hackle, bead head pt, bh copper john, red bh copper john, big bunny streamers and deceivers in red, pink and white, and white circus peanut

We got the first good snowstorm of winter here over the last few days so snowpack has officially started to stack up for the season.  Fishing conditions this time of year are often subject to weather and conditions so here we go with a look at what’s up for the immediate future.

Flows have been steady at 10,000cfs for the last four days and will remain through Wednesday,12/26.  On Thursday it’s possible flows may begin fluctuating again so stand by and we’ll update this report accordingly.

Dry fly fishing is pretty minimal during winter months here on Kootenai River.  Midge hatches are sporadic.  Look for rising fish in the afternoons especially in slick pools, flatwater, and off current areas.  Don’t expect much in the way of noses.  Water temperatures are cold this time of year and not conducive to promoting bug activity.

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.

If you’re up for it, 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 big numbers.  Throwing a streamer this time of year is definitely more about quality and not about quantity.  Fish are lethargic when water temperatures are cold.  They will not move too far or too aggressively to feed.

Above Libby there are some stretches that offer good winter fishing opportunities.  There is some great nymphing water between Libby and the Kootenai Falls that offers pocket water on steriods 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.

Expect cloud cover and daytime temperatures in the high 20s- 0s throughout the week.  It doesn’t look like there’s much snow in the forecast.  Throughout the rest of the week expect chance of snow and partly sunny skies.

Dreaming of summer skies and bent rods.