Kootenai River Montana Fishing Report 4-17-2019

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: For now, flows are 4000cfs but that could change a bit any day depending on how quickly runoff starts.

In-Flow From Lake Koocanusa: Approximately 4,700 cfs

Kootenai River water temperature below Libby Dam: 38 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, March browns

Patterns: parachute Adams, Orvis purple parachute Adams, zebra midge, green goblin, olive emerger, Pat’s rubber legged stonefly, 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 is in excellent shape and Water conditions are terrific. It’s not lights out but the fishing has been pretty good.

It’s amazing what a few warmer days does to change things. Dry fly fishing is still minimal but hatches of March browns are sputtering along during the afternoons and if you look in the right places you could find some rising fish. Midge hatches are also in play up near the Dam. Look for rising fish in the afternoons especially in slick pools, flatwater, and off current areas. Don’t expect to see rising fish all over the place but it’s beginning to happen.

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 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.

Expect fair weather throughout most of the Easter weekend.  There is a chance of showers Thursday and Friday but then a warming trend will enter the area.  This may increase snowmelt and runoff.  It will likely not blow the river out but you may see tributaries start to rise and push some color into the river.

In Boston Red Sox news, we’re off to a shaky start.  Things just aren’t clicking but it’s a long season.  We’ve been here before.  Have faith in Chris Sale, Rick Porcello, Mookie Betts, and the rest of the lineup.  Go Sox!

Kootenai River fly fishing and man holding rainbow trout
LOC guide Sean McAfee with a perfect bread and butta April rainbow.