Kootenai River Montana Fishing Report 4-18-2014

Flows:  Discharge from Libby Dam is 25,000cfs

In-flow to Lake Koocanusa:  7000cfs

Water Temperature:  38 degrees below Libby Dam

Best Time of Day:  afternoons and evenings

Hatches:  midge, baetis, March browns

Patterns:  zebra midge, Pat’s stone, sexy stone, bh prince, bh pheasant tail, wire worm, parachute Adams, purple haze, bunny streamers

Discharge from Libby Dam is still maxed out at 25,000cfs making the Kootenai a big river at the moment.  High flows will continue for the foreseeable future so it’s all about being in a boat for a while.  Water clarity is great for the most part and the river is actually in good shape to that end.

For the most part nymphing is still your best bet.  Water temps are still on the cold side, fish are still a bit lethargic, so be sure to get your bugs down.  Keep in mind with big flows you’ll need to add some split shot in order to penetrate the depths.  And did I mention adding split shot?  And how about adding split shot?  Look for fish in soft water, tight to the grassy, now undercut banks, and in cover like boulder gardens.

For you dry fly folks, there are rumors of bugs and fish on top in cushions next to islands and in the tailouts of runs.  For the most part, if you see a fish rise, you can likely get it to eat your bug.

Expect cool, blustery days with showers through the weekend.  Perfect baetis weather.  Be careful and keep in mind the Kootenai can look placid and flat, but at these flows it’s motoring downstream and currents can be pushy.  Watch out for weird suck holes too.

LOC guide Sean McAfee with a summer Kootenai rainbow.
LOC guide Sean McAfee with a summer Kootenai rainbow.