Kootenai River Montana Fishing Report 5-24-2019

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: Present discharge from Libby Dam is 18,000 cfs.  This time of year flows may increase on any given day due to runoff.

In-Flow From Lake Koocanusa: Approximately 15,200 cfs

Kootenai River water temperature below Libby Dam: 47 degrees

Water Clarity:  For now, the river is still in great shape.

Hatches: midge, baetis, March browns

Patterns: parachute Adams, Orvis purple parachute Adams, zebra midge, green goblin, olive emerger, Pat’s rubber legged stonefly, SJ worms, 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

Keep in mind the river is closed to fishing from the Libby Dam downstream to mouth of the Fisher River until June 1.

The Kootenai River is in excellent shape.  Flows of 18,000cfs make wading a bit difficult but are perfect for floating.  All the channels are full of water and there’s good current along banks.  The season is already under way with terrific conditions.  I don’t see any reason why conditions will change unless we get monster rains in the future.

Best techniques and tips:

Dry fly fishing is picking up.  During cloudy afternoons sporadic hatches of baetis and March browns will have some fish rising.   Look for fish in slick pools, flatwater, and off current areas.  Attractor patterns like Wullfs and parachutes are best bets for top water action if you feel like prospecting.

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.

Weather update for the week:

Expect pretty fair weather throughout the week.  It looks like we may have some unstable weather over the weekend with showers and possible thunderstorms but by Monday it looks like partly sunny skies will prevail with day time temps in the 60s.

In Boston Red Sox news, the Sox are picking up steam and pitching has really taken a turn for the good after a shaky start to the sesaon.  Starters Chris Sale, Rick Porcello, David Pricej and Eduardo Rodriquez are firing on all cylinders now and the offense and bats of Andrew Benetendi, Mookie Betts and rookie Michael Chavis are producing runs!  Things are looking good at this point.  It’s long season but we’re headed in the right direction now.  Go Sox!

Photo of mayfly on Kootenai River
Afternoon hatches of March browns will have fish looking up.