No Smoke-Kootenai River Fishing Report 8-31-2018

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. We have guides available and we’re the local source for all things 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: Flows from Libby Dam will be reduced to 6000 cfs and over the course of three days beginning September 1.

In-Flow From Lake Koocanusa: approximately 4,800 cfs

Kootenai River water temperature below Libby Dam: 58 degrees

Water Clarity:  It’s gin clear this time of year.

Best time of day: Conditions are terrific all day at the moment.  Trout are happy and feeding morning, noon and night.

Hatches: midge, caddis, pmds, crane flies, hoppers and ants

Patterns: parachute Adams, purple parachute Adams, pmd spinner, parachute pheasant tail, midge cluster, green meanie midge, elk hair caddis, caddis emerger, pmd dries, pmd emerger, Bloom’s caddis, purple chubby, red chubby, hoppers, royal Wulff, 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 olive.

The smoke has cleared and it’s lovely here in Kootenai River country.  We were fortunate to have a good soaking last weekend and a full day of much needed rain.  Local forest fires have abated significantly and the Forest Service is beginning to lift certain restrictions.  Are there still fires burning?  Yup.  But the situation is greatly improved and as we head into September we’re expecting nothing but good conditions.

Discharge from Libby Dam will be reduced to 6000cfs over a three day period beginning September 1.  What does that mean? It means that immediately fish might be a bit hinckey as their habitat changes.  It’s not that big of deal when flows are higher.  But under these conditions fully 30% of their habitat will be gone.  They will be boat shy since water is gin clear so time to start thinking about longer leaders and longer casts.

Dry fly fishing will continue and hopper/droppers rigs are still in play.  Additionally, time to go back to small bugs.  Rising fish are still very catch-able.  Size 14 or 16 parachute Adams or purple haze are very much in play.  Fall is about transition and while some fish will still crush a big bug it’s time to roll out longer leaders especially in slick, glassy water.

Nymphing is solid again and fish seem eager to eat.  For a while, and when hatches of pmds and caddis were strong, trout were happy and looking up and subsurface feeding actually decreased significantly.  Lately, for those will and eager, nymphing has been fast and very productive and will indeed bring some thicker fish to the net.  We’re still fishing a big rubber legged fly with a small bead head pheasant tail for the most part.

Streamer action in the upper river has picked up a bit.  Fall is certainly about gettting out the sink tips and doing some serious dredging.  Big fish are on the prowl.  Get it down, keep it down, and you may be rewarded with a truly large Kootenai River rainbow trout.

The Boston Red Sox are still on a tear and it’s incredible to consider we’re already talking about the magic number and it’s only August 31.  As I write, we’re 8.5 games up in the American League East and won another exciting game last night in the 9th inning thanks to Mookie Bettts!  Go Sox!!!

Tim Flagler of Tightline Productions with one of many Kootenai rainbows from an awesome day of hopper fishing.