Snowpack-Kootenai River Montana Fishing Report 2-26-2019
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: It looks like low flows of 4000cfs will remain constant for at least another week.
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, 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
Snowpack is building nicely here in Kootenai country. It’s been brutally cold and snowy here the last couple weeks and forecast will remain the same through this week. Obviously, this bodes well for summer conditions and current Kootenai River basin snowpack is in the high 90 percentile.
Right now, the Kootenai is actually in great shape due to low flows. And flows of 4000 cfs are scheduled to remain steady through at least the end of this week. It’s been cold so there’s no real runoff entering the Koocanusa reservoir at the moment therefore no need to let water out just yet.
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.
The weather forecast looks pretty much the same for the foreseeable future. Expect a mix of partly sunny days through mid week then chance of snow toward the weekend. Nights will consistently dip below zero and daytime temps will hardly top 20 degrees. But at least we’ll be getting some sunshine here and there for the next ten days.