Kootenai River

Isolated in the northwest corner of Montana, the Kootenai lies off the beaten path of the more traveled, popular, “big name” rivers of Montana. Providing a truly uncrowded setting, the Kootenai maintains a high quality trout fishery. Rainbow trout up to 33 pounds have been taken on the river. Native Cutthroat and Bull Trout also abound. The Kootenai River is a big, classic, western river. It was harnessed for power generation in 1973. The Kootenai River emerging from Libby Dam is Montana’s newest tailwater fishery. Cradled between the Cabinet Mountain Wilderness and the Purcell Mountains, it contains a wide array of insect life to support prolific hatches throughout the season.

The Kootenai and its tributaries are the only waters in Montana to contain a native strain of rainbow trout, called Columbia Redbands. These trout are indigenous to the headwaters of the Columbia River. They are known for their excellent acrobatic fighting ability and their characteristic “football” shape. Fish are active year round with the controlled, consistently cool flows from the Dam. Weed beds, riffles and long deep runs contain an array of aquatic insect life to support 1500-2500 catchable trout per mile. The Kootenai fishery remains one of the western rivers that is virtually unaffected by drought and forest fires due to the deep, large reservoir which ensures an endless cool water supply.

Trip Planning

  • Area activities

    Fly fishing isn't the only thing to do in Libby. From taking in gorgeous forested landscapes, conquering nearby peaks on foot, or learning about the history of the area, there's much to do. We can help you plan your whole trip!


    Libby, Montana experiences a continental climate. This means that typically there are large seasonal temperature differences, with warm to hot (sometimes humid) summers and cold (sometimes severely cold) winters.

    What to bring

    The perfect trip begins with smart planning before you even leave home. We want to help make it easy, so here's a check list of items you'll want to make sure you pack. It's not comprehensive - just the basics - so make sure to put some thought into packing!