The Kootenay (spelled Kootenai in the U.S. and historically called the Flatbow) is a major river in southeastern British Columbia and flows through Montana and Idaho.
The Kootenai River trout fishery begins below Libby Dam and stretches approximately 40 miles to the Idaho border. Above the Libby Dam, Lake Koocanusa Reservoir extends over 100 miles into the Canadian Rockies. The Kootenai’s wild and native rainbows are strong, hard fighters and are known to spool line off your reel only to put on a display of adrenaline pumping jumps. Streamers, fished deep produce native Bull trout up to the 10 pound range on the Kootenai. The Kootenai River is a classic dry fly fishery with long runs and flat pools that are perfectly suited for drifting a fly.
The Kootenai River is a bit off the beaten path, which make this the perfect getaway for those that enjoy a bit more solitude. Rainbow trout up to 33 pounds have been taken on the river. Hatches are prolific throughout the season and a steady release of water from the Libby dam provides for even flows. The Kootenai contains a native strain of rainbow trout, called Columbia Redbands and with 1500-2500 trout per mile there are plenty of fish that come to your fly. While waterflows can be an issue on other rivers during hot summer months, a steady supply from Lake Koocanusa keeps the local fish population of the Kootenai happy and cool.