Fishing Information
When most people think about fly fishing in Montana, they picture dry landscapes and wide open vistas of Southwest Montana. Let us tell you about another Montana, a place of lush forests, rushing rivers and wild trout – a Montana that few people really know about and that even fewer visit. This is the Montana that Linehan Outfitting Company calls home.

Many of the rivers fished by Linehan are unknown names to the legions of fly fishermen who travel West in search of great trout water. These local waters hold wild cutthroat, rainbow, brook or brown trout, and provide a first-rate fishing experience. No crowds are the rule here and some days, you might not see another person. Linehan Outfitters offers an amazing variety of fishing from big, brawling rivers to small intimate creeks and even some lakes and ponds. One day may find you floating the mighty Kootenai, casting to hard-fighting, rising rainbows, while the next, you’re stalking wild cutthroats on a local tributary, with a deer watching over your shoulder as you cast. Linehan guides also fish other, better-known rivers like the Clark Fork. Options are the name of the game with these fly fishing packages. While these guides spend most of their time on their home water, the Kootenai River, they also offer guided trips on the Clark Fork River, small streams, lakes, and ponds. 

Kootenai River
The Kootenai is one of the great undiscovered rivers of America. Located in the extreme, northwest corner of Montana, it is well off the radar for most fly fishermen. And that’s just fine with this operation! The Kootenai is a large tailwater river, in which the best runs are easily accessed by drift boat. Once there, you may choose to fish from the boat or get out and wade one of the many mid-stream islands or riffles. The target here is primarily rainbows ranging from 12 to 16 inches in length, with the opportunity to catch larger fish each day. The Libby Dam provides consistent, steady water flows and temperatures throughout the lengthy mid-June through mid-October season. Because of the location west of the nearby Continental Divide, this is a destination that generally does not get much wind. Kootenai rainbows are wild and the native redband strain are known to be some of the hardest fighting trout in the state, so be prepared! 

The Clark Fork
Montana’s largest river by water volume, the Clark Fork flows northwesterly through the state on its journey to the sea. Because of its size and geography, this river is best fished from a drift boat, although there are some wadable areas. March through May can be outstanding if water levels are good with excellent hatches, especially the skwala stonefly. This hatch can create some good dry fly action and great nymphing. The river below the town of St Regis regularly produces rainbows, cutthroats, and cuttbows in the 12 to 20-inch range with some larger fish as well. The regular season starts in July, after runoff, and continues into October.

Small Streams, Lakes, and Ponds
Linehan Outfitters also offers small stream opportunities on some of the Kootenai’s tributaries as well. The tributaries are incredibly scenic and full of wild trout averaging 6 to 10 inches. Fishing the tributaries is more about fishing and less about catching lots of big fish. However, every year we’re surprised by the occasional fish up to 18 inches. Most often, guides fish the tributaries with lighter rods and usually, all you will need is an attractor dry fly like a Royal Wulff or stimulator. Tributaries are most often wade trips and best fishing is early in the season from about mid-June to the middle of August. There are numerous lower elevation and alpine lakes and ponds in the area that also offer entertaining angling opportunities. Most of these lakes are fished from float tubes, although occasionally guides will use drift boats when accessible. The scenery and isolation of these alpine lakes are simply spectacular and you may see all kinds of wildlife. Most waters are teeming with westslope cutthroat trout averaging 6 to 10 inches. Several of these lakes also offer opportunities for larger rainbows as well.

Boats and Equipment
Float fishing on area rivers is done via McKenzie-style drift boats designed for fly fishing.