Fly Fishing The Quiet Northwest Corner of Montana
Linehan Outfitters is located in the northwest corner of Montana, with a setting entirely different from what you expect in Montana – one of lush forests and few crowds. With many fishing and lodging choices, Linehan Outfitters lets you completely customize your Montana fishing adventure! This region is far less traveled (and less fished) than the rest of the state – a rugged and remote landscape that is home to mile-upon-mile of productive, uncrowded trout water. It is also home to Linehan Outfitting Company, which is one of the best-run guide and outfitting operations in the region. In business since 1992, Tim Linehan has received Montana Guide of the Year, Orvis Outfitter of the Year, and Guide Conservationist of the Year awards. Both he and his wife Joanne have been recognized for their numerous accomplishments throughout the fly fishing industry. Aside from their “home waters” of the Kootenai River, they also offer trips on the Clark Fork and a number of other waters throughout the area. Multi-day trips can include lodging packages on the Yaak River and at the Kootenai River Lodge, located near Libby, Montana.
Linehan Outfitters offers several lodging options as described below…
Yaak River Cabins
Linehan Outfitters has three handcrafted log cabins located in Yaak, Montana on a mountainside close to the Yaak River and one hour away from the Kootenai River. Each cabin has a queen bedroom, a sleeping loft with two twin beds, one bathroom, a full kitchen, and a gas grill on the porch. Each cabin is well-equipped, so all you need to bring are groceries and personal items.
Kootenai River Lodge
The second lodging option is the Kootenai River Lodge. Located on the banks of the Kootenai River in Libby, Montana, this four-bedroom spacious home is very privately situated on eight acres. The River Lodge is well-equipped, so once again all you need to bring are groceries and personal items. It is an ideal getaway option for groups of all sizes, and meals can also be catered at an additional cost for parties of four or more.
Food and Beverages
While staying with Linehan Outfitters you will enjoy the finest in Western Montana Cuisine. Non-alcoholic beverages and drinking water are included in the price of your trip. You are welcome to bring your own alcohol if you would like to enjoy beers on the river or liquor for cocktail hour in the evening.
This is a fishing-focused destination. Non-anglers are welcome to join angling guests. However, the Yaak is a very rural, wilderness area with little tourist infrastructure.
Wireless internet is available at both the Yaak River Cabins and the Kootenai River Lodge. Cell phone service can be very spotted in Yaak, however, all of the cabins have landlines. Be sure to check with your service provider prior to your trip regarding specific coverage in the area.
How To Get There
The major airports servicing northwest Montana are Couer D’Alene (COE), Spokane, Washington (GEG), Kalispell, Montana (FCA) and Missoula, Montana (MSO).
Arrival and Departure Details / Times
Keep in mind that the log cabins are located in Yaak, Montana, and the Kootenai River House is located in Libby, Montana. If you are heading to the Yaak cabins, be certain to get your groceries before you head for the Yaak. That means in either Troy or Libby, MT depending on which direction you’re traveling.
Montana fishing licenses are available at all area fly shops and sporting goods stores, or online by visiting the following website: Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks. You will need a valid driver’s license (or other ID) in order to purchase your fishing license.
Yellow Dog works directly with and recommends Kanna Travel. They can assist with airline tickets, hotels, transfers and all travel logistics for every destination that we offer. Contact them at 855-739-3139 or [email protected] for more details on airfare ticketing, travel services, and trip insurance.
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.
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.
Remember that Yellow Dog’s services are completely free! When you book a trip with Yellow Dog, you never pay more than when you book directly with the lodge.
2020 Pricing (based on double occupancy)
Yaak Valley Log Cabins (meals not included)
4 nights / 3 days = $1,222.50 per person
5 nights / 4 days = $1,592.50 per person
6 nights / 5 days = $1,962.50 per person
Kootenai River Lodge (meals not included – 4 guest minimum)
4 nights / 3 days = $1,672.50 per person
5 nights / 4 days = $2,155.00 per person
6 nights / 5 days = $2,637.50 per person
Kootenai River Lodge (meals included – 4 guest minimum)
4 nights / 3 days = $2,272.50 per person
5 nights / 4 days = $2,905.00 per person
6 nights / 5 days = $3,537.50 per person
– Guided fishing
– Cooler lunch and non-alcoholic beverages on guide trips
– Rods/reels, flies, and tackle provided by the guide
– Waders and wading boots (if needed)
– Guide pickup & drop off on each day of fishing (meet at the Anglers’ Hut)
– River shuttle fees for guide’s vehicle
– Airport transportation
– Fishing licenses
– Gratuities for guides
– Gratuities for staff
– Alcoholic beverages on guided trips (BYO)
– Lodging taxes (will be added to invoice upon booking)